The Signal

Board approves art fee for developmen­ts; Barger abstains

- By Kev Kurdoglian Signal Staff Writer

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor­s approved an ordinance Wednesday that would require developers of various types of residentia­l, commercial and industrial projects to provide public art in private developmen­ts in the amount of 1% of the building valuation or pay 1% of the building valuation toward a public art fund.

The ordinance passed with four votes and one abstention from Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents north Los Angeles County, including the Santa Clarita Valley.

“I’m really conflicted on this,” said Barger, noting she supports arts.

Listing a variety of fees that developers need to entitle a property before pulling permits to build, she said “the bottom line is that we have a lot of fees in place.”

“I, to date, have not really seen our department­s taking that seriously in terms of trying to streamline the process as it relates making it more user-friendly for developers, yet we’re going to ask them to pay more money,” she said.

Barger said she’s concerned about the impact of an additional fee on developmen­t with the possibilit­y of new state requiremen­ts to meet regional housing developmen­t targets.

“I just cannot in good conscience support adding another fee on, when I don’t feel we’re doing our part to get our house in order in this county,” she said, acknowledg­ing the benefit of an estimated $2 million per year of arts funding. “It’s not a no. It’s just, for me, I’ve got other issues I want to deal with that relates to the housing component so that you all can collect the fees and we can get people to build.”

Board chairwoman Hilda Solis said the art fee ordinance will be “an investment in placemakin­g in our communitie­s and in society.”

“Putting (artists) at the center of our recovery is fundamenta­l to our countywide long-term resiliency,” said Solis.

Supervisor Janice Hahn agreed with Barger’s call to better streamline processes for developers, but voted for the ordinance, which she said demonstrat­es the county’s commitment that all deserve access to fine arts.

The Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce called for the postponeme­nt of the ordinance in an email to its membership Tuesday.

Citing the disruption of supply chains, a global health crisis and a growing homeless population in Los Angeles County, the chamber said “the ordinance will add costs to housing and make production more difficult.”

 ?? Courtesy Photo approved ?? The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor­s an art fee ordinance on Wednesday.
Courtesy Photo approved The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor­s an art fee ordinance on Wednesday.

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