Meant to send a clear message, the Los Angeles City Council has unanimously rejected a proposed state bill intended to ease the affordable housing crisis, but whose critics say will push lower-income families out of their homes.
Senate Bill 827, which is still being drafted, is meant to address California’s housing crisis and promote more a more sustainable, transit-oriented future, one in which Californians rely less on cars, according to proponents. But in its current form, the bill would significantly loosen local zoning restrictions within a quarter-mile of bus and rail stops, including in single-family neighborhoods. Large swaths of L.A. would be essentially upzoned — the Los Angeles Times estimates it would affect 190,000 parcels. That means existing residences could be torn down and replaced with larger, more expensive developments.
Councilman David Ryu, who represents a district from Koreatown to the Hollywood Hills and to southern San Fernando Valley, wrote the resolution opposing SB 827. It carries no legislative authority because cities cannot supersede state law. But it was clear, the Council supported Ryu’s resolution.
It called the bill too broad and criticized it for stripping the city’s ability for “planning self-determination,” according to the City News Service.
Ryu added that the “well-intended bill” would accelerate displacement of renters and spur “a housing boom for a privileged few and eviction notices for everyone else,” according to the Times.
Mayor Eric Garcetti came out against the bill earlier, arguing it didn’t do enough to protect people already living in affordable apartments and threatened the character of some of the city’s neighborhoods. The bill, however, does have a number of provisions to ensure existing residents are paid if they are displaced and have an opportunity to rent in a new building at their old rate.
Los Angeles is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. The city and county have introduced a number of programs to promote or require affordable housing units as part of new developments.