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Developers Mobilizing Against Affordable Housing Ordinance

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The city is once again mulling an affordable housing ordinance, reports the Los Angeles Business Journal, noting that a draft ordinance could be crafted this fall and head to a City Council vote next spring. Given previous failures (there's been at least two attempts in the last 10 years to create a comprehensive plan) the city has done a name switcharoo (“inclusionary zoning” is now “mixed-income housing,”) and is focusing on financial incentives such as the controversial density bonuses, expedited permitting, discounts on land purchases in redevelopment areas, and access to low-interest loans or bond monies, according to the Journal. But pretty much every developer and business leader interviewed by the publication seems wary of the city's plans. Carol Schatz, chief executive of the Central City Association, who has been speaking out for a while now about the ordinance, says it's the "wrong time" to put "burdens" on developers, while Renata Simril, vice president of development for Forest City Enterprises Inc (Met Lofts) believes that there's "too big a gap between the cost and return on affordable housing and the cost and return on market-rate housing."

More via the Journal: "The key issue for most developers is to avoid citywide requirements for affordable housing. "An incentive-based system is much more preferable to one that relies on punitive measures,' said Bill Witte, president of Related Cos. of Southern California, which has developed several mixed-income projects in the region and is the lead developer on the Grand Avenue project downtown." The paper also rehashes the lawsuit brought by developer Geoff Palmer, who sued the city (an ultimately won) over having to put affordable housing in one of his faux-Tuscan buildings. Meanwhile, the ordinance is part of Mayor Villaraigosa's