Los Angeles Times

Report warns about housing bill

SB 50 could have far-reaching effects in Los Angeles, city planning agency says.

- By Liam Dillon

SACRAMENTO — More than 40% of the developabl­e land in Los Angeles could be eligible for home-building at a greater density under high-profile legislatio­n working its way through the Capitol, according to a new city analysis.

Senate Bill 50, which faces a key legislativ­e committee hearing Wednesday morning, would require cities to allow four- to-five story apartment complexes near transit lines, and smaller apartments and town homes in wealthier neighborho­ods close to job centers.

The bill would have “potentiall­y far-reaching effects” in Los Angeles, where its goals of increasing housing affordabil­ity, environmen­tal sustainabi­lity and equity should be balanced against the loss of local planning and zoning standards, a report released Tuesday by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning said.

“SB 50 takes a generalize­d view that may compromise the ability to maintain unique community scale and form, as well as neighborho­od features such as yards, trees, adequate offstreet parking, sunlight and privacy,” the report said.

In Los Angeles, the bill would probably have the biggest effect in neighborho­ods with only single-family homes and other lower-density areas within half a mile of Los Angeles Metro stations, the report said, including about 6% of the single-family-zoned parcels citywide. Significan­t increases in allowable height and density under the bill could create greater incentive to build in those locations.

The bill’s author, state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), has said his legislatio­n wouldn’t affect L.A.’s recently enacted program to increase density and subsidized units around transit lines, rules that apply only to lots now zoned for five or more homes.

The bill could also push developmen­t into wealthier communitie­s far from rail stops under a provision that would require some communitie­s to allow small apartment constructi­on in areas close to high-paying jobs.

The city neighborho­ods most affected by the bill would be middle- and highincome communitie­s of BelAir, Northridge, Sherman Oaks and Westwood, where nearly two-thirds or more of the developabl­e area could be eligible for increased density, the report said.

Last week, the Los Angeles City Council voted 12 to 0 to oppose SB 50, with council members saying they feared the legislatio­n would exacerbate gentrifica­tion and the displaceme­nt of longtime residents, which have already accelerate­d along with higher housing costs.

Developers can’t take advantage of the bill’s increased density provisions on properties where tenants have lived for at least seven years, and the legislatio­n requires projects larger than 10 units to set aside a portion for low-income residents. It also allows communitie­s at risk of gentrifica­tion to delay implementa­tion of the bill for five years so that they can create alternativ­e plans to increase density.

Wiener has said he plans to propose changes to the legislatio­n Wednesday that could increase the number of communitie­s eligible for the delay.

Still, the planning department report raises concerns about the bill’s potential effects on South Los Angeles.

The city recently revamped blueprints for growth in neighborho­ods there that SB 50 could override, the report said.

“While SB 50 allows for future local planning efforts to occur before the incentives would be required in [lowerincom­e] areas, these recent planning efforts in all of South Los Angeles would not appear to be recognized,” the report said.

 ?? Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times ?? SENATE BILL 50 would require cities to allow fourto-five story apartment complexes near transit lines such as the Expo Line station at Bundy Drive, above.
Luis Sinco Los Angeles Times SENATE BILL 50 would require cities to allow fourto-five story apartment complexes near transit lines such as the Expo Line station at Bundy Drive, above.

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