Santa Monica Coalition for a Livable City reports that last week,
after an inexplicable 20-year delay, the City Council finally adopted the Developer Impact Fee that’s been required by city law since 1991! This type of fee (renamed a “Transportation Impact Fee” or “TIF”) has been collected by other cities for decades. It’s money that developers pay to cities to help mitigate the traffic impacts of their projects.
By ignoring the law on its books and failing to collect this fee for over 20 years, we estimate that the City lost $25,000,000 based solely on the commercial projects that were approved during that time. This money could have been used to improve our entire transportation network, including improvements of streets, signalization, pedestrian right of ways and bike paths. Unfortunately, nothing can be done to collect those past fees, and residents can reasonably wonder why it took so long for the City to act.
More than 4 years ago, SMCLC first brought the City’s manifest failure to collect these fees to the Council’s attention during the LUCE process. The Council authorized the necessary study to determine how much developers of new hotel, office, retail and residential space could reasonably be charged for the increased burden their projects had on our infrastructure. Now we are seeing the results of that study finally put into action.
Lastly, we recognize that these fees are not an acceptable tradeoff to overdevelop, nor will they solve the increased traffic congestion that would result from overdevelopment. Rest assured we will continue to unite with residents like you and our neighborhood associations to oppose those projects that are out of character for our city, whose impacts are too great, that offer little or no benefits to residents, but great profits for developers while steadily degrading our quality of life.