“Notorious NIMBY group” brings legal challenge to LA’s most popular affordable housing program

A group called Fix The City argues that the affordable housing incentives program is unlawful

Sep.September 04, 2019 04:00 PM
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Metro Gold Line (credit: Global Climate Action Summit via Flickr)
LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Metro Gold Line (credit: Global Climate Action Summit via Flickr)

Los Angeles’ Transit-Oriented Communities program has put thousands of affordable units in the pipeline across the city, but one group of Angelenos is no fan of the two-year-old program.

A group called “Fix The City” sued the city last week over the development incentives program, claiming it violated city and state laws and should have been approved by the City Council before it went into effect in the fall of 2017, according to the L.A. Times.

The group wants to put the program on ice, effectively putting mixed market rate and affordable development in the city on hold.

The TOC program is a package of incentives to encourage developers to add affordable units to developments near mass transit options. Adding affordable units allows the developer to build more market-rate units, exceed local height limits, and reduce setbacks, among other incentives.

Developers have embraced the program, filing for hundreds of TOC projects totaling nearly 20,000 units, around 3,900 of them affordable. Mayor Eric Garcetti has called it “an incredible weapon” in the uphill battle to address the city’s affordable housing crisis. By some counts, L.A. County is short half a million affordable homes.

The program was created through the 2016 ballot item Measure JJJ. One of Fix The City’s leaders, Laura Lake, said the city is providing density bonuses and other incentives that exceed what voters approved in 2016.

“We want [TOC] halted and we want the planning department to start all over again with due process, public hearings and do what the voters approved,” Lake told the Times.
The group has sued the city over other programs and was one of three organizations that successfully defeated the Hollywood Community Plan Update in 2013, which would have allowed for an increase in dense development in the neighborhood.

Laura Raymond, Director of the Alliance for Community Transit, was a major proponent of Measure JJJ. She criticized the suit and called Fix the City a “notorious NIMBY group,” according to the Times. [LAT]Dennis Lynch

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