A new plan would it make it easier for housing developers to clear the city's regulatory hurdles if the developers are willing to build more units affordable to low-income tenants.
Under the plan, developers applying to build projects in Santa Monica with 50 or fewer units would be exempt from obtaining City Council approval if 25 percent of the units were for tenants earning 60 percent or less of the area's median income. Instead of going to the City Council, developers would obtain approval from city planning staffers.
Currently, projects with 50 or fewer units get staff approval if all of the units are deed-restricted to tenants earning 80 percent or less of the average median income, or $47,250 for a single-person household. The 60 percent threshold for single households is $35,500.
Assistant Planning Director Ellen Gelbard said the change would be a “valuable tool for the City to achieve desired housing goals.”
"With the dissolution of Redevelopment, the majority of the Housing Trust Fund dollars, as well as the City’s ability to leverage outside funding, is gone," Gelbard said.
The current rules have been effective in creating housing that's affordable to residents with "moderate" incomes, Gelbard said.
But studies of Santa Monica's housing market have found that those tenants with the greatest need are those in one- to two- person households that earn about $20,000 a year.
Plus, tt's likely developers could get their projects approved faster if they go to city staff. Obtaining City Council can take years. Right now, it's swamped with applications.
The proposal to build more housing for lower-earning tenants is headed to the City Council for approval Tuesday night.
This report based income levels on the most up-to-date information provided on the city's website, which is for income and rents in 2012:
Maximum Allowable Incomes
Household Size50% 60% 80% 1 $29,550 $35,500 $47,250 2 $33,750 $40,500 $54,000 3 $37,950 $45,600 $60,750 4 $42,150 $50,600 $67,450
Maximum Allowable Monthly Rents*Units 50% 60% 80% 0 $747 $896 $1,195 1 $854 $1,024 $1,366 2 $1,014 $1,216 $1,622 3 $1,158 $1,389 $1,853 4 $1,308 $1,389 $2,092
* based on 30 percent of the incomes listed above and adjusted for the number of bedrooms.