by Jodi Summers
Santa Monica has often been nicknamed the “Republic of Santa Monica” for the City’s rather unique stance on various social positions. Santa Monica’s latest set of rules may or may not be unconstitutional, but it will no doubt impact multiunit properties throughout Los Angeles. The City of Santa Monica has declared that all new occupancies after Nov. 22, 2012 are non-smoking. No ands, ifs, and certainly no butts.
Will this affect the desirability of one of the world’s best beach cities? We will need to watch. In September and October 2012 in Santa Monica, according to the MLS, 98 properties were leased in Santa Monica. The median lease rate was $4,000 or $3.31 per sq ft per month. The lowest lease rates were $1,500 for several studios and one bedrooms east of Lincoln Blvd., and the high being $14,100 for an Ocean Ave. penthouse. Properties averaged 38 days on the market.
Existing Santa Monica law already bans smoking in residential outdoor and indoor common areas, including balconies and patios and any area within 25 feet of any door, window or vent. The new smoking rules that affect all multi-unit housing in the City
include the following:
- All new occupancies after Nov. 22, 2012 are non-smoking: Anyone moving into an apartment or condo in Santa Monica after November 22 can’t smoke in the unit.
- Owners and condo associations are expected to conduct smoking surveys by January 21, 2013. Prior to this date, all landlords and condo homeowners’ associations must conduct a survey of current occupants, who must then designate their units either “smoking” or “non-smoking.” Current occupants are grandfathered in. Existing occupants can continue to smoke inside their units if they designate the units as “smoking.”
- Results must be distributed. Once the survey is done, landlords and HOAs are expected to give out the updated list of all units’ smoking status to all occupants. In the future it must be kept updated, and given to all prospective renters and buyers along with a copy of the attached information sheet, from www.smconsumer.org.
Important Info For Landlords, Tenants, And Condominium Owners
Santa Monica has passed a law with new smoking rules that affect all multi-unit housing:
- All new occupancies after 11/22/12 are non-smoking: Starting November 22, 2012, all newly occupied units in multi-unit residential properties in Santa Monica are declared non-smoking. This includes all apartments and condos. So, anyone moving into an apartment or condo after November 22 can’t smoke in the unit.
- Owners must start smoking survey by 1/21/13: Before January 21, 2013, all landlords and condo homeowners’ associations are required to begin a survey of current occupants, who must then designate their units either “smoking” or “non-smoking.” For details about this process, go to smconsumer.org.
- Results distributed: Once the survey is done, landlords and HOAs must give out the updated list of all units’ smoking status to all occupants. In the future it must be kept updated, and given to all prospective renters and buyers along with a copy of this information sheet. (Also available at smconsumer.org)
- Common areas too: Existing Santa Monica law already bans smoking in residential outdoor and indoor common areas, including balconies and patios and any area within 25 feet of any door, window or vent.
Q: Are there exceptions to the law? If a property is already 100% smoke-free, the designation process is not required. The law also does not apply to temporary special needs housing for people with disabling conditions.
Q: How is the law enforced? Most compliance is achieved through communication. If that fails, and a person persists in smoking inside a non-smoking unit after getting a written notice, the person may be taken to small claims court and is liable to pay damages starting at $100. Any person can enforce the law by giving notice and eventually going to court.
Q: Are property owners required to enforce the law? No. They are only required to conduct the survey and keep updated lists available. They are not required to enforce violations of the no-smoking rules.
Q: What happens if a property owner refuses to conduct the initial survey and give out the required information? The owner can be prosecuted for violating the Municipal Code.
Q: What about medical marijuana? If a unit is non-smoking, then medical marijuana can’t be smoked inside. If a doctor specifically requests that a disabled occupant may smoke marijuana indoors, and the occupant can’t take marijuana in non-smoked form, then the smoking might be permissible under the “reasonable accommodation” standard for disabilities. For more information call the City Attorney’s Office, 310-458-8336.
Q: Where can I get help with quitting? Go to nobutts.org, or call 1-800-NO-BUTTS.
Q: Where can I get more information? Go to smconsumer.org, or call the City Attorney’s Office, 310-458-8336.
We’re here to help you with your property needs. Please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – firstname.lastname@example.org or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.
by Jodi Summers
Everyone loves Santa Monica. The City knows it and has recently approved a transportation mitigation impact fee for new construction projects. The City Planning Commission estimates that the fee could raise $60 million for transportation projects over the next 20 years.
The transportation mitigation impact fee will help pay for transportation improvements to traffic, road conditions and other infrastructure. The new fees would apply to most new buildings — including single family homes — and would vary based on what kind of development is approved and where in city limits it occurs.
