In addition to the serious objections Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City previously raised to the City Council's approval of the Development Agreement for the Luzzatto Village Trailer Park project, SMCLC joins in the legal objections raised by attorney Sue Himmelrich at the City Council hearing on November 13th and as supplemented by the written comments submitted thereafter (contained below).
Specifically, SMCLC believes that in order for the city to be in compliance with its Affordable Housing Production Program ("AHPP"), it must:
- Reject the Development Agreement as written for its failure to correctly calculate the affordable housing required for this site zoned RMH and considered to be a multi-family district when the AHPP was adopted; and
- Direct staff to recalculate the affordable housing replacement requirements for the site so that 25% of the units are affordable under the law.
For a city that prides itself on the production of affordable housing, and Santa Monicans for Renters' Rights elected council members who have run repeatedly on the issue of protecting and creating affordable housing in Santa Monica, this should not even require discussion.
The council should also inquire of staff whether it conducted any independent review as to whether this site historically has been considered a multi-family housing district at the time the AHPP was adopted and subsequent to the adoption; or whether staff relied upon and simply incorporated the developer's affordable housing calculations into the staff report without any such determination.
— Diana Gordon for SMCLC
Comments from attorney Sue Himmelrich, a 20-year resident of Santa Monica and an attorney with Western Center on Law and Poverty:
We would like to amplify our comments last night and emphasize once again that the Village Trailer Park development agreement, if approved in its current form, is a violation of the City's Affordable Housing Production Program. The following analysis assumes that everything in staffs' report at pages 13-14 otherwise is correct and that the law is as stated in the attached Planning Department chart published on the city's website. We specifically note that despite staff's statement to the contrary, RMH, as Village Trailer Park is zoned, clearly is a "multi-family zone." We have prepared a chart set forth below illustrating our discussion if this is more convenient for the council members.
The proposed project consists of 216 condominiums and 161 apartments.
16 apartments are slated to be affordable, leaving a balance of (161-16) = 145 apartments
Staff says that the donation of land and parking spaces satisfies affordable housing requirement for 136 condominiums,* leaving a balance of 80 condominiums.
Staff then calculates that 80 condominiums plus 145 apartments is 225 units and that at a 10% affordable unit requirement, that equates to an affordable housing requirement of 23 units.
The Affordable Housing law says that for condominiums, there is a 25% affordable unit requirement. That means the 80 remaining condominiums require 20 units by themselves, not 8 as in the Staff calculation. And, even if 10% is the right figure for the apartments, the 161 apartments require another 16.1 affordable units, making the total requirement 36 affordable units.
Even under staff analysis, only 23 are being provided. So, the proposal does not meet the requirements of the affordable housing statute even if everything in the Staff report was correct.
Not only is the math incorrect, we believe that staff's analysis violates the policy behind the Santa Monica Affordable housing statute,to treat the donated land and parking spaces as satisfying the affordable housing obligation. This is because the land being donated cannot be developed into affordable housing until the life estate of certain existing tenants expires, which could be in the very distant future. There also is nothing to assure an affordable housing development legally can or practically will occur even then. To add insult to injury, the landlord continues to profit from the 30 donated parking spaces until the undetermined date when any affordable housing can be built. A theoretical affordable housing project in the distant future cannot properly satisfy the requirements of the Santa Monica Affordable housing statute, and is not the equivalent of either cash or building affordable housing units as part of the developer's own project.
*This calculation is actually incorrect because the fee payment option for condominiums effective 11/10/ 2012 is $33.30. This means that the actual number of square feet that is eliminated by the ³cash² payment of $3.9 million is, using staff¹s numbers, $3.9 million divided by $33.30 per square foot or 117,117 square feet, or 76% of Building B, which equals 129 condos rather than 136.
MISTAKEN STAFF CALCULATION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING REQUIREMENT
Total Project Units: 216 Condos
Units covered by donations: 136 Condos
Affordable units required: 80 condos @ 10% - 8 Affordable
145 apts @ 10% 14.5 Affordable
225 units 22.5 Affordable
LEGALLY REQUIRED CALCULATION OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING REQUIREMENT
Total Project Units: 216 Condos\ 161 Apts
Units covered by donations: 136 Condos
Affordable units required: 80 condos @ 25% 20 Affordable
161 apts @ 10% 16.1 Affordable