Developer NMS Properties, Inc. is applying to expand two of its mixed-use projects at Lincoln Boulevard and Broadway Street with the addition of more commercial space.
The requests are to add nearly 6,000 square feet—likely to house a bank—at a project currently under construction at 1447 Lincoln and about 4,000 square feet to an existing five-story building at 829 Broadway.
But it was concerns about residential parking that have given the Santa Monica City Council pause.
Smaller versions of the projects were already approved by the city, but the request for added space triggers the need for a development agreement OK'd by the City Council. Under those agreements, the council can require changes and so-called community benefits, such as payments for street improvements.
Both projects are designated for tenants with low incomes, but none of the leases for the units—tiny studios and one-bedrooms—will include on-site parking spaces.
Some members of the council, and a couple of residents, said Tuesday night that as proposed, the projects would further cramp parking in the already congested neighborhood.
"If they charge 200 per month for parking as an amenity, all the sudden the affordability goes way down," said councilwoman Gleam Davis.
"We really need to be very careful about this, we could set dangerous precedent establishing which amenities come with affordable units," she continued.
In approving a separate mixed-use project for downtown in December, the council was OK no parking whatsoever. Some council members said they hoped it would encourage Santa Monica residents to walk and bike.
On Tuesday, Davis also raised concerns about the apartments mainly being small, single units—an issue the council has continually raised when reviewing new developments.
"We really need to be very careful about mix of units going into these developments," she said. "I understand we have a market here in Santa Monica that has a number of different type of people looking for housing, including young singles who want an [studio], but also includes families who want more than a pony wall one bedroom."
The development agreements will be on the council’s agenda again in July.