PALMDALE — The City of Santa Monica has approached Palmdale about using land to build housing to help meet Santa Monica’s state-required new housing development goals.
“They are land-poor and we are land-rich,” City Manager Ronda Perez said when she informed the City Council on Wednesday of the yet-undefined proposal.
The idea would be a transfer of some of Santa Monica’s housing requirements to Palmdale in exchange for a yet-to-be-determined payment — funding, support, development, infrastructure investment or the like, Perez said.
The proposal is very much in its infancy, without any specifics, but it’s something Perez said she wanted to inform the Council of and receive any feedback about whether to pursue any further discussions. The Council, after expressing concerns about what it could mean, directed her to continue speaking with Santa Monica representatives to learn more about the proposal and report back.
Santa Monica is seeking help to meet its numbers for the Regional Housing Needs Assessment, or RHNA. This number is calculated from what the state has determined is the housing need statewide, then allocated to subgroups to cover the eight-year planning period from 2021 to 2029.
The Southern California Association of Governments, a planning organization representing six counties, sets the housing requirements for its members, including Palmdale and Santa Monica.
In this cycle, SCAG divided up more than 1.34 million in projected housing needs across its members.
According to the RHNA, Palmdale needs 6,640 additional housing units over the next eight years. Santa Monica’s requirement is nearly 8,900.
How much of that requirement it would want to build in Palmdale and whether those housing units would count toward Palmdale’s own requirement are unknown, Perez said.
Mayor Laura Bettencourt vehemently opposed the proposition, with the belief that Santa Monica would use it to transfer its unhoused population.
“I am wholeheartedly, 100% against this and I would probably fight this with every breath in my body,” she said.
Bettencourt cast the lone dissenting vote to further discussions.
She also questioned why Palmdale was approached, as opposed to other cities or unincorporated areas, such as Lancaster.
“I was advised, prior to this meeting, that if the city of Palmdale doesn’t jump on this opportunity to benefit from Santa Monica’s budgetary surplus, that Lancaster will,” Mayor Pro Tem Andrea Alarcon said.
Bettencourt was also concerned that she was not approached with the proposal, as mayor, and that she heard the offer was for $100 million in exchange to allow the housing development here.
“Then we endure an eternity of traffic, congestion, air quality issues, lack of jobs and more people on the 14 Freeway,” she said. “It flies in the face of what we’re trying to do to improve our community.”
It was not clear, from the limited discussions that have taken place, if the intent of the transfer would be to house Santa Monica residents or simply a transfer of the number of required housing units.
Any such transfer would require legislation to allow it, Perez said.
Councilmember Richard Loa said he would be interested in the transfer discussions if it would also cover a portion of Palmdale’s RHNA numbers.
“I, too am very skeptical,” Councilmember Austin Bishop said. “But I have an appetite to find out who, what and why. I’d like to at least know.”
Councilmember Eric Ohlsen agreed he would be interested to see what the potential is from such an agreement, but only if the housing development was workforce housing, not to transfer Santa Monica’s unhoused population.
He noted that while Palmdale has a surplus of land, it does not have the funding to support development, while Santa Monica appears to have the opposite issue.
“I think it’s a conversation worth having,” Alarcon said. “At this juncture, I don’t know that it hurts anybody to see what’s being offered.”
The City of Santa Monica is looking to dump their Drug Addicted Homeless in A.V. Read between the lines...and any POS from A.V. that supports that issues..has been bribed or will reap the benefits (skimming) by being L.A.s Toilet. .....Also....I would run a bus constantly back and forth from Palmdale to Venice Beach...and I would tell the homeless,.. while they are eating their "complementary" Big Mac's... that "No one has ever froze at Venice Beach"...but Palmdale's weather could Kill You..... Maybe it's time to "Peacefully Protest" outside of the Mayor's House.... for a few years.
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