City Council Adopts Housing Element Update

October 13, 2021 11:09 AM

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Last night, the Santa Monica City Council adopted the 2021-2029 6th Cycle Housing Element Update (5-2 vote) and associated Environmental Impact Report (7-0 vote) for Santa Monica’s eight-year housing strategy that emphasizes affordable housing production and complies with the State requirement that the City demonstrate zoning capacity for 8,895 new units, of which 69% must be affordable. The final plan is the culmination of 15 months of significant public outreach and includes feedback from the Santa Monica community, City Council, Planning Commission, Housing Commission, Rent Control Board, and the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD). The City’s adoption of the Housing Element is ahead of the State mandated deadline of October 15.


“The final Housing Element Update will expand Santa Monica’s leadership on affordable housing production on the westside and living our values of equity and inclusion by leveraging both public and private land for new affordable units,” said Mayor Sue Himmelrich. “The road to get here was not easy, but we have taken a balanced approach that complies with the State’s requirements while also maintaining the character of our neighborhoods.”


Santa Monica’s Housing Element update focuses on incentivizing housing production, particularly affordable housing; keeping existing residents housed; focusing housing near daily services and in areas that previously have not accommodated housing; and addressing equitable housing access that overcomes historical discriminatory practices and expands housing choice. Program highlights that help achieve these goals include:


Council largely approved the staff recommendations with the exception that Council moved up the date to issue an RFP for at least one city-owned site from December 31, 2023 to June 30, 2023, and added the possibility for revenue generating uses. They also moved up the date to reimagine the Affordable Housing Production Program and align it with the affordable housing production measures in the Housing Element Update to June 30, 2022.


Council also voted to include a cover letter outlining the many steps Santa Monica has taken to produce and protect housing as well as the challenges the City will face in producing the housing required through the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, and requesting state support in doing so.


With these changes incorporated, the final plan will be submitted to HCD for a 90-day review period to ensure the plan is compliant with State law. Staff will then work with HCD towards Housing Element certification.


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