SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica residents can expect their city to start undergoing long-term changes, as the new Zoning Ordinance Update (ZOU) and the delayed 2010 Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) take effect on July 24. It was unanimously approved last month by the Santa Monica City Council, after having been intensely debated by both the public and city council members alike.

These updated policies will reflect the contemporary and future civil needs of the 10 separate districts of the city of Santa Monica. The last time the ordinance underwent such a revision was back in 1988.

After 30 plus meetings on the issue, the city will finally implement the Zoning Ordinance Update and LUCE on July 24.
After more than 30 meetings on the issue, the city will finally implement the Zoning Ordinance Update and LUCE on July 24.

The ZOU will be concerned with introducing new building standards and developing several prominent streets in the area such as Lincoln and Wilshire Boulevards and Colorado Avenue. The aim is to make these streets more pedestrian-friendly and better serviced by city transit. Wilshire in particular is to have more affordable housing units over offices and businesses.

According to the Santa Monica government site, other items implemented by the ZOU will include a revision for “increased requirements to reduce single occupant vehicle travel, incentives for bicycling, walking, and taking transit, and changes to make automobile parking better managed and more efficient.”

The Community Benefits Chapter of the Update is concerned with height restrictions for home buildings in several areas of Santa Monica. The LUCE established base heights for 32 feet, its standard for two-story buildings. If the base height of a project is made to be above this standard, to accommodate for another floor of housing, it must be done so in compliance with the requirements of the City’s Affordable Housing Production Program, namely providing affordable housing units as well as “additional community benefits.”

The total timeline for the new Zoning Ordinance Update is projected to last approximately two decades.