Santa Monica Lookout
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Council OKs Election for New Tax Assessment District

Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark

Pacific Park, Santa Monica Pier

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

By Lookout Staff

April 30, 2015 -- Owners of Lincoln Boulevard businesses will get to decide if they want to pay more for extra services to handle expected influxes of foot traffic with the opening of the Expo Line.

City Council members Tuesday unanimously approved the mail-in balloting process that could lead to the formation of a Lincoln Boulevard Property Based Assessment District (PBAD). Downtown Santa Monica Inc. spearheaded a petition drive that collected signatures from some 53 percent of area owners asking for an election.

At least 50 percent of commercial property owners in the proposed district must vote yes for the assessments to go into effect. City and Downtown Santa Monica officials are studying how much the owners would be assessed.

Downtown Santa Monica’s PBAD raises more than $3 million a year to pay for such extras as enhanced maintenance services and the Ambassador Program, which provides help to visitors.

Brad Segal, president of Progressive Urban Management Associates, which has done consulting work for Downtown Santa Monica Inc., said many Lincoln Boulevard property owners are attracted by the benefits of having a PBAD.

“The Ambassadors do more than just give directions. They have radios. They enhance safety, and that’s one of the benefits that I think the Lincoln business owners appreciate,” he said.

Council members set a public hearing on the proposed PBAD for June 23, the same night the Council is scheduled to hear a second reading of the City’s new Zoning Ordinance, as well as adopt a new budget, as Councilwoman Gleam Davis pointed out at Tuesday’s meeting.

“Is there something magic about the June 23 date?” she asked.

Staff explained the timing is set by statute, with the proposal then scheduled to return to the Council for a final vote on adoption on July 14.

Only one person spoke at the public hearing Tuesday.

As part of the Council’s action on the Lincoln Boulevard PBAD, members also approved the Colorado Overlay, which increases the amount certain property owners within the Downtown PBAD pay.

Downtown Santa Monica officials say businesses in the Overlay zone will experience increased demands for such extra services as pressure-washing of sidewalks once the Colorado Esplanade and the Expo Line are completed late this year. 

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