Second Street Development Agreement Moves Forward To Santa Monica City Council

Friday, 5 Apr 2013, 9:19:00 AM

Parimal M. Rohit

A rendering of the proposed four-story development that would include 28 studios, 19 one-bedroom, and six two-bedroom apartments.
Courtesy Of The City Of Santa Monica
A rendering of the proposed four-story development that would include 28 studios, 19 one-bedroom, and six two-bedroom apartments.

The Santa Monica Planning Commission recommended on

Wednesday night a 53-unit development in the downtown core move forward and be

considered by the City Council.

Yet commissioners had a fair share of questions about the

Development Agreement, many of which were expressed two weeks earlier when the

project was first discussed amongst commissioners.

The DA in question: a multi-use development at 1318

Second Street in Downtown Santa Monica.

During the March 20 meeting, Commissioner Jennifer

Kennedy said the project could be made better with affordable two-bedroom

units. Commissioner Sue Himmelrich was concerned about the unit mix, pointing

out the project may have too many studios and one-bedroom units.

One common concern was the size of the sidewalk. Kennedy

and Commissioner Richard McKinnon both hoped, in an effort to activate Second

Street, the sidewalks would be wider to attract a ground-floor restaurant.

Another common concern: commissioners questioning whether

there were enough affordable housing units.

McKinnon hoped the project would seek LEED platinum, as

opposed to gold, rating.

City staff at the Planning Commission’s April 3 meeting

addressed those concerns and questions.

For example, City staff recommended the project include

10 on-site affordable housing units; the developer had previously agreed to

provide eight affordable housing units. Also recommended was an affordable

two-bedroom unit.

Sidewalk setbacks for ground floor commercial space were

increased from 11.5 feet from curb-to-building to at least 15 feet.

City staff pointed out several community benefits were

negotiated to compensate for the project proposed to build a development above

the height restriction. According to Santa Monica’s zoning laws, no building

can be built higher than 32 feet unless the developer is willing to make

certain concessions to the City.

The developer also agreed to reduce the height of floors

two through four by three inches, allowing the ground floor to be increased six

inches.

Units designed with balconies that were 44 square feet in

size were revised to comply with City Hall’s minimum requirement of such spaces

being 50 square feet.

The developer also agreed to provide parking for

affordable units at no additional charge. If a tenant does not elect parking,

the developer would offer a $100 reduction in rent.

Other concerns addressed: historic preservation

contribution; improvements affecting open space; solar panels; building

envelopes; LEED Platinum status; average vehicle ridership; local hiring

provisions; and, the addition of hanging bicycle racks in the subterranean

parking garage.

The applicant, architecture firm David Forbes Hibbert,

AIA, pitched a four-story building with 53 units, including 28 studios, 19

one-bedrooms, and six two-bedrooms.

According to the DA submitted to the Commission in

January, the developer proposed a 45-foot, 15,000 square foot structure with a

two-level, 66-space subterranean garage and includes 6,717 square feet of

ground floor commercial space.

The DA also noted the developer must provide four

monetary compensations totaling more than $525,000, including $125,493 toward

transportation infrastructure improvements in the downtown area, $125,000

toward Colorado Esplanade improvements, $250,000 toward parks and open space,

and $25,000 toward Big Blue Bus requirements in City’s urban core.

All five planning commissioners present voted in favor of

recommending the project move on to the City Council for consideration.

The current property owner is Michael Sorochinsky’s 1320

2nd Street, LLC.

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