The Santa Monica Daily Press caught the SM City Council with their pants down recently when they inquired about a city code requiring the city annually review developer agreements to make sure those developers hold up their ends of deals. The city code said the council must regularly evaluate agreements that grant developers exceptions to zoning requirements in exchange for community benefits like adding affordable housing options or paying the city fees, which are used to build parks, homeless shelters, etc. "As far as I know, there have not been annual hearings about compliance with development agreement requirements," City Attorney Marsha Moutrie told the Daily Press this week. No one at City Hall or on the City Council, it appears, was aware of the annual review requirement. Oops. The city is trying to catch up now as they put together an extensive planning document that will guide development for years, and is expected to be adopted this summer. They've already caught three developments out of compliance (five comply, while the city is studying the remaining three), including the Arboretum apartments on Colorado Avenue (pictured), which the city is suing for allegedly reneging on an affordable housing agreement.
· Council Failed to Review Development Agreements [SMDP]