LA Chamber of Commerce explores doubling density of resi buildings

Proposal would see developers incorporate more affordable housing, pay new “affordability fee”

Feb.February 19, 2020 05:03 PM
LA Chamber of Commerce, under CEO Maria Salinas, explores ballot measure doubling density of resi buildings. (Photo credit: iStock Photo, LA Chamber of Commerce.)

The state couldn’t get it done. Now, it’s the turn of players in the city to take a shot.

In the wake of the death of high-density state housing bill SB 50, the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce is strategizing a plan to double the permitted density of residential buildings on commercial streets and in areas zoned for apartments.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the influential business group’s plan — which could be up for a vote as a ballot measure in November —  would see developers incorporating affordable housing units into projects in exchange for the added density. They also would be required to pay an “affordability fee,” with proceeds going toward helping rent-burdened city residents.

The proposed ballot measure could increase a building’s floor area ratio, or FAR, by up to 60 percent on certain buildings. It would also allow for buildings to rise as high as 75 feet, or six stories, in areas where they are currently permitted to only rise to a height of 45 feet.

Unlike SB 50, however, the proposal would not impact single-family neighborhoods, which were among the fiercest critics of the state bill. L.A. lawmakers were also against the bill, arguing that it would fail to provide adequate affordable housing and give Sacramento excessive control over key local development decisions.

Maria Salinas, CEO of the chamber, told the Times that its work on the ballot proposal was still in the early stages.

“We are still vetting this,” she said. “There are still questions. By no means is it close to a recommendation.”

“I like the goal of trying to move something like this forward,” Beverly Kenworthy of the California Apartment Association and a board member of the chamber, told the newspaper. [LAT] — TRD Staff

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