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Five Mixed-Use Apartment Projects Go to Santa Monica Planning Commission


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By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

February 5, 2018 -- Five mixed-use apartment projects, most of them downtown and all from three to five stories in height, go to the Santa Monica Planning Commission on Wednesday, as the City’s future of greater density -- but also more housing -- continues to roll forward.

In all, the developments will total 211,415 square feet and would add 243 multi-family housing units, although less than eight percent are reserved as “affordable.”

The rest are market-rate units, according to the plans filed with the City’s Department of Planning and Community Development that are on the commission’s agenda when it meets at Council Chambers in City Hall, 1685 Main Street.

Wednesday’s meeting starts at 7 p.m.

The agenda can be found online at

Three of the projects are set to receive Statements of Official Action -- an end-stage, formal approval by the commission.

Public hearings are set for other two developments. The applicant for both is WNMS Communities.

One, at 1318 Lincoln Boulevard, is five stories and 33,703-square-feet. As with mixed-used/residential developments generally, the project is anchored by ground-floor commercial uses, with apartments above.

The plans call for 43 apartments, of which four (or nine percent of all units) are reserved for earners in the “extremely low” income bracket, or 30 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI).

Those incomes in Santa Monica range from $18,950 for a household of one, $21,650 for a for two-member household and $41,320 for a household of eight.

WMNS’ second project awaiting a public hearing on Wednesday is at 1650 Lincoln Boulevard. It is also five stories, but more than twice the footprint -- or 69,346 square feet – and would feature 98 units. It puts aside eight units for those earning 30 percent of the AMI, or 8 percent of all units.

Both are exempt from the highly publicized requirements for affordable housing among units built in private developments adopted by the City Council in July for its downtown.

The Downtown Community Plan (DCP) reserved up to 30 percent of units in such apartment complexes as “affordable” housing, or 35 percent if the units are being built off-site.

However, the DCP does not apply to pending projects where “applications were deemed complete prior to November 16, 2016,” as one report by City planners noted -- which encompasses most of housing developments now rolling out of the City’s development pipeline.

The amount of required affordable housing is, in addition, tied to building heights of housing developments in downtown. The largest set aside for affordable units on-site is 30 percent -- but applies only to buildings of 70 feet to 84 feet in height, or the maximum under the DCP.

A 35 percent set aside is required for developments of the same heights, but only if the units are built off the development site.

All of the projects on Wednesday’s agenda require a Development Review Permit (DRP) because they exceed the “Tier 1” maximum building mass and/or heights allowed by the City.

DRPs require approval of the commission following public input.

Set to be issued a Statement of Official Action on Wednesday are projects at 601 Wilshire Boulevard (also an WMNS development), 2903 Lincoln Boulevard (from the IM Group) and 2225 Broadway (SM-Cloverfield Investors).

Staff is also recommending approval by the commission of the two projects subject to public hearings, and the subsequent issuance of a Statement of Official Action for each.


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