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Santa Monica Collected About $4.3 Million in Development Mitigation Fees Last Year
 

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By Jorge Casuso

November 18, 2020 -- Santa Monica collected some $4.3 million in fees in the past fiscal year to lessen the impact of new residential and commercial development, City officials reported this week.

Most of the fees collected -- about $2.8 million -- will be used to fund transportation improvements, according to a report that will be presented to the City Council on Tuesday.

The fees are paid by applicants of approved development projects to "defray all or a portion of the costs of public facilities related to the project, staff said.

"It can take several years to accumulate sufficient funds to implement the relatively high-cost projects the City's development impact fees are eligible to fund," staff wrote in its report.

In Fiscal Year 2019-20, which ended June 30, the City collected a total of $4,335,562 million and spent about $3.9 million, leaving an ending balance of approximately $17.3 million.

The Transportation Imapct Fee (TIF) -- used to improve sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, traffic signals and transit and bicycle facilities -- accounted for $2,811,459 of the fees collected.

Approximately $9 million of the TIF fund's ending balance of $11.22 million is "encumbered, budgeted and committed" to design and build long-term projects across the city, according to staff.

"These projects require significant time for project delivery because of local design, outreach and procurement steps and State and Federal grant funding approval processes," staff wrote.

TIF funds are frequently leveraged as grant match for programs and projects that "have longer delivery times but increase the number and size of improvements possible from the fees."

Last fiscal year, $726,408 was collected from the Parks and Recreation Impact Fee, which is used to expand parks and recreation facilities needed to accommodate additional occupants resulting from new development.

The fund had an ending balance of $2,934,267, of which about $1 million will be used "for capital improvements at Marine Park, repurposing the pétanque courts in Palisades Park and the completion of the North Beach Trail project."

The Affordable Housing Commercial Linkage Fee generated $544,798 in the past fiscal year. The fund had an ending balance of $281,949 after about $1 was used to help finance 40 affordable housing units in the Pico Neighborhood.

A total of $247,375 was collected from the Child Care Linkage Fee (CCLF), which is "intended to address the increased demand for child care triggered by the development of commercial projects," according to staff.

The fund, which spent about $2.2 million in the last fiscal year, helps finance the Santa Monica Early Childhood Lab School (Santa Monica Lab) a joint project between the City and Santa Monica College (SMC).

So far, the City has contributed some $7.8 million to the Santa Monica Lab, of which $4.8 million has come from CCLF fees. The fund had an ending balance of about $1.5 million.

The Water Demand Mitigation Fee, which is used to "mitigate the total daily water consumption rate projected for new development," collected $5,522 in fees, none of which was spent, leaving an ending balance of $1,376,256.


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