LA Mayor Urged to Pledge 20,000 Affordable Units by 2019

According to the Coalition to Preserve L.A., new luxury communities are driving up the price of land.

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Los Angeles—The Democratic leadership in California State government in Sacramento, as well as the administration of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, have been urged by the Coalition to Preserve L.A. to pledge the construction of 20,000 affordable rental units in Los Angeles over the next three years.

The organization defines affordable apartment units as those one-bedroom units that can be rented for $600 or less monthly, or those two bedrooms that go for $800 or less.

“Greed has created a fever of land speculation in L.A. as purely profit-motivated developers decide what should be built on already-occupied land—land that often contains older, livable and affordable housing. Many thousands of livable, affordable rentals have been wiped out—with the approval of Los Angeles City Hall,” the organization alleged.

The Coalition to Preserve L.A. charged that the city council and Garcetti administration encourage land speculation by continually agreeing to luxury housing projects through ”spot zoning” that allows bigger and taller structures to be constructed.

The spot zoning delivers an enormous financial return on land speculation, land flipping, and project development, the organization asserted. It added that a report by former city controller Laura Chick found the preponderance of City Hall’s residential project approvals yielded luxury housing for individuals earning $135,000 annually. “Families in L.A. typically earn less than $60,000 [a year],” the organization stated.

Occupied land in L.A. has become a focus of bidding wars, with developers recognizing “land can be turned to gold by spot zoning,” the Coalition to Preserve L.A. contended. It added: “Los Angeles cannot afford this backward-looking, old-time game that has created a devastating net loss of existing affordable housing. The luxury buildings are now driving up the price of land and housing all around them, forcing out large numbers of working families, artists and other lower-income and middle-income people.”

The coalition is advocating a moratorium on projects that don’t adhere to existing zoning, as well as a comprehensive updating of the city’s long-neglected General Plan.

“The General Plan, which has not been modernized since the 1980s, must end L.A.’s devastating land-bidding wars, driven by old-school dealings between politicians and luxury developers,” the coalition reported. “A forward-thinking general plan must bring intelligence and rationality to zoning and to decisions about how and where residential gentrification is a plus for L.A.’s livability. It must no longer be driven by the spot-zoning that today lines developers’ purses.”

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