Item No. 8A
Planning Commission Mtg: November 18, 1998 Santa Monica, California
TO: The Honorable Planning Commission
FROM: Planning Staff
SUBJECT: Development Agreement 97DEV002; Final Environmental Impact Report 98-002
Address: 1900 Pico Boulevard
Applicant: City of Santa Monica
Summary: Proposed is an amendment to the existing Development Agreement between the City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Community College District to allow the replacement and relocation of the Municipal Pool facility on the site of the existing Parking Lot 8 and within the open space setback adjacent to Parking Structure C and 16th Street. Parking Lot 8 is located on the site of Parking Structure B, which was demolished as a result of damage from the 1994 Northridge earthquake.
The 57,350 square foot parcel is bounded by Parking Structure A to the north, the access road and Parking Structure C to the east, the Facility Services Department and athletic field to the south, and 16th Street to the west. The proposed Municipal Pool facility will consist of a 50 meter (164 feet) by 75 foot competition pool, and an approximately 80 foot by 75 foot instructional and recreational pool. In addition, an approximately 1,500 square foot pool equipment building, an approximately 2,200 pool storage and equipment building and 7,500 square foot aquatic building are proposed.
An Environmental Impact Report has been prepared for this project which identifies one unmitigatable traffic impact. However, given the public benefit of a new Municipal Pool facility, staff recommends adoption of a Statement of Overriding Considerations.
The proposed Development Agreement amendment permits both the construction of the Municipal Pool facility on a site that was the location of a parking structure, and permits the construction of the facility on the portion of the site previously designated by the Development Agreement as an open space setback at the western frontage of Parking Structure C.
Action: The Planning Commission must take the following actions:
1. Recommendation to City Council regarding certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report evaluating the environmental impacts of the project as proposed in the Development Agreement Amendment and recommendation to adopt a Statement of Overriding Considerations.
Recommendation: Recommend City Council approval of actions noted above.
Permit Streamlining Expiration Date: Not applicable to projects involving a Development Agreement.
SITE LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
The project is located on an approximately 57,350 square foot parcel at the western edge of the Santa Monica College campus. Surrounding uses consist of the four level Parking Structure A to the north; maintenance and operation offices housed in temporary trailers to the south; the five level Parking Structure C, and access road to the structure to the east; and 16th Street to the west. Across 16th Street there are one and two story condominiums and single family residences.
Zoning District: R2 Low Density Multiple Residential
Land Use District: Institutional
Parcel Area: 57,350 square feet
The Development Agreement Amendment vests the development entitlements for the Municipal Pool on this specific site, incorporates the Environmental Impact Report mitigation measures, locates pedestrian and vehicular access, and requires specific conditions for the development based on the schematic design drawings, including landscaping, Department of Environmental and Public Works Management, and Architectural Review Board requirements.
Proposed is a 50-meter competition pool, an 80 foot by 75 foot instructional pool, an approximately 7,500 square foot, 2-story pool building and approximately 25,800 square feet of deck and landscaped area. The pool complex is designed with a two-part pool building, with offices and changing rooms located between the instructional and competition pool and connected by a partially covered second story viewing deck accessed by both stairs and elevator. The project plans are included in Attachment G. The main entrance to the pool facility will be through the eastern side of the pool office, allowing for controlled access. The project design uses industrial materials of concrete block with painted steel trim. The facility will have an approximately 18 foot high sound wall along the entire western edge facing 16th Street. The sound wall, which will be the main element visible from the street, will be constructed with a concrete block base of approximately four feet and approximately 13 feet of plastic sound baffle modules. The sound baffle modules are clear plastic quadrants, similar to glass block, placed in a solid colored frame. The preliminary landscape plan includes a vine cover for the sound wall, some lawn area in the interior of the facility, as well as xeriscape plantings. The intent is to preserve the existing trees on site where feasible. The one story pool storage building at the southern edge of the site also includes a secondary pool entrance and pool equipment rooms.
