David Martin, Santa Monica's Director of Planning and Community Development has cried uncle: "We just do not have the capacity ... to process all of the development agreement applications that we have, and are receiving, in the current time frames," he told the city council on Tuesday. Development agreements allow developers to skirt size and density regulations in return for providing community benefits, such as public parking or open space, and are required before certain kinds of large projects can begin. In a report submitted ahead of yesterday's council meeting, Martin asked the city to consider taking steps to slow down the pace of development agreement application review, or a possible moratorium on application processing. As of last night, the city has a backlog of 31 applications to sort through, including three hotels, a new car dealership, a science building for the Crossroads School, and several mixed-use residential developments. Martin's list also includes a movie theater for downtown Santa Monica, but he can probably cross that one off for now.
The city council decided to postpone a decision on the matter and will take it up again in January. In the meantime, what had been a stream of applications is likely to turn into a flood. Already, in the days between the report going public and yesterday's countil meeting seven new applications have been filed. The city has only approved eight development agreements since it adopted new land use rules in the summer 2010, reports the Santa Monica Patch.
Martin credits Santa Monica's popularity with developers to a number of factors, including policies that encourage the construction of mixed-use residential projects and demand for housing, "and the overall desirability of the city as a place to live."
· Santa Monica to Consider Slowing Down Development [SM Patch]
· SaMo, Developers Debate What They'll Do For Each Other [Curbed LA]