September 29, 2021 11:09 AM
SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Last night, the Santa Monica City Council unanimously approved immediate zoning changes for the Third Street Promenade that will allow more varied new business types and greater adaptability for existing businesses. The changes are part of the City of Santa Monica’s commitment to support a robust economic recovery for the three-block pedestrian street as part of the Third Street Promenade Stabilization and Economic Vitality Plan (“Vitality Plan”), a collaboration between Downtown Santa Monica, Inc. (DTSM, Inc.), property owners, and the City.
“The Third Street Promenade is an iconic public street and gathering place meant for all to enjoy, and it will be an important component of our economic recovery,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “In these three blocks, we can creatively adapt both the retail and public spaces for new uses, tenants, and experiences that are a magnet for our local residents and a draw for the region as well.”
The draft Vitality Plan recommends short- and medium-term policy and procedural changes to continue promoting the stabilization and economic vitality of the Third Street Promenade. Some of these proposed changes are to existing land use regulations, which are one of many elements that can contribute to a successful and economically sustainable retail environment.
Council approved the following changes:
- Add new land uses for all three blocks of the Promenade, including those appropriate for Promenade facades, alley facades, and upper floors. New permissible business types include childcare, pet stores, hotel/motel/bed and breakfast, medical and dental offices, and other personal services (a full list is available on pages 5 and 6 of the staff report).
- Streamline permitting of existing land uses by minimizing applicability of Conditional Use Permits (CUPs), Minor Use Permits (MUPs), and other discretionary approvals.
- Reduce minimum active ground floor depth requirement from 50 feet to 25 feet from Promenade property line.
- Permit direct access to upper floors and rear ground floor office uses from the Promenade.
- Exempt primarily open-air rooftop uses from FAR calculations.
Council provided the overarching direction to prioritize public safety and cleanliness, including increased foot patrols, and to study circulation in the Downtown.
Another key element of the Vitality Plan is to increase the number of community-serving events, programs, and activations in downtown public spaces. To achieve this, the Council authorized the City Manager to negotiate with DTSM, Inc. on frequency of use of space, permit fees, revenue share opportunities for use of Lot 27 and Arizona Avenue, and Promenade vending program.
The City Manager will also negotiate a Restated Master Services and License Agreement with DTSM, Inc. to allow for the existing and encouraging new types of uses and programming of Arizona Avenue, Lot 27, and Promenade for community serving events and activations.
For more information and to review the Vitality Plan, visit https://www.downtownsm.com/promenade.
Public Information Officer