REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT

LA City Council Passes Planning Reforms, Addresses Affordable Housing Shortage

LA City Planning | November 25, 2021

LA City Council Passes Planning Reforms, Addresses Affordable Housing Shortage
The Los Angeles City Council approved revisions to City Planning's Housing Element that will establish one of the most ambitious rezoning programs in the nation and address the systemic inequity in planning and land use policies that has contributed to the city's current housing crisis.

The proposed changes will set new citywide strategies in motion to achieve a more equitable distribution of affordable housing across Los Angeles. The ambitious rezoning program would rezone parts of the city, in order to allow for over 250,000 new housing units within three years of the plan's adoption. This plan puts Los Angeles on track to meet the state's request for nearly 500,000 new units by 2029.

"The Plan to House LA is designed to protect the most vulnerable Angelenos from displacement, eviction, and homelessness, It centers racial equity and environmental justice at the forefront of our planning considerations, aligning Los Angeles' citywide land use strategies to improve future access to housing, preservation, and production."

- Director of City Planning Vince Bertoni.

In addition to housing production, the plan also focuses on preventing displacement and advancing racial equity and opportunity. The Housing Element includes anti-displacement strategy studies, eviction defense programs, inclusionary zoning studies, a Citywide Housing Needs Assessment, and a focus on rezoning in higher opportunity areas.

The California-mandated Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation will be focused on high-opportunity areas of the city near jobs and transit, expanding existing programs that give incentives for developers to include affordable housing in new buildings and ensuring that Community Plan updates have housing goals based on equity and combat the concerning housing shortage.

For decades, the City, surrounding region, and the State have alarmingly underbuilt housing. This shortage has led to LA having some of the highest rents and home prices in the nation. The biggest impact of LA's housing shortage is on working class families of all backgrounds, who find themselves facing exorbitant rents putting upward mobility out of reach.

The city will have three years to create ordinances to put these policies into effect. Technical amendments to the City's Safety and Health Elements were also passed to reflect the update of the Housing Element in accordance with state laws. Rezoning will take effect through active community and neighborhood planning efforts, citywide rezoning efforts, and affordable housing incentive programs.

Spotlight

Sustainable real estate development is an essential component of intergenerational justice, in part because the real estate sector creates more than 20% of the world’s carbon emissions. Governments, recognizing that environmentally sustainable real estate development involves higher upfront costs, have encouraged green building by offering publicly funded incentives such as tax credits, grants, reduced approval fees, and streamlined permitting. Using market measurement innovations such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, investors can promote environmentally sustainable development by prioritizing real estate developers that embrace environmentally conscious practices. Even though real estate in general still underperforms in many other sectors in terms of its environmental sustainability, trends are encouraging.

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