The new Municipal Pool facility will be jointly operated by the College and the City's Department of Community and Cultural Services. The hours of operation, staffing requirements, permit parking regulations, maintenance and other operating functions will be established in a Joint Operating Agreement between the College and the City, which will be entered into after the Development Agreement Amendment is approved. The details of this agreement will be finalized prior to the commencement of operation. Although the exact hours of programming will vary according to season and demand, the use of the facility, by either party, will start no earlier than 5:15 a.m on weekdays, 7 a.m. on Saturdays, and 8 a.m. on Sundays, and end no later than 9:30 p.m. on weekdays and 5 p.m. on the weekends, except for special events and programs such as swim meets. Mitigation measure # 13 requires that no instructional activities involving whistles, bull horns or shouting will be permitted prior to 7 a.m. on weekdays, and 8 a.m. on weekends. Mitigation measures # 4, 5, and 6 also require that bus route, bus parking, and participant parking information be provided in advance of swim meets to minimize neighborhood impacts due to special events (Attachment B, Development Agreement Exhibit E).
Parking, Access, and Circulation
Vehicular Access and Circulation:
Vehicular access will occur via Pico Boulevard at 17th Street with parking available in either Parking Structure A or Parking Structure C as to be determined in the Joint Operating Agreement. Vehicles will enter from Pico Boulevard and, once on the campus grounds, will proceed west and enter Parking Structure A, which is immediately to the west of the main Pico Boulevard entrance, or turn south, and proceed toward Parking Structure C. If necessary, vehicles may use the pool drop-off lane, in front of the pool facility main entrance, and then enter Parking Structure C. There will be four additional handicapped spaces at the ground level western corner of Parking Structure C, which will have direct access to the Municipal Pool entry. The College shall designate 24 additional spaces during peak use hours to accommodate the expected increase in users due to increased programming.
The primary bus stop serving the pool will be the Pico Boulevard bus stop just east of 16th Street. Team buses will make advance arrangements to park in one of the college surface parking lots.
Pedestrians may access the pool facility from the 16th Street sidewalk. A pedestrian path at the northern site perimeter will lead to the main entrance of the site's eastern side. Pedestrians walking from their cars parked in either Structure A or C will also use this entrance. This entrance is at grade level, and does not require a handicapped access ramp. The viewing deck is served by an elevator, to enable handicapped access to the second floor. There will also be a secondary controlled pedestrian access for college users at the southern edge of the site, which will only be open during the hours that the college is using the pool.
The City's recent long-range planning process for open space and parks identified the need for improved and expanded aquatics facilities as a top community priority. In response, the City Council approved the appropriation of $3.9 million in the City's FY 1997-98 Capital Improvement Program Budget to replace the City's existing pool facility located on the Santa Monica College campus. The plan calls for a 50-meter pool, an adjacent smaller instructional pool, and a new shower/locker building. Originally, it was assumed that the project would be constructed within the existing footprint of the current Municipal Pool site, located within the northwestern section of the campus.
In the wake of the Northridge Earthquake, which damaged a number of key buildings on the campus, the College initiated a master planning process to guide the physical reconfiguration of the main campus to best meet its educational mission. This effort has involved numerous community meetings and focus groups to assess issues and priorities and evaluate a range of land use options. The process culminated in review and action by the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees earlier this year. Supporting the inclusion of the new Municipal Pool on the College campus, the master planning effort identified several potential sites for the pool that would meet the College's goal to create a unified and efficient campus layout and also meet the City's desire for an expanded aquatics facility that is physically accessible to the public. As part of their master plan process, the College publicly presented two final site options for the pool:
1. Rebuilding the pool on the existing site in the interior of the campus, resulting in the rebuilding of the demolished Parking Structure B at its previous 16th Street location, which is currently temporary surface Parking Lot 8. Parking Structure B was a four story structure with 374 parking spaces that was severely damaged in the 1994 Northridge Earthquake and subsequently demolished. Access was provided from 16th Street.
2. Rebuilding the pool on the site of surface Parking Lot 8 and on the adjacent green space at the edge of the College campus along 16th Street, combined with the expansion of Parking Structure C on a portion of the old pool site. Relocation of the Municipal Pool facility to this site would preclude the reconstruction of Parking Structure B on the site where it was originally located. Therefore, construction of a replacement structure with a minimum of 374 spaces elsewhere on the College campus would be necessary.
In September 1997, the City Council approved the award of a consultant contract for the design of the new pool facility to Killefer, Flammang, Purtill Architects with Rowley International as pool sub-consultants. Since then, the following activities have taken place:
1. Two community meetings to introduce the community to the project and the initial program and to further assess neighborhood and community issues to supplement the outreach efforts conducted by SMC.
2. A preliminary evaluation of the two site options including a determination of what facilities could be accommodated on each site, preliminary analysis of noise and circulation impacts and possible mitigations, and preliminary cost estimates.
