Garcetti says bill to address housing crisis doesn’t protect most vulnerable

Mayor warns measure could lead to more market-rate apartments, fewer affordable units

Mar.March 01, 2018 05:00 PM
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Pixabay)

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti came out against a state bill that would encourage more housing construction within a half-mile of major transit lines, saying the legislation doesn’t do enough to protect residents of existing affordable housing.

The bill, SB 827, is meant to address the state’s growing housing crisis by loosening restrictions on development. But Garcetti said existing homes could be demolished for new market-rate developments, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Mayoral spokesman Alex Comisar called the bill “too blunt for single-family home areas.” Comisar’s comments suggest the mayor also has concerns about preserving the character of single-family neighborhoods near transit.

The transit-oriented bill has been controversial from the start.

It would essentially override local zoning laws to allow for more dense development by raising the height limits to between four to eight stories and eliminating parking requirements for projects within a half mile of major transit stops.

State Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco) introduced the bill in January, conceiving it both as a means to combat the housing crisis and to fight climate change.

In Los Angeles, affordable housing has been front and center in the debate over whether the city has become out of reach for many of its residents. Last year, it was called the least affordable big city in the country, according to a UCLA study.

Wiener announced a set of amendments to the bill on Tuesday. The bill will now defer to local demolition controls and respect laws preventing the removal of rent-controlled housing. It would also require a developer to pay to relocate and house any renters displaced by development so long as a local government certified a “Right to Remain Guarantee” for all tenants.

The amendments have not yet been formally added to SB 827.

Late last month, Garcetti said he would support the bill if a provision was put in place to insure rent-stabilized housing isn’t demolished to make room for new housing. The mayor allowed that he would continue to work with Weiner on the bill.

In L.A., Garcetti has streamlined the development approvals process for affordable housing construction and wants to essentially rewrite the city’s zoning code to allow for more housing. [LAT] — Dennis Lynch 

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