Santa Monica City Council Approves Temporary Zoning Changes for the Promenade
By Dolores Quintana and Sam Catanzaro
Hotels and liquor stores are among the new types of businesses permitted to operate on the Third Street Promenade.
At the Santa Monica City Council meeting on September 28, lawmakers approved an emergency interim zoning ordinance intended to facilitate the operation of a wide range of businesses on Third Street Promenade. The iconic shopping area has faced immense challenges in recent years with high vacancy rates, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic. Downtown Santa Monica Inc. – the non-profit organization responsible for managing the Parkway – has formulated the Third Street Parkway Stabilization and Economic Vitality Plan to address these challenges.
The plan aims to refresh the look of the Promenade and make it a more diverse market with expanded retail and dining opportunities with the aim of opening up the area to smaller and more eclectic businesses rather than large ones. retail chains.
“The Third Street Promenade is an iconic public street and a gathering place for all, and it will be an important part of our economic recovery,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “Within these three blocks, we can creatively adapt commercial and public spaces to new uses, tenants and experiences that appeal to our local residents and also appeal to the region. “
The IZO adopted on September 28, which will remain in effect until December 2022, seeks to achieve this goal by increasing foot traffic and opening up cheaper retail spaces to attract many more businesses. Some of the new businesses that will be licensed are pet and veterinary services, tattoo and body modification parlors, medical and dental offices, and hotels and liquor stores. In addition, City Manager David White spoke about extending the closed hours of the road on the Arizona Avenue space where the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market is held on Saturday nights to open a “night market.” . There would also be a relaxation of codes such as the FAR or Floor Area Ratio calculation to allow the use of rooftop spaces.
Some council members opposed the liquor store authorization, including Councilor Phil Brock.
“I don’t understand why this is a desired use on the Third Street Promenade now, in the past, or in the future,” Brock said.
At the meeting, board member Laura Negrete addressed the number of objections to potentially authorized tattoo parlors in the region.
“Tattoos are quite expensive. I have them. It is an art form and you would be surprised to know who has them these days. We just happen to have a tattoo artist, well known in the community, who does tattoos that I know I can’t afford to get from him. But the clientele it brings, beyond the celebrity clientele, are the people you are looking for. [for] to open up space, ”said Negrete.
In addition, the new plan will: streamline existing land use permits by minimizing the enforceability of conditional use permits (CUPs), minor use permits (MUPs) and other discretionary approvals; reduces the minimum depth requirement of the active ground floor from 50 feet to 25 feet from the Promenade property line; Allow direct access to the upper floors and the rear ground floor from the Promenade.
Another element of the plan is to increase the number of community events, programs and activations in public spaces downtown. To achieve this, Council authorized the City Manager to negotiate with DTSM, Inc. on the frequency of use of the space, permit fees, revenue sharing opportunities for the use of Lot 27 and the Arizona Avenue, and the Promenade sales program.
In the public commentary, there were quite a few concerns about homeless people who are also having a negative impact on the area. The city council meeting came the day after Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva strongly criticized plans by city leaders to tackle homelessness on and around the promenade during a open day.
“I guarantee you that there are probably ordinances at the city level which prohibit certain activities, but they are not enforced by the orders of the city management,” Villanueva said at the meeting, hosted by the owner. from Promenade John Alle. Also present at the open house were Lt. Geoffrey Deedrick of the Sheriff’s Homeless Awareness Service (HOST) team, Pastor Ron Hooks and members of the Santa Monica City Council, Phil Brock and Oscar de la Torre.
“It’s very simple: we need a clean and safe downtown Santa Monica, from the Boardwalk to the parking lots,” Brock said at the open house. “In some cases, our municipal government has abdicated its responsibility to keep this area safe and clean. “