3. Review and designation of the 16th Street site as the preferred site and the existing pool site as the project alternative site by the City Council on November 25, 1997.
4. Development of a concept design for the new facility along 16th Street, based on input from user groups (including seniors, persons with disabilities, and competitive, recreational, and instructional swim participants), 16th Street neighbors, and staff of the SMC and City aquatics programs.
5. Completion of a Draft Environmental Impact Report assessing the impacts associated with replacement of the pool on the preferred site along 16th Street as well as on the existing pool site, and concluding the 16th Street Site is preferable in terms of environmental impacts.
6. Completion of a draft Development Agreement Amendment between the City and Santa Monica College to permit the pool facility to be built along 16th Street, and approval of the agreement by the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees at their November 2, 1998 meeting.
Staff expects the following remaining steps to be completed by June, 1999:
1. Development of project design and construction documents, including approvals by City Commissions and City Council, City Council approval of the Development Agreement amendment, and certification of the Final Environmental Impact Report.
2. Award of construction contract.
Completion of construction is estimated by the first quarter of 2000. This presumes an accelerated design process given the funding deadlines required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for use of Community Development Block Grant Supplemental Earthquake Funds which have been appropriated to support this project.
A Development Agreement is a contract between the City and a developer which authorizes the type and amount of development within a specific period of time. Typically, in Santa Monica, development agreements have provided developers with guaranteed development rights in exchange for public benefits. A development agreement must comply with the General Plan and Specific Plans but can supersede zoning regulations by establishing its own specific set of development standards.
The City and the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees entered into a Development Agreement in November, 1989 to set forth the design and construction requirements for two parking structures, Parking Structures A and C, both of which were completed as described in the Agreement. The preferred site for the Municipal Pool facility has been identified as the open space on the western edge of the campus, adjacent to Parking Structures A and C. The 1989 Development Agreement governs development in this area. In order to build on this site, the existing Development Agreement must be amended.
The Development Agreement amendment attached to this report is the document proposed by The City of Santa Monica and the Santa Monica College Board of Trustees. The document outlines the parameters for the specific Municipal Pool facility for which the attached Final Environmental Impact Report was prepared. The City recognizes that the College is undergoing an extensive master planning process and the Municipal Pool facility is one part of this project. The Master Plan projects were considered as part of the cumulative projects in the Municipal Pool environmental analysis. The College would like to expand existing Parking Structure C to replace the parking spaces that were lost when Structure B was demolished as well as to provide additional parking spaces. Since Parking Structure C was authorized by the 1989 Development Agreement, any modification to this structure would require a separate Development Agreement Amendment. Such an amendment can only occur following completion of additional environmental analysis once the College completes the parking structure expansion schematic design.
The Development Agreement amendment sets forth all the development standards, mitigation measures, and review procedures for the completion of the Municipal Pool Facility. As proposed, the following Development Agreement sections are amended or added:
Paragraph 2: Description of the Property (amended to include the Municipal Pool site, including both surface Parking Lot 8 and the adjacent open space)
Paragraph 3: Description of the project (amended to include proposed Municipal Pool facility)
Paragraph 4: Approved uses (amended to include parking for pool users)
Paragraph 5: Timing of construction (amended to include construction timing for the proposed project)
Paragraph 6: Project mitigation (added to include mitigation measures from the Municipal Pool EIR)
Paragraph 7: General Services, now Department of Environmental and Public Works Management, requirements (amended to include specific requirements for the Municipal Pool project.)
Paragraph 9: Effect of Agreement on land use regulations (amended to include discussion of the replacement of Parking Structure B)
Paragraph 18: Notices (amended to include appropriate City departments)
Exhibit A: Legal description of property (amended)
Exhibit B: Landscaping requirements (amended)
Exhibit C: Public Works requirements (amended)
Exhibit D: Site plans access and circulation (added)
Exhibit E: Mitigation measures (added)
Exhibit F: Standard Conditions for the Municipal Pool Facility (added)
Exhibit G: The original Development Agreement without exhibits, as all exhibits are changed by the First Amendment (added).
An Environmental Impact Report (EIR)/Environmental Assessment (EA) was prepared for this project. Since the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) have discretionary approval of federal funding for portions of this project, an EA was prepared to satisfy federal environmental review requirements. Although a joint document was prepared, the City only takes action on the EIR. Therefore, only the EIR is referenced in this staff report.
