Los Angeles appears likely to bust a state deadline to rezone the city by fall to fit 250,000 new homes. Now it and other struggling Southland cities may get a break on the October cutoff.
In legislation expected to be approved this week, L.A. would likely have two more years to set aside land for the quarter-million homes required by its long-term plan for growth, the Los Angeles Times reported. It could also give breathing room for up to 160 nearby cities.
Without the extension, Los Angeles could lose access to billions in state affordable housing grants, hampering construction of new homes for low-income and homeless residents.
The legislation, tucked into the annual state budget, acknowledges L.A. didn’t have time to complete its so-called housing element. The process, required by law, requires cities to plan for new growth every eight years.
Cities in L.A. County and five neighboring counties had faced a February 2022 deadline to get approval from the state for their housing blueprints.
Los Angeles submitted a plan to reverse historic development trends and rezone wealthier, lower-density neighborhoods in areas such as the Westside and the San Fernando Valley for more low-income housing.
State housing regulators rejected the plan, saying it didn’t provide enough new parks or economic development in poorer neighborhoods.
That triggered the October deadline required by law to rezone the entire city to accommodate more than 250,000 new homes – a task that even state officials admitted was impossible, considering lengthy community outreach and environmental reviews required for rezoning.
The new legislation, if approved, gives cities that get OK’ed for their housing plans by this October until fall 2024 to complete the required rezoning.
L.A. should not have a problem meeting the new deadline for state approval, according to the Times. Regulators have given a preliminary nod to the city’s revised effort, and the City Council voted on the changes this month.
Other Southland jurisdictions, including Long Beach and L.A. County, could also benefit from extended rezoning deadlines, provided they get their housing plans approved by October.
Nearly 180 cities — or 90 percent of cities in six Southern California counties — haven’t had their housing elements approved, according to the state housing department. If they get them passed by October, they’d also have until October 2024 to complete the required rezoning.
The bill would not affect those in the Bay Area, which are currently finalizing their housing plans to submit to the state.
[Los Angeles Times] – Dana Bartholomew
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