“Inclusionary Zoning” Rule Affecting Los Angeles

Los Angeles has always been strict when it comes to rent control laws and development restrictions. However, it has recently started resurrecting an old 1991 zoning rule, making it even harder for developers. In an effort to push the new affordable housing initiative, Los Angeles has started enforcing a state law that was reintroduced last month. This law gives cities the power to require developers to include affordable housing in new apartment projects.

This law was previously invalidated in a 2009 court ruling, but Los Angeles has started enforcing the law for the first time in Westlake once the law was reintroduced last month.

The first person to feel the effect is Jade Enterprises, who was in the process of developing Sapphire apartment complex at the corner of Sixth and Bixel. The project is for two seven-story mixed-use development projects, planning for 369 apartment units.

After working on the development project for nearly two years, the city has required the development company to commit 15% of the apartments to affordable housing or pay a hefty fee to the city’s affordable housing trust funds.

The city has started including the “inclusionary zoning” rule in its plan for Central City West, which is the portion of Westlake that borders Downtown. In 2009, the rule was deemed invalid because it violated the Costa Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which prevented cities from imposing rent control laws on newly constructed properties. However, since the language of the Costa Hawkins act was slightly altered, it has allowed cities the opportunity to reinforce the rule.

There has been argument that the City Council must officially reinstate the policy before it could be applied to new projects, considering the planning commission has approved many projects without considering the “inclusionary zoning” rule. If fully enforced, this could significantly impact development in the area and threaten the city’s jurisdiction in neighborhoods nearby.

On top of this, the city has recently established a number of other policies to encourage affordable housing development, including Measure JJJ and TOC Regulations. With the city pushing its affordable housing initiative, developers may face further restrictions in the future. If you are interested in more similar news, please subscribe to our website. If you’re interested in selling or buying apartment buildings, please call me at 818-915-9118 or send me an email.

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Anie Mayelian  (818) 915-9118 
DRE #0077825

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