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LWV League of Women Voters of California Education Fund
Smart Voter
Los Angeles County, CA November 4, 2008 Election
Proposition T
Commercial Development Limits
City of Santa Monica

General Plan Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Fail: 18,439 / 44.43% Yes votes ...... 23,061 / 55.57% No votes

See Also: Index of all Measures

Information shown below: Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Full Text

Shall the City’s General Plan be amended through 2023 to establish a Citywide annual limit on commercial development of 75,000 square feet, which: would apply to the types of projects that required City Council or Planning Commission approval on 1/16/08; would not apply to specified uses such as residential, parking, hospitals, schools, care and government facilities; and would allow for borrowing from future years in the five-year average stays within the limit?

Impartial Analysis from the City Attorney
This measure would amend the Land Use Element of the City’s General Plan by adding an annual limit on “commercial development” of 75,000 square feet of “floor area.” The measure would be in effect until 2023, unless the voters amended or repealed it sooner.

The limit would apply to classes of commercial projects requiring Planning Commission or City Council approval on 1/16/08. It would not apply to projects qualified for administrative approval on that date. Nor would it apply to uses excluded from the measure’s definition of “commercial.” Excluded uses are: residential, parking, schools, child or adult day care, hospitals, convalescent facilities, residential care for the elderly, places of worship, government, and neighborhood-serving uses located on the ground floor of 100% affordable housing projects. The measure incorporates the Municipal Code definition of “floor area” effective on 1/16/08.

The measure would authorize exceeding the annual limit by borrowing square footage from up to four years in the future, so long as the annual average for each five-year period did not exceed 75,000 square feet. The first five year period would begin 1/1/08. After that, there would be a “rolling” limit applicable to all five year periods. The square footage of development approved but not built would be added back into the annual limit upon expiration of the approval.

The limit would not apply to any project that had a vested right pursuant to state or local law on the measure’s effective date. For instance, the limit would not apply to any project permitted and under construction on that date. Nor would it apply to a project if the Council found by a 6/7 vote that applying the limit would cause an unconstitutional “taking” of the property, unavoidable by borrowing from future years. The Council could seek voter approval of commercial development exceeding the limit.

How the limit would apply to replacement or remodel projects would depend upon an analysis of anticipated traffic impacts. A project replacing or remodeling an existing building would receive a credit for some or all of the existing building’s floor area. This credit would be calculated by comparing estimates of vehicle trips generated by the new building with those of the original building. If the new building would generate the same or fewer trips per square foot, then the limit would be applied after subtracting the entire square footage of the original building from the square footage of the new building. If the new building would generate more trips per square foot than the original building, a methodology specified by the measure would be used to determine the credit for existing floor area. The traffic impact calculations would be based on data from the Institute of Traffic Engineers or a “comparable source” used by cities of Santa Monica’s size.

Implementation of the measure would require amending existing land use regulations and establishing a system for allocating commercial development rights. Certain provisions of the measure would require legal or judicial interpretation.

Arguments Submitted

Full Text of Argument In Favor, Rebuttal

Full Text of Argument Against, Rebuttal

  Official Information

City of Santa Monica

Nonpartisan Information

News and Analysis

The LookOut News

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Full Text of Proposition T
Click here for a 9-page pdf file.

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Created: January 24, 2009 10:34 PST
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