Copies of the draft EIR were distributed to the City Council and notices of availability were sent to Planning Commission members at the beginning of the 45 day public review period, which closed on October 16, 1998. A total of 3 comment letters were received. These comment letters, as well as the response to comments, are included in the final EIR. One comment letter from the Grant Gardens Homeowners Association was submitted after the close of the comment period (Attachment E). This comment letter addresses the potential neighborhood impacts of specific elements of the project design. The letter states the Association's preference for the proposed project, which has no exit onto 16th Street, that the noise barrier should be constructed along the north, west and south boundaries of the Municipal Pool facility, and that all the mitigation measures in the DEIR should be implemented. The Association also requested that the Santa Monica College parking structures be open on the weekends when the Municipal Pool facility is in use, that the secondary entrance be monitored at all times and be strictly for college use, and that the hours prohibiting whistles, shouting and bullhorns begin later in the day than specified in the EIR. All mitigation measures identified in the EIR shall be implemented as part of the Development Agreement Amendment. The majority of these additional requests are also addressed in the Development Agreement Amendment. Issues relating to bus parking, the hours of the parking facilities, monitoring of the secondary gate, and noise restrictions will be addressed in the Joint Operating Agreement which will establish the parameters of the facility's shared use. The requirements of this operating agreement shall cover the location of pool user parking and the hours of operation for the parking structures, and maintenance and staffing of the Pool Facility. This Agreement shall be finalized prior to the completion of construction of the Municipal Pool facility.
No unmitigatable impacts were identified in the areas of Air Quality, Noise, Artificial Light Shade/Shadow; Aesthetics; Police Protection, Construction Impacts, and Neighborhood Effects. With adoption of the recommended mitigation measures, the EIR determined that these impacts could be reduced to below a significant level. As discussed below, the only significant impact that could not be mitigated was in the area of Traffic/Access/Parking relating to additional trips on neighborhood streets.
The EIR determined that the project would result in a significant neighborhood impact that could not be mitigated due to increased traffic on 16th Street. The City has strict standards by which traffic impacts to the neighborhood are analyzed. The significance criteria for neighborhood traffic impacts defines the addition of any new trips to a residential street which has daily volumes greater than 90 percent of capacity as significant. As 14th,16th and Pearl Streets currently function at greater than 90 percent capacity, the addition of any new trips generated by the pool project result in significant neighborhood traffic impacts that cannot be mitigated. The proposed project, with no 16th Street access, would add 21 average daily trips on weekdays, and 17 average daily trips would on weekends, to 16th Street. Of these additional trips, only 14 would occur along 16th Street.
Due to the increase in trips, which cannot be mitigated, a Statement of Overriding Considerations would be required to approve the proposed project. Staff believes that the public benefit of relocating of the Municipal Pool to this site, enabling the 374 spaces from Parking Structure B to be replaced at the interior of the college campus and thereby reducing impacts on adjacent neighbors, outweighs the traffic impacts of an additional 21 daily trips to the immediate neighborhood.
The EIR also considered alternatives to the proposed project, as follows:
Pursuant to Municipal Code Section 9.48.110, notice of the public hearing was mailed to all owners and residential and commercial tenants of property located within a 500 foot radius of the project site and published in the Argonaut at least ten consecutive calendar days prior to the hearing. A copy of the notice is contained in Attachment C.
In addition, the City has held a total of 3 neighborhood meetings on the proposed project: an introduction of the project to the community on November 6, 1997; a design workshop on December 4, 1997; and a focus group meeting on October 7, 1998 to review the plans, model and DEIR.
The proposed Municipal Pool project is an expanded aquatic facility that will benefit both City residents as well as college students. The facility provides two pools rather than one, including a full size recreation and instruction pool, which responds to the community priority for increased recreational aquatic facilities identified during the Parks and Recreation Master Plan process. The proposed pool facility will better serve the community by allowing expanded swimming programs that use both pools simultaneously, as well as providing a new building for changing rooms and showers. The proposed competition pool better serves College needs by allowing for competitive swim meets. In addition to the benefits provided by a new and expanded Municipal Pool facility, the 16th Street project siting permits the College the opportunity to replace Parking Structure B by expanding Parking Structure C at the interior of the College campus, which will have fewer neighborhood traffic impacts due to elimination of vehicular entrances on 16th Street. Additionally, this proposal would reduce noise, air quality and shadow impacts, as a four level parking structure would not be located at the campus perimeter where it would be visible and audible to the neighborhood. By locating the Municipal Pool at this site, the City and the College can provide an enhanced pool facility, as well as implement the College Master Plan's objective to locate the replacement parking structure at a site which will reduce impacts to the surrounding neighborhood.