The fee splits Santa Monica into two areas. Area 1 includes Downtown Santa Monica, a special office district and the Bergamot Transit Village.
Area 2 encompasses everything within city limits not in Area 1, and the fees are higher because there are more vehicle trips in that geographic boundary. A new single family home built in Area 1 would pay an additional $7,600 as a part of this program. If the same home were built in Area 2, that amount would be $7,800. Multi-family housing would be assessed $2,600 and $3,300 per unit respectively.
Planners estimate the new fees would cover $60 million of the $119 million in raw costs of the various transit-oriented projects slated for the next 20 years, including bicycle, pedestrian, parking, public transit, auto network and other traffic demand projects.
Previously, for every dollar of general fund money used on transportation, Santa Monica got $9 from outside sources. Those include grants, state and federal governments.
As expected, commissioners also ensured that pet projects > including those initiated by local government, religious institutions and affordable housing > will likely be exceptions to the rule.
Santa Monica has the goal of becoming a zero-waste city by 2030. The City recently took additional steps in that direction by becoming perhaps the first in the world to ban almost all single-use disposable consumer items. And you thought the solar-powered Ferris wheel was revolutionary…
The newly-passed law aggregates various smaller efforts targeting plastic coffee stirrers, disposable cups, paper plates and cigarette butts that fill up ever-shrinking landfill space and add to the carbon footprint.
The law is believed to be the first of its kind in the country < perhaps the world < and gives Santa Monica very definitive steps to reach the goal of going zero-waste by 2030.
“Santa Monica is a city on a hill for those seeking to truly protect the oceans and tidal areas. Even land lubbers can appreciate the benefits of never seeing another stray paper cup crunched in a storm drain,” optimistically offers Heal the Bay’s executive director, Karin Whale.
As the city is a prototype, researchers studying climate change and the green economy have asked to make Santa Monica a case study for the next 20 years to see how well the ban functions in the 8.3 square mile City.
“You created Downtown apartments that do not provide parking specifically to attract people without cars,” offered city resident Edmund Furror, “Now you want us to get in cars to get necessities for life?”
The ban has created unusual alliances within the Santa Monica community of constituency groups that have never before advocated on the same issues. For example, a group calling itself SMC-Squared (Santa Monicans for Condoms and Convenience), consists of medical professionals and singles rallying against the ban’s impact on prophylactics and single-serving frozen dinners > both of which are essentials to the young professional lifestyle.
“I’m begging you for a compromise,” Betsy Berson Foursquare of the Venice Family Clinic told policymakers. “Companies are making condoms thinner and thinner these days. It increases the chance they’ll break, but that’s still better than the pull-out method.”
Here is the great divide. If you’re a homeowner considering selling in 2012, you’re probably pessimistic about getting the price you need or want, and therefore it’s possible you won’t even try to sell. But, if you’re a buyer, you’re very attracted by 30-year fixed mortgage rates now below 4% and home prices hovering at the bottom of the market…the issue is that there are very few choices.
Look at Santa Monica, as an example; contrasting Dec-10 vs. Dec-11, the number of for sale properties is down 32%.
A new study by the Research Institute for Housing America concludes that nearly 80% of consumers surveyed believe it is currently a great time to buy a house, but more than 92% of homeowners think it’s not a great time to sell. This profound market fissure caused by owners’ fears and hesitation is known as “negative selling sentiment.”
Many owners “have not adjusted their price expectations downward” to keep pace with local declines in property values after the mortgage bust,” summarizes Syracuse University economist Gary Engelhardt.
This lack of vision is why sellers believe their property is more valuable than its actual market worth. For example, the study concluded that people who had purchased their homes in 2007 or later thought their homes were worth about 14% more than their actual sales value. People who bought homes before 2002 overvalued their houses by about 12%. This unrealistic perception of value is motivating only people who need to sell, to sell.
Look at these trend numbers in reference to Santa Monica. When contrasting Dec-10 vs. Dec-11, the average months supply of inventory in Santa Monica is down -4.1% to 5.6 months of inventory. (Market parity is 3.7 months).
Glenn Kelman, chief executive of Redfin, a national realty brokerage in Seattle, said the shortages of listings in some markets are the product of owners “waiting for better times to sell.”
The current forecast call for the state and the region to experience slow growth in the new year. The rest of the United States, as well as California’s international trading partners, coupled with increased consumer purchases will combine to generate faster growth in 2013.
Despite a modestly growing GDP, the nation’s labor market remains mired in a long slump. 2012 mark the fourth year in a row with an unemployment rate exceeding 9%, the worst performance of the postwar era.
“Put simply,” UCLA Anderson Forecast Senior Economist David Shulman offers, “there are currently 25 million Americans looking for fulltime work.”
While the U.S. may anticipate job growth at the rate of 150,000 per month in 2012, total payroll employment will still be three million jobs below the 2007 peak and real personal income is still below the level reached in 2008. We are getting there… but we still have a long way to go.
“The United States is facing an unemployment crisis in a slow growth economy. A modestly growing GDP on the order of 2% will not be sufficient to lower the unemployment rate much below 9% through 2013,” Shulman concludes. “The economy will be sustained by modest increases in consumption and business investment along with the beginnings of a housing recovery in 2013.”
California is expected to see employment growth of 1.4% and 2.1% in 2012 and 2013 respectively, deduces the forecast. Payrolls will grow less rapidly at 1.2% and 2.0%. Real personal income growth is assumed to be 3.9% in 2011, followed by 2.6% and 2.1% in 2012 and 2013 respectively. The unemployment rate will hover around 11.6% through 2012.
And because of those sobering statistics, the number of properties for sale in Santa Monica is down 32% and the number of sold properties is down 10%.
We’re here to help you with your commercial and investment property needs. Please contact Jodi Summers and the SoCal Investment Real Estate Group @ Sotheby’s International Realty – email@example.com or 310.392.1211, and let us move forward together.
by Jodi Summers
All totaled, there are approximately 131 million housing units in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. A government survey estimates that about 18.8 million homes, or 14.4% of all houses and apartments, are vacant. (Without vacation homes, that number drops to 11%.)
Since the housing bubble collapsed 2006, the number of vacant homes has soared from about 16 million, and has been rising toward 19 million since the end of 2008.
Banks have seized more than 816,000 homes through the end of third quarter 2010, and the number of foreclosures for the year could top one million, according to foreclosure listing service RealtyTrac Inc.
For the record, about 2.5% of all primary residences were vacant and for sale and 10.3% of all year-round rental units were listed as vacant and for rent.
From: Zina Josephs – Friends of Sunset Park
Subject: WRITING CONGRESS RE THE FAA “TEST”
Those affected by the FAA “test” flight path may wish to use the sample letter below to write to Congressional representatives. You can edit, cut and paste, etc., to include pollution, quality of life, or the concern of your choice.
Please forward to as many people as possible, and remember to advise that the letters be sent by regular mail or by FAX for maximum impact.
Senator Barbara Boxer
312 N. Spring St. #1748
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Senator Dianne Feinstein
1111 Santa Monica Blvd. #915
Los Angeles, CA 90025
Rep. Henry Waxman
8436 W. 3rd St. #600
Los Angeles, CA 90048
(Write a separate letter to each Congressional representative.)
June 16, 2010
RE: FAA change of flight path at Santa Monica Airport
Dear (Insert name here: Senator Boxer, Senator Feinstein, or Congressman Waxman),
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has chosen to test a new flight path for certain aircraft leaving Santa Monica Airport (SMO).
The previous flight path took aircraft over a sea level golf course and a primarily commercial street leading to the ocean before allowing pilots to turn north/right.
The “new” departure flight path, the 250 vector, takes aircraft directly over two densely populated residential neighborhoods (the Sunset Park mesa and the hilly section of Ocean Park), a busy amusement park (Santa Monica Pier), places of worship, and schools.
As a resident of the impacted neighborhood, I am very concerned about the effect on my quality of life and my peaceful enjoyment of my home, if this tested flight path were to become permanent. The change in the tested flight path has introduced as many as 20 planes overhead per hour, in addition to the already large numbers of planes criss-crossing Santa Monica due to its proximity to LAX. These frequent
low-flying flights are incredibly noisy and arguably a violation of the 1984 agreement between the FAA and the City of Santa Monica.
In addition, I have significant concerns about the safety of our community. The frequency of planes crashing just after takeoff from General Aviation airports like SMO is well documented. The danger level is far greater at SMO because homes are within less than 300 feet of either end of the runway.
The new “test” departure route raises the danger level still higher, as it takes planes over John Adams Middle School, Will Rogers Elementary School, Olympic High School, John Muir Elementary School, Santa Monica Alternative School House, and Santa Monica High School.
We need your help in this fight with the FAA. Please contact the FAA Administrator J. Randolph Babbitt and request that he respect your desire to protect the quality of life and safety of residents in the affected areas by continuing to use the flight path mutually agreed to in the 1984 Agreement with the City of Santa Monica.
(Insert your name here)
(Insert your address here)
Santa Monica, CA (zip code)
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