Monday, September 25

LA City Council adds affordable housing ordinance to November ballot


The Los Angeles City Council voted June 21 to add an ordinance to the November ballot that would increase the number of affordable units in future housing development projects.

The Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, a group backing the Build Better LA initiative, submitted the measure in February to the city clerk. If the ballot passes, large residential developments would be required to rent up to 20 percent of units to low-income tenants.

The city would also offer incentives to housing developers building near major rail and bus stations to set aside units for low ­income tenants.

Joan Ling, an adjunct urban planning professor and former treasurer of the city’s Community Redevelopment Agency, said it is difficult for the bottom 30 to 40 percent of Los Angeles earners to find affordable housing.

“People spend more than (half) their income on housing, double or triple up (occupancy), or move into very distressed areas,” Ling said.

Ling said the initiative is one of many ways the city can increase the affordable housing supply, including zoning more land for multi­family housing.

The ordinance would require residential developers to hire licensed workers and pay them standard wages, according to the initiative’s summary. 30 percent of total work hours would be performed by permanent residents and 10 percent from workers living within five miles of the development project.

The ordinance’s requirements would not apply to residential projects in downtown and industrial areas and within half a mile of major transit stops. Developers could also pay a fee to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund instead of including rent ­controlled units to fulfill the ordinance’s requirements.

The ordinance would also divide the city into 37 planning districts. The city would have to assess the impact of any changes to a planning district’s local plan on affordable housing and related jobs.

The ordinance will compete against the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, which would halt most development projects for two-years and prohibit changes to the city’s general plan. Los Angeles residents will vote on the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative in March 2017.

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