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
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
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
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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