It is recommended that the Planning Commission take the following actions:
1. Recommend that City Council adopt a Statement of Overriding Considerations and certify the Final Environmental Impact Report evaluating the environmental impacts of the project as proposed in the Development Agreement.
2. Recommend that City Council approve the Development Agreement Amendment as proposed with the following Findings, which includes approval of the project plans.
DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT FINDINGS
1. The proposed Development Agreement is consistent with the objectives, policies, general land uses and programs specified in the general plan and any applicable specific plan, in that the project is consistent with Land Use Element Policy 1.11.1, which states:
"Encourage development of parks and recreation facilities to meet the needs of both resident and day time population with particular attention to middle size parks and play lots geared to families with children."
As proposed, the Municipal Pool facility will provide a valuable recreation facility that serves both the residential community of local families and citizens as well as the overlapping day time and residential community of Santa Monica College students. The proposed design, which includes both the shallow instruction/ recreation pool designed for safe use by children, and the large, full size competition pool, which provides for the needs of the college students as well as adult swimmers, complies with this Land Use Element policy by providing a recreational facility for both families and individuals.
A new Municipal Pool facility will also address the community priority for the expansion of recreational aquatic facilities identified in the Parks and Recreation Master Plan process, and the Master Plan strategy of developing a new competitive and instructional pool complex at Santa Monica College. Draft Open Space Element Policy 2.2 encourages the expansion of open space through shared use of certain facilities, and Policy 2.3 encourages the improvement of school sites as public open spaces. The Municipal Pool facility meets both of these policies by improving on the public pool facilities and creating a new aquatic center at the Sant Monica College campus
The Municipal Pool Facility is also consistent with Land Use Objective 1.1., to improve the quality of life for all residents by providing a balance of land uses, and encourages making Santa Monica a more child-friendly environment by providing recreational facilities
2. The proposed Development Agreement is compatible with the uses authorized in the district in which the real property is located, in that the subject property is located in the R2 district, which permits both public parks and school uses, and is also located in the Public Lands Overlay District, which permits recreational facilities.
3. The proposed Development Agreement Amendment is in conformity with the public necessity, public convenience, general welfare, and good land use practices, in that it allows for the relocation of the Municipal Pool to a site where the development of the pool use will have fewer impacts on the adjacent neighborhood than the rebuilding of a four level parking structure at the site. The Development Agreement Amendment permits Santa Monica College to implement this portion of the College Master Plan, eliminating the surface parking lot at the proposed project site while reducing the amount of college traffic which exits and enters onto 16th Street.
4. The proposed Development Agreement Amendment will not be detrimental to the health, safety and general welfare, in that it allows a use that is consistent with the Land Use and Circulation Element as well as the Draft Open Space Element and Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which identify aquatic uses as a community priority.
5. The proposed Development Agreement Amendment will not adversely affect the orderly development of the property, in that the Development Agreement facilitates the relocation of the pool facility to a site that has been identified by the Final Environmental Impact Report as having fewer traffic and neighborhood effects impacts than the alternatives studied, including the "no project" alternative. In addition, the relocation of the pool facility, as established by the Development Agreement Amendment, allows for the future development of the current pool site, if the college so chooses. The mitigation measures and conditions required by the Development Agreement Amendment ensure the construction and operation of the pool use in a manner that has a minimal impact to the surrounding community.
Prepared by: Sarah Lejeune, Associate Planner
Amanda Schachter, Senior Planner
Karen Ginsberg, Planning Manager
A. Conformance Chart
B. Development Agreement Amendment
C. Notice of Public Hearing
D. Radius and Location Map
F. Final EIR
G. Site Plan, Floor Plans and Elevations
DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT AND PHASE I CONFORMANCE
|DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT||MUNICIPAL POOL FACILITY|
|Permitted Use||Parking Structures,
|Height of Building||28 ft./ Aquatic building
12 ft./ Storage building
|28 ft. / Aquatic building
12 ft. / Storage building
|Number of Stories||2||2|
|Mechanical Equipment||N/A||Contained within storage building.|
|Walls||Not to exceed 18 feet||18 feet|
|Parking||Include 24 additional spaces for peak hour use||To be located in existing parking structures as defined by the Joint Operating Agreement.|
|Handicapped Parking||Four (4) additional spaces.||To be added in existing Parking Structure C, adjacent to pool site.|