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The New Dirt On Zoning

Posted by John Hathorn on August 14, 2019
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With the Interim Zoning Ordinance set to expire in November, the zoning changes for building new or expanding existing homes, here in Santa Monica, have been a bit of a moving target. A lot of proposals have been made and the dust is far from settled. A few things are pretty clear, Santa Monica’s City Council seems to be trying to encourage home owners to remodel rather than build new. In the recent past they’ve made remodeling so difficult that owners were far better off building new. It will be interesting so see how committed the city is to this new effort.

According to a recent SMDP article, The Planning Commission has recommended reducing the home-size to lot ratio again. They proposed that two-story new constructions may only cover 45% of the lot. As a result of pressure from a very vocal minority of homeowners, there has been a steady decrease in house size limits over the past 20 years. Single-story new constructions are allowed to cover 50% of the lot. If you are remodeling your existing home then you may cover up to 55% of the lot. To further promote a remodel, the commission suggested loosening restrictions on parking that kick in when a renovation increases lot coverage over 50%.

In addition to these size restrictions, building height may be limited permanently. The main reasons include allowing more privacy and light for neighboring homes.

The commission also recommended getting rid of the garage requirements and allowing parking to be simply provided behind the house. The Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) may also become more popular, as the commission recommended exempting ADU’s from the total lot coverage calculations. It’s being touted as a “painless way to address the housing crisis”. This exemption is great, in that it will help builders provide more of what today’s buyers want, while working around the strict size restrictions. However, I highly doubt these spaces will help address city housing needs.

Again, everything is still pretty much up in the air, but with the expiration of the temporary zoning ordinance just around the corner, we should be hearing some final decisions soon. What do you think of the city councils’ recommendations?  Send me an email and let me know.

In Real Estate news…

Three new listings have come on the market-

265 19th StreetListed by Pence Hathorn Silver for $3,595,000. Priced at lot value, this prime location at the corner of Georgina and 19th is drawing plenty of interest. The current house is 3,250 square feet and I expect an owner-user will mostly likely be the Buyer with plans for a major remodel under the new zoning ordinance.

435 Marguerita Avenue– Fully priced at $17,995,000, and down from the $20M ask in 2017. ½ acre lot in the West of 7th neighborhood. The old style house is nearly 7,000 sqft. There is a guest house, play house, cabana and sports court. Last sold in 2000 for $4,475,000.

2202 San Vicente Blvd– Listed for $4,499,000. Mediterranean home, remodeled in 2004 and is on a 9,380 sqft lot on the corner of 22nd and San Vicente. It is 4,400 sqft and the rooms are spacious but in need of updating for to appeal to most buyers today.

And one property went into escrow-

434 21st Street– Listed at $3,995,000 about a month ago, and rumored to be closing next week at $4.2Mish. There were multiple offers for it.


No closings to report this week.

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