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SaMo Wants to Be More Pedestrian-Friendly and to Charge Developers More for Not Building Parking

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The Santa Monica Lookout has two items that seem to illustrate the concept of the left hand being unaware of what the right is doing. One piece looks at the city's efforts to create a Downtown Specific Plan that guides development for the beach-adjacent core. Community meetings have been held and city staff hope to have the planning commission and city council sign off on the document next year. Aside from some great suggestions (like making hideous Lincoln Boulevard more pedestrian-friendly and enlivening the north section of the Third Street Promenade), the plan sticks closely to a less-cars, more-walkers-and-bikes theme (suggesting more public gathering spots, easier access between the future Expo Line light rail station and the rest of downtown, etc.). But another story indicates the city is considering upping fees for developers who don't build parking with their projects--to at least $20,000 per space they don't create.

"Under the current structure, which is set to expire on June 30, 2016, developers pay $1.50 for every square foot of development," but the new proposal would double that amount in order to put more money in the city's coffers to build public parking garages, and to "provide incentives for employees to park in peripheral lots and implement wayfinding and access enhancements." The fee is still less than what it would take to typically build an above-ground or underground space, but it still seems questionable. Even Mayor Richard Bloom acknowledged that in a recent city council study session: "We need to be careful when we set the fee. If we kill the goose that lays the golden egg by setting the fees too high, that would be counterproductive."
· Revisioning Downtown Santa Monica [Lookout]