Mike Bonin, Jose Huizar and Paul Koretz Introduce Inclusionary Zoning Legislation

LOS ANGELES – In the latest effort to combat the housing crisis in Los Angeles, a trio of City Councilmembers today introduced legislation which could dramatically increase the availability of affordable housing in neighborhoods throughout Los Angeles.

The legislation, co-authored by Councilmembers Mike Bonin, Jose Huizar and Paul Koretz and seconded by Gil Cedillo, calls for Los Angeles to begin the process of adopting an inclusionary zoning ordinance – rules that require or encourage housing developers to reserve a portion of the housing units in their projects for low-income residents as a condition of project approval.

For decades, the City has attempted a variety of strategies to encourage or require the production of affordable housing. From 1991 to 2009, the City implemented inclusionary zoning policies in the Central City West Specific Plan, but those inclusionary zoning provisions were challenged as applied, and in 2009, the court in Palmer v. City of Los Angeles, determined that the City’s policies conflicted with, and were preempted by, the state law (known as the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act). Although the Palmer decision only applied to the particular project at issue, the decision nevertheless called into question the ability of local governments throughout California to adopt or enforce inclusionary housing policies. As a result, many jurisdictions either repealed or declined to enforce their inclusionary housing provisions.

Since 2009, other tools to require or incentivize affordable housing have been adopted, including the Affordable Housing Linkage Fee, which was adopted by the City in December 2017, and the Transit Oriented Communities Guidelines, which became effective in September 2017, and were the result of voter-approved Measure JJJ.

In September 2017, the California State Legislature passed AB 1505, which once again authorized cities and counties to adopt inclusionary housing ordinances that required residential rental housing developments to include a specified percentage of affordable units, and the legislation submitted today will allow the City to understand how the new law would affect the City’s existing and future efforts to promote the production of affordable housing.

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