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Santa Monica Meets Affordable Housing Requirements, But Dark Clouds Could Be Ahead

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By Jonathan Friedman
Associate Editor

July 2, 2014 -- Of the 478 residential units produced in Santa Monica from July 2012 to June 2013, 246 are considered affordable, exceeding a voter-approved requirement for the amount of multi-family affordable housing that must be created annually.

This information is included in a report recently submitted to the City Council by Andy Agle, Santa Monica’s director of housing and economic development.

Also in the report, Agle warns that affordable housing construction could decrease because of the 2012 dissolution of the Santa Monica Redevelopment Agency.

The requirements of the City’s Affordable Housing Production Program (AHPP) were set by the voter-approved Measure R in 1990.

Among the requirements are that 30 percent of multi-family housing created on annual basis be affordable to moderate-income residents and that at least 15 percent of the affordable units be targeted toward low-income people.

Santa Monica also met the low-income threshold, according to Agle’s report, with 31 percent of the affordable residences being aimed at low-income and very low-income people.

For 2012-13, moderate-income residents are considered to be those with an annual salary of $59,800 for an individual or $85,400 for a family of four.

Low-income residents earn $35,900 for an individual or $51,200 for a family of four.

Agle wrote that 14 developments were completed in 2012-13. Of those, six developers provided the 246 affordable-housing units in the developments.

Three developers provided affordable housing at other locations to meet their requirements.

Five developers paid a total of $442,246 in affordable-housing fees that go into the City’s Housing Trust Fund. Money from this fund is used to subsidize nonprofit developers’ construction of affordable housing.

Agle noted in his report that of the affordable units currently under construction, 47 percent are being built by nonprofit organizations.

He wrote that the funding for these developments has historically come from the Housing Trust Fund, which was created partly through the Santa Monica Redevelopment Agency.

“With the dissolution of the Redevelopment Agency in February 2012, and the subsequent loss of funding for the Housing Trust Fund, staff anticipates significantly fewer affordable apartments being built in the future,” Agle wrote. “This may make it more difficult to meet the requirements of Proposition R.”

Last month, Agle issued a report to the council saying a scientific poll showed residents might be willing to support a real estate tax hike that would support affordable housing development (“Residents Could Favor Tax Hike for Affordable Housing,” June 3, 2014).

The council will consider one or more proposed measures for the tax hike at its July 8 meeting.


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