LA City Planning Releases New Incentives Under its Draft Adaptive Reuse

Public Housing project in prefabricated concrete slabs in the Berlin district of Wedding. Berlin, Germany

Photo: Getty Images

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - The Los Angeles City's Planning Department announced Tuesday new proposed incentives in the draft citywide adaptive reuse ordinance, a proposal to repurpose vacant commercial spaces or historical buildings for housing.

"Los Angeles needs more housing that Angelenos can afford," Mayor Karen Bass said in a statement. "Adaptive reuse development can help bring much needed housing online throughout the city."

The Planning Department intends for the citywide adaptive reuse program, one of six strategies, to address the city's housing crisis and to meet the city's Housing Element Rezoning obligations.

According to the Planning Department, the proposal would introduce incentives to convert commercial buildings to housing, such as streamlining the review process for older buildings, allowing for "flexible" unit sizes, and allowing buildings to retain their "building shell" while the interior may be converted to housing.

Adaptive reuse has been in effect in downtown Los Angeles since 1999. The Planning Department cites adaptive reuse as one of the reasons for downtown's "resurgence in recent decades."

In downtown, adaptive reuse created more than 12,000 housing units since the program began 15 years ago. In a statement, the Planning Department hopes to build on its success and expand the program allowing for adaptive reuse conversions available citywide with "fewer regulatory burdens and opening new doors for housing Angelenos."

Vince Bertoni, director of planning, said the adaptive reuse ordinance seeks "resourceful solutions" to create more housing.

"Reuse of buildings is a sustainable practice that conserves as many of the resources used to build them, reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with ground-up construction," Bertoni said in a statement.

By mixing commercial and residential uses, conversions can also play a part in improving air quality and reducing vehicle traffic, Bertoni added.

The Planning Department will host three upcoming webinars June 6-8 to cover the draft ordinance, including program background, details on the proposed revisions to the adaptive reuse ordinances and gather feedback from the community.

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