Advocacy Updates from AIA|LA - January 12, 2018

These ongoing updates are here to inform the architecture & design community and AIA members about policies and issues that impact the built and natural environment of the Los Angeles region.  Posted on an as-needed basis, the AIA|LA Advocacy Updates will communicate the status of regional and citywide measures, share actions taken by the chapter staff and AIA|LA Board of Directors, as well as, serve as a forum to advance membership engagement.

ISSUE:  Affordable Housing Linkage Fee (AHLF) - (neutral)

Current Status:  

Signed into law by Mayor Garcetti on December 13, 2017.  Phased implementation of the fee begins on April 12, 2018 and reaches 100% of the fee on April 12, 2019.

Background:  

The Affordable Housing Linkage Fee (AHLF) charges a fee on new development throughout the City of Los Angeles.  The fee which will range from $8.00 to $15.00 per square foot for residential development and $3.00 to $5.00 per square foot for commercial development (depending on its location in the city) and will be paid into the City’s Housing Impact Trust Fund, which will help fund the the construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing, as well as, enable the Housing and Community Investment Department (HCIDLA) to extend affordability covenants on existing housing.

Over the course of the last two years, the AIA|LA Political Outreach Committee has been deeply involved with weighing the pros and cons of this linkage fee.  We hosted two separate roundtable discussions on the topic and engaged directly with the Department of City Planning as they were formulating the provisions of the ordinance.  Many architects feel that the AHLF is a much-needed and helpful funding tool.  After all, we have dozens of award-winning architects that work in lock step with affordable housing providers and our friends with the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing.  However, other architects feel that it will only make housing more expensive, in general, and will further exacerbate our housing crisis.  The Los Angeles Chamber, The Building Industry of America and other trade groups cautioned City Council repeatedly that a linkage fee might slow housing production in LA, or simply encourage developers to build elsewhere.

ISSUE:   Process and Procedures Amendment Ordinance - (support)

Current Status:  

Waiting for a Public Hearing at LA City Council’s Planning and Land-Use Management Committee.  February 2018?

Background:  

The proposed Process and Procedures Amendment Ordinance will cut in half the number of project review processes for gaining entitlements and permits for development projects across the city.  It will streamline and clarify the process and consolidate the decision-making pathway for how the City reviews development project proposals, etc.  The proposed changes will enable a more consistent standard of review and help safe the City and the project applicant time and money.

In 2017, AIA participated in the review of this ordinance proposal and submitted comments to the Department of City Planning (DCP) and a letter of support to City Planning Commission.  We encourage DCP to measure time and cost-savings that this new ordinance will deliver to the department so that we can expand the narrative about the benefits of streamlining the development process.  We also shares strong support for an Alternative Compliance process, which will enable an applicant to request relief from a development standard if an alternative standard is consistent with the ‘intent’ of he original standard.

You can review a chart of the proposed and existing processes HERE.

ISSUE:  Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance - (support)

Current Status:  

Waiting for a Public Hearing at LA City Council’s Planning and Land-Use Management Committee.  February 2018?

Background:  

The proposed Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance will amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code to facilitate the design and construction of more Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) units.  It will affect all parcels zoned for multi-family residential in High Quality Transit Areas, as well as, some parcels zoned for Public Facilities.  It also establishes regulations that define PSH and project eligibility criteria and establishes unique development standards.  The PSH will also facilitate administrative review and modify certain  regulations related to height and density, setbacks, transitional height and parking requirements.

Essentially, it will make it easier and less costly to building permanent supportive housing for the currently homeless population.

AIA|LA participated early in the process as the Department of City Planning was shaping the ordinance and we shared a letter of support with the City Planning Commission, which approved the draft ordinance in December 2017.  Some items that we underscored support for included:
* The reduced parking requirements
* The floor area exemption for areas used for supportive services
* The Concessions and Incentives 
* The design standards of facade transparency, landscaping, street orientation and building articulation — these standards will promote scale, visual interest, pedestrian orientation, and are clear and easy to follow but with enough room for design freedom.

We also provided some technical clarifications and encouraged the Department of City Planning to adopt more progressive provisions that would serve as even greater incentives to build PSH more readily throughout our city.


For more information please contact AIA|LA Director of Government & Public Affairs: Will Wright.


Last updated: 30-Jan-2018 10:19 AM
Share Share