Santa Monica prohibits market rate micro apartments

After temporary ban, council approves permanent restriction
May 17, 2019 04:00PM

Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis and Santa Monica City Hall attached

Santa Monica Mayor Gleam Davis and Santa Monica City Hall attached

There’s no room in Santa Monica for any more micro units — at least for now.

Market-rate apartments under 375 square feet are now permanently banned in the city of Santa Monica, though officials plan to address new housing models again later this year. The Santa Monica Daily Press reported that the city council voted this week to stop allowing the micro units unless they are for affordable or supportive housing projects.

The council members will assess the housing market and discuss new housing models later this year and could reconsider their position.

The city first passed a temporary ban in March when officials said they didn’t want the market flooded with the tiny studios so that more larger units would be built for families.

The planning department saw a rapid influx of projects recently with market rate micro units, including applications from developer WS Communities to build six buildings in downtown Santa Monica, all with units ranging from 219 to 373 square feet.

WS Communities is led by Scott Walter, who was formerly with NMS Properties. The firm planned a total of 363 micro apartments, and 95 percent would have been market-rate. One of its buildings in Santa Monica lists 340-square-foot units for $2,915 per month.

WS Communities said previously that the planned units account for just 15 percent of all unit types that have been proposed or approved or are under construction downtown. The firm is based in Santa Monica and has completed about 20 projects in the immediate area. [SMDP] Gregory Cornfield