LA City Council Seeks Plan To Streamline 100% Affordable Housing Projects

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LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City Council today approved a motion aimed at expanding the city's short supply of affordable housing by coming up with a plan to streamline 100% deed-restricted affordable housing projects in the city.

The motion, which passed unanimously, was introduced by Councilwoman Nithya Raman on June 15. Deed-restricted affordable housing requirements are meant to preserve the long-term affordability of a development by attaching the restrictions to the property's deed.

“Everyone knows we're in an affordable housing crisis ... but we also know we're not building affordable housing units at the rate or scale that matches the need that we have in Los Angeles,'' Raman said before the vote.

She added that the process for entitling and permitting the developments is “lengthy, unpredictable and places affordable housing developers at a disadvantage in comparison with market rate housing developers.''

The motion instructed the Department of City Planning to report back to the council within three months with a strategic plan. The department will work with the Housing and Community Investment and Building and Safety departments on the report, which will include consideration of the following strategies:

-- increasing resources to allow for shorter staff review times;

-- shorter appeal times;

-- further accelerating prioritization for projects that have 100% affordable units;

-- modifying sit plan review thresholds; and

-- using an administrative review process for 100% deed-restricted affordable housing projects.

“If we want to encourage the creation of more affordable housing, expediting the approval processes that are under the city's direct control will make a real difference,'' Raman said. “We must increase the number of 100% affordable housing units that are being built in our city and making them easier and cheaper to build through a fully streamlined approval process is a critical and really straightforward step in doing so.''

Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas, who chairs the council's Homelessness and Poverty Committee, amended the motion Tuesday to also get a report back on establishing a full-time team of dedicated case managers to coordinate with the departments of Building & Safety and Planning on the entitlement and permitting of affordable housing projects.

The amendment also called for the departments to report back to the council each quarter on the backlog and processing times for each process related to the development.

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