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Density Bonus Lawsuit Arrives

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It was only a matter of time, but finally all our crazy judicial dreams have come true. A lawsuit has finally popped up, as a citizen opponent of the State's SB 1818 Density Bonus law has sued the City. The Density Bonus law would incentivize developers to include affordable housing in their projects in exchange for being allowed to build with added height, more dwelling units, fewer parking spaces or a host of other options. The Daily News reports that Valley Village homeowner Sandy Hubbard filed the lawsuit in order to stop the city's implementation of the ordinance, following the advice of Planning Commission President Jane Usher. We got a hold of the lawsuit and are reading it now. Here's some of the verbage from the document:

"...in passing the 'SB 1818 Implementing Ordinance' defendant and respondent Los Angeles City Council abrogated its responsibilities to the people of Los Angeles, completely and thoroughly abused its discretion, and utterly failed to proceed in the manner required by law..."

· a. The Council improperly adopted a finding that it was not necessary to conduct an advance environmental review under CEQA (California Environmental Quality Act...) of the Ordinance's effects on the environment prior to its passage because the Council's action in adopting the ordinance fell within a category of actions that are exempt from such CEQA review (i.e. just a mere 'administrative' implementation of SB1818); · b. The Council improperly created a sub-category of one type of density bonus project it labeled as 'ministerial' (i.e. 'non-discretionary') thereby exempting such a project from ever undergoing and CEQA review...

· c.(i) The Ordinance legislates and institutionalizes what amounts to a voluntary inclusionary zoning plan and protocol' that not only authorizes, but mandates unregulated 'spot zoning' throughout the City, on all properties, however and whenever zoned, not at the City's choice, but at the whim of the 'speculator/developer' (and 'spot zoning' is not, and cannot be deemed 'good zoning practice' in any context);

· d. The SB1818 Implementing Ordinance fails to provide the people of Los Angeles with due process and a fair opportunity to comment or participate in advance of the decisions to be made by the Planning Director as to whether to grant, deny, or modify a Density Bonus Affordable Housing Project Application...

· Density bonus is targeted by lawsuit [Daily News]
· City of LA, You Got Served: The First Density Bonus Lawsuit [Curbed LA]
· City's Density Bonus Plan Taking More Heat [Curbed LA]