The city has awarded conditional approval of a so-called Good Neighborhood Agreement to a nonprofit whose relocation to Lincoln Boulevard and Cedar Street has sparked protests from nearby residents.
The agreement is supposed to ensure that the organization, Common Ground, keeps its new neighborhoods of Sunset Park and Ocean Park free of loitering, littering, nose and crime while carrying out its mission of providing education and resources to people who have contracted or have a high risk of contracting HIV.
The agreement is also a requirement for Common Ground to meet the terms of its $94,000 in grant funding from the city of Santa Monica.
Some of the terms of the new agreement include ; heightened security; and establishment of a neighborhood committee that will meet monthly to make sure the agreement is being implemented.
The Cedar Community Coalition has called on Common Ground to relocate those two programs permanently, a promise Executive Director Jeff Goodman said he cannot make.
"We presently have 18 residents who have already signed in support [of the agreement] and I fully expect more in the next few days including several businesses," he wrote in an email to Patch on Wednesday.
Renovations are currently underway at the organization's new home at 2401 Lincoln Blvd. The new space is double the size of its former location at Bay Street and Lincoln, where opponents say Common Ground "caused harm and disruption" for a decade.
"Everyone in our neighborhood supports Common Ground's HIV program and all the help and support they offer their HIV positive clients," said resident Sally Allen. But at Bay Street, she said, there was "IV drug use in public, assaulting residents, burglary, theft... harassment, fighting all hours of day and night."
A Good Neighborhood Agreement was in place there since 2008, but "implementation fell short," Julie Rusk, the city's Human Services Manager, wrote in a memo to Common Ground this week.
That "has understandably created skepticism on the part of many of your new neighbors who have been actively participating in this in the current GNA process," she continued.
In the new agreement, Common Ground has also committed to:
- Installing security lights and cameras
- Providing security patrols
- Improving the exterior appearance of the building
- Keeping a log of all complaints/problems to be available for community review
- Encouraging participation from representatives of Friends of Sunset Park, the Cedar Community Coalition and the Ocean Park Association and any other resident or business group interested in monitoring the Good Neighborhood Agreement.