The loss of affordable housing around USC has spurred a new plan by the city to safeguard inventory in neighborhoods around the Exposition Park campus.
Los Angeles planners have updated a South Los Angeles community plan to include new neighborhoods and rules for development, Urbanize Los Angeles reported.
The updated South Los Angeles Community Plan Implementation Overlay aims to tackle the impact of student housing, parking, community design and residential character, affordable housing preservation and production, and demolitions and displacement.
It was launched in 2020, when City Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson introduced a motion to strengthen zoning rules which restrict the development of student housing in Exposition Park and University Park.
It also aimed to identify the cause for the continued loss of affordable housing in the neighborhoods surrounding USC.
The South L.A. community plan, to go before the Los Angeles City Planning Commission for consideration in November, and adoption by the City Council in December, sets the stage for new zoning rules.
It includes amended residential subareas, once restricted to a handful of districts south of Exposition Park and west of USC, expanded to include a vast swath of South Los Angeles.
The subareas are expected to see new design standards intended to force new construction to better complement existing patterns of development. These include requirements for stepbacks above the first floor of buildings and setbacks to match those of adjoining properties.
The update proposes that more off-street parking would be required for residential projects that include units with three or more bedrooms – a requirement which would limit the construction of co-living apartments and student housing.
Additionally, the community plan update proposes a new restriction which would block the demolition of existing structures when building permits for a new building on the same site have not been approved.
The new plan also bolsters new state legislation, including SB 8 and SB 330, that requires any new developments to not reduce the overall amount of housing, while replacing any demolished units subject to rental protections.
The city plan would go a step further than state law that requires any replacement units to have an equal number of bedrooms, while adding bathrooms and floor area as well. Likewise, a replacement unit for an apartment where no income documentation for a prior tenant is available will default to the extremely low-income level.
To offset the loss in development potential resulting from stricter development standards, the community plan update would increase the maximum floor area allowed for properties in its transit-oriented-development areas.
— Dana Bartholomew
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