Business Improvement District Eyed for Pacific Palisades Village

Core group of Pacific Palisades volunteers and property owners hires consultant to explore business plan with commercial property assessment proposal for the city.

About 50 Pacific Palisades property owners in the village have expressed interest to form a business improvement district (BID), and a group of invested volunteers are putting together the details.

Next the steering committee needs to vote on a proposed management plan, and then it has to be voted on by the property owners before it goes to the city clerk. The final steps are approval by the Los Angeles City Council and the mayor's signature.

In general, a BID provides enhanced improvements and activities, such as security, maintenance, marketing and economic development in addition to those provided by local government for a community's business sector. A property-based BID, such as the idea for Pacific Palisades' village, is based upon the "benefit assessment district" concept, which provides for an additional tax on commercial property to be raised within a specific geographic area. Proceeds are then directed back to the district to provide services.

"As a property owner [in the Fashion District], I know the value of a BID because my values have gone up," said Laurie Sale, who formerly worked in retail and is one of the Palisades volunteers spearheading the effort. "We're a small community here and to have a safe and clean place, it makes it much more inviting to shop, stay here and eat here."

Sale said the group has a projected budget of $200,000, and they've also raised some loan funds to hire a consultant, Urban Place Consulting. Sale also belongs to a BID in the Fashion District in downtown L.A., which operates on a $4 million to $5 million budget under a different management plan and scope.

"Last week, we looked at proposed assessments from the property owners and moving forward, we're going get a proposed management plan," Sale added.

Before the city clerk's review, Sale said the group has to create and manage a BID petition campaign and/or ballot drive, which needs to earn at least 51 percent of the "weighted vote."

If the BID passes, every village district property owner will receive the tax assessment on their county tax bill.

"We've had preliminary meetings with quite a few property owners," Sale said. "There are some tenants who are realizing their rents may go up. One business owner actually put in $1,000 dollars who realized this could be be a boon for our little village."

Some high priority items that have been agreed upon by most of the village property owners include much needed power washing, tree trimming, keeping the sidewalks clean and extra trash pick-up. A non-profit, private sector management organization would be hired to manage the day-to-day operations of the BID, if approved.

Sale added that City Councilman Bill Rosendahl has been "very supportive" of the effort, and included that two candidates for the Council District 11 seat in the city nominating primary election have expressed support.

"You have more clout with the city," Sale said about L.A. communities who have BIDs.

Pacific Palisades Chamber of Commerce President Nicole Howard said at this point, the formation of the BID is the only way to give the community the boost it badly needs, not just in the revival of the town, but also looking to the future of the Palisades.

"It is not going to magically just become more beautiful, full of events and [have] new landscaping appear," she said. "We need a Business Improvement District to generate the funding to make this happen."

Howard said this is why places like Montana Avenue and Main Street in Santa Monica, as well as Brentwood Village, "look the way they do."

"They have BIDs in place," she added. "It is my hope that property owners are looking to invest in their town's future and not just think short term or selfishly think of just themselves."

For more information on BIDs, read these frequently asked questions on the Los Angeles City Clerk website.

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