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The Real Deal Los Angeles

SaMo to enforce water use limits 9 months in advance

Developers who want to exceed restrictions must pay a fee
June 15, 2017 02:00PM

Pool party at the Viceroy in Santa Monica (Credit: Getty)

Better get your pool party out of the way, Santa Monica.

The city is about to start its enforcement of the Water Neutrality ordinance nine months in advance.
The new policy will prevent any new housing development or substantial renovation project from using more water than the site’s average use over the previous five years, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press.

For homeowners, this will require establishing new water-efficient fixtures or limiting usage elsewhere in the house.

For developers, the ordinance may be more consequential. There is an in-lieu fee for offsetting water use. A developer of a large, mixed-use project that calls for using 400,000 gallons of water on a property that traditionally uses 150,000 gallons must pay to offset the 250,000 gallons elsewhere. The city will use the funds from the offsetting fees to update low-income, high-density housing.

The ordinance will go into effect July 1, after the council voted last month to expedite its enforcement from its original March 2018 start date. Council members came to that decision because they were afraid too many new development projects before next year would skirt the new requirements.

“This is a really complicated, difficult, implementation of an ordinance,” Chief Sustainability Officer Dean Kubani said at the council meeting. “It’s not something where somebody pulls a permit and we stamp it and it all works. There are a number of pieces that have to be in place for it to be implemented effectively.”

Staff members are now selecting a vendor and consultant to help implement the policy, and still working out the fee-based turnkey retrofit program to facilitate the process. [SMDP]Cathaleen Chen