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  • 08/15/2019 8:45 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    The City Council is split on how much to raise water rates over the next five years to fund projects that will wean Santa Monica off of imported water.

    The council discussed Tuesday how much to charge residents and businesses for water as the city moves toward a goal of water self-sufficiency by 2023. The rate increases will finance almost $42 million in projects that will allow Santa Monica to stop importing water from the regional water utility, which local officials say will save ratepayers money in the long run.

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  • 08/15/2019 8:23 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    The City Council on Tuesday voted to provide $2 million in housing subsidies to as many as 400 Santa Monica seniors struggling to make their rent control payments.

    The vote greatly expands to between 250 and 400 households the two-year-old Preserving Our Diversity pilot program that served 22 seniors at a cost of $300,000 a year. Phase two of the program raises the eligible age from 62 to 65.

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  • 08/15/2019 8:16 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    A house rented on Airbnb as a quasi youth hostel has caused an uproar in the upscale North of Montana neighborhood and raised questions about Santa Monica's strict home sharing ordinance.

    Code enforcers and Fire Department officials are investigating whether the operator of the single-family house at 710 Adelaide Place violated any laws or codes by renting the property to multiple guests.

    The listing on Airbnb -- which advertises a bunk bed for $49 per night -- noted that a "maximum of 36 people in total can stay at the same time combining all rooms” in the four-bedroom, three-bath house with a converted garage.

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  • 08/13/2019 1:10 PM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    In a 4-1 margin, the Culver City Council voted Monday to approve an ordinance which sets an annual 3 percent cap on rent hikes for apartment complexes built before Feb. 1, 1995, according to the Los Angeles Times.

    The ordinance also offers tenants in those buildings just-cause eviction protections, which means they can only be evicted for reasons such as not paying rent, causing significant damage to the apartment or building or engaging in criminal activity.

    The ordinance will expire in one year, on Aug. 11, 2020. The ordinance does not apply to single-family homes, condos or townhomes.

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  • 08/13/2019 7:56 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    The City of Santa Monica, anticipating a budget shortfall, is looking for six members of the public to serve on a task force to make recommendations for at least $4 million in reductions between 2020 and 2023. 

    The 11-member Budget Task Force, comprised of six community members and five members from the city staff, will advise City Manager Rick Cole on options and priorities for addressing budget shortfalls over the coming six years. 

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  • 08/12/2019 3:30 PM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    City Hall could distribute $2 million to hundreds of low-income seniors to help pay their rent.

    The City Council approved the Preserving Our Diversity pilot program in 2017 to set aside $200,000 to subsidize rent for long-term residents aged 62 and older who live in rent-controlled apartments. On Tuesday, the council will vote to expand the program from its initial 22 participants to up to 400 struggling seniors.

    “The Preserving Our Diversity (POD) pilot program was launched to help seniors live with dignity by meeting their basic needs, in order to preserve the affordability of existing housing resources and sustain Santa Monica’s economic diversity by helping low-income seniors remain in the community,” housing program manager Jim Kemper wrote in a report.

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  • 08/12/2019 8:48 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    Water bills in Santa Monica could rise by up to $36 for single family homes, $48 for multi-unit housing and $87 for commercial buildings based on new rate structures up for discussion at City Council this week.

    City Hall will debate the next five-year rate structure on Tuesday and Council will hear two options. The first maximizes rate increases to pay for infrastructure improvement projects while the second delays repair work for at least three years.

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  • 08/12/2019 8:43 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    POD (Preserve Our Diversity), is a program created to address the needs of very low and low-income senior’s living in rent-controlled housing for at least 20 years, in Santa Monica. The revenue stream, GS and GSH a ballot measure (2016) was created, as was the program, by Sue Himmelrich, Patricia Hoffman, Mike Soloff and others concerned with the growing need for a variety of solutions to the affordable housing crisis and homelessness. 

    POD was implemented in July of 2017 and went into effect in November of that year, with 22 participants in what was called Pilot 1 Program. It provides seniors with a payment that brings their income to $747 for a single person, after their rent is paid. 

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  • 08/09/2019 9:39 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    The city council will soon finalize regulations that seek to preserve existing homes in Santa Monica’s single-family neighborhoods.

    The city’s four single-family neighborhoods — Sunset Park, North of Montana, North of Wilshire and a small part of Pico — have seen an influx of new houses that are typically double or triple the size of existing homes. Officials have spent more than a year considering how to incentivize renovating homes rather than replacing them in response to complaints from residents that the new mansions have fundamentally altered their neighborhoods.

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  • 08/09/2019 9:36 AM | Margaret Fulton (Administrator)

    Two years ago, and in the context of the Downtown Community Plan which was being discussed at the time,  we provided a few thought-provoking observations by architects, designers, and philosophers who have thought deeply about the city environment. Those thoughts are still critically relevant in today’s Santa Monica, and are worth revisiting.

    “Traditional urbanism has three essential qualities: (1) a diverse population and range of activities, (2) a rich array of public spaces and institutions, and (3) human scale in its buildings, streets, and neighborhoods.” – Peter Calthorpe: Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change, Island Press 2010

    “There is abundant evidence to show that high buildings make people crazy.

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