City Presents Plan for More 'Affordable' Housing

New plan would exempt housing developers from obtaining City Council approval if they build more low-income units.

A new plan would it make it easier for housing developers to clear the city's regulatory hurdles if the developers are willing to build more units affordable to low-income tenants.

Under the plan, developers applying to build projects in Santa Monica with 50 or fewer units would be exempt from obtaining City Council approval if 25 percent of the units were for tenants earning 60 percent or less of the area's median income. Instead of going to the City Council, developers would obtain approval from city planning staffers.

Currently, projects with 50 or fewer units get staff approval if all of the units are deed-restricted to tenants earning 80 percent or less of the average median income, or $47,250 for a single-person household. The 60 percent threshold for single households is $35,500.

Assistant Planning Director Ellen Gelbard said the change would be a “valuable tool for the City to achieve desired housing goals.”

"With the dissolution of Redevelopment, the majority of the Housing Trust Fund dollars, as well as the City’s ability to leverage outside funding, is gone," Gelbard said.

The current rules have been effective in creating housing that's affordable to residents with "moderate" incomes, Gelbard said.

But studies of Santa Monica's housing market have found that those tenants with the greatest need are those in one- to two- person households that earn about $20,000 a year.

Plus, tt's likely developers could get their projects approved faster if they go to city staff. Obtaining City Council can take years. Right now, it's swamped with applications.

The proposal to build more housing for lower-earning tenants is headed to the City Council for approval Tuesday night.

This report based income levels on the most up-to-date information provided on the city's website, which is for income and rents in 2012:

Maximum Allowable Incomes

Household Size

50% 60% 80% 1 $29,550 $35,500 $47,250 2 $33,750 $40,500 $54,000 3 $37,950 $45,600 $60,750 4 $42,150 $50,600 $67,450

Maximum Allowable Monthly Rents*

Units 50% 60% 80% 0 $747 $896 $1,195 1 $854 $1,024 $1,366 2 $1,014 $1,216 $1,622 3 $1,158 $1,389 $1,853 4 $1,308 $1,389 $2,092

* based on 30 percent of the incomes listed above and adjusted for the number of bedrooms.

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Brenda Barnes February 09, 2013 at 12:44 AM
You are so correct, Bob. We are the true endangered species in this City. We need a list to protect us. Better yet, let's recall the entire City Council that passed LUCE and that keeps passing more and more things to remove what they are doing--giving away the City to developers--from public scrutiny.
Brenda Barnes February 09, 2013 at 02:52 AM
When they came for Village Trailer Park, people north of Wilshire didn't live here, so most of them thought it unnecessary to help us, HOMEOWNERS whose homes were proposed to be demolished to allow a huge monstrous development on the land. When they put "affordable" apts around all the schools and then put crack addicts in them, people didn't know it was happening, so they didn't do anything to stop it. When they proposed allowing development on Montana without requiring parking, 50 residents came to protest, and one of them even said, "We live north of Montana, so we are on top of what happens that affects us Wait until the rest of the City realizes what you are doing." And now they're coming for EVERYONE. They made the mistake of timing of doing it all too quickly, but I think they are forced to b/c the Bloom Council did not move toward putting any law in place, just approved development agreements for its crony developers so Bloom could move on and they could get $1.2 million spent for their local campaigns. Plus everyone and his brother (or spouse) could get consultancies, management jobs, Board positions, and any other perk being handed out. Recall them all. Start over with a plan to run the City without development money. Money out of politics is the only way.
Val Streit February 09, 2013 at 04:56 AM
Brenda, I'm not sure what those of us who live North of Wilshire have to do with any of this. When I was a kid there was a trailer park where Stewart Street is now. My Dad had his shop at 2834 Colorado starting in 1938 and I use to go over to the little store in the trailer park in the 60's. I'm not sure when it was torn down but I know housing was much more affordable then.
Brenda Barnes February 10, 2013 at 04:50 AM
The one that is at issue now is two properties east of 2834 Colorado, not the one on Stewart. It has not been torn down. Developers have been being helped by the City since 2007 to take HOMES WE OWN so they can tear our homes down, with no compensation other than what renters would get, and the land will be empty to be developed for developer and City profit. That's what it has to do with you if you own your own home. Most people thought only renters could be moved out so land speculators could profit. Not anymore, not in SM. The proof of this is that they are now trying to allow development that will destroy the quality of life of homeowners north of Wilshire. If there is no parking on Montana, and then there is no parking on Wilshire, and then on SM Blvd., the entire City will be like Downtown was when you had to pay a $5 flat fee to park in a garage at 6 p.m. You won't be able to just stop by Whole Foods and get two things for dinner. Instead you'll have to go to the parking place the app says is available, pay the owner $5, and walk from there a block or two to the store. It will change your life. That's what allowing this Council to call the whole City Transit Oriented Development will do.
Val Streit February 11, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Brenda, I'm not sure you understood what I was saying. I'm not talking about the trailer park ON Stewart. There was another one on Colorado just west of 2834 that was torn down decades ago BEFORE Stewart went through to Olympic. A lot of those trailers were for employees of Douglas Aircraft and that type of living in travel trailers is not common in these times. I understand mobile home parks but this was never what VTP was. It would be an improvement to clean it up and put modular housing in. I fail to see how there could be no parking on these streets when there are meters there now. I often walk a block to Whole Foods and that is not a problem. The app to find you parking relates mostly to downtown and trust me, having to walk is not going to "change my life" if it is to a store. Parking two blocks from my home and walking is another story and that is where Preferential Parking comes in.


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