City Council Restricts L.A. Housing Land to Affordable Units

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council voted today to allow only affordable units to be built on city-owned land slated for housing.

Council President Herb Wesson said he introduced the proposal because not enough affordable housing is being developed at a fast enough pace.

``One of the reasons why the people rise up when they see market-rate developments going up throughout the community is because we're not building affordable housing that elevates their comfort level,'' Wesson said.

The restrictions go in effect on Jan. 1.

Councilman Paul Krekorian said he was concerned the restriction could prohibit developers from building affordable housing, as many projects with affordable units throughout the city are built with market-rate units to recoup costs.

``Our goal is to maximize the number of affordable units,'' Krekorian said. ``By maximizing the production of housing, we may actually be producing more affordable units than by imposing further limitations on the use of land.''

Councilman Mitch O'Farrell said he wanted to see if there are partnerships and housing incentives to ensure properties are funded and made 100% affordable. He said a local supply fund for affordable housing would be one way to help subsidize projects.

``I, for one, embrace the thought that we exert control over city- owned property and we put ourselves in the business of producing affordable housing,'' O'Farrell said, adding that one project planned for city property in his council district has been in the development stage for six years.

The Los Angeles Department of Housing and Community Investment currently has 58 projects that are being planned for city land, with just one of the projects planned for mixed uses.

Krekorian made an amending motion that maintained the proposal's restriction of 100% affordable units on city land, but changed the proposal to allow the council to determine whether a different way of building affordable housing is available.

The council voted unanimously, 15-0, to approve the restriction and Krekorian's amendment.

The City Controller's Office debuted a map earlier this year that shows public lands and the governments that oversee them -- www.lacontroller.org/data-stories-and-maps/propertypanel -- but it does not appear to clarify which land is slated for housing.

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