Santa Monica : Building Moratorium OKd

In response to complaints from residents over a surge in condominium construction, the City Council has passed a 45-day moratorium on residential building permits in a 14-block area north of Wilshire Boulevard.

Members of the North of Wilshire Residents Group told the council on Tuesday night that their quality of life was deteriorating because of construction projects--mostly condominiums--that have brought traffic, noise, air pollution, dirt and litter to their neighborhood.

Councilman David Finkel, who originally proposed the ordinance, said the moratorium will allow the council to "stop (construction) for the time being, step back, take a breath of fresh air and let the staff do its work" in coming up with solutions to the problems voiced by residents.

The council voted 5 to 1 to approve the emergency ordinance, with Councilman William H. Jennings absent and Councilwoman Christine Reed voting against it. Reed said she opposed the moratorium because no study had been conducted to show it was really necessary.

The moratorium prohibits granting residential construction permits, including hotels and motels, retroactive to April 28. Low- and moderate-income housing and single-family homes are exempt from the moratorium. Also exempt is the rehabilitation or enlargement of existing buildings.

The area affected is bordered by Ocean Avenue on the west, 14th Street on the east, Wilshire Boulevard on the south and Montana Avenue on the north. City planners said that, in a 26-month period starting in January, 1987, construction has been approved for more than 21 buildings containing 269 residential units. In 1983-1986, only 93 units were built.

The council scheduled a public hearing June 13 to decide whether to extend the moratorium for an additional 10 months and 15 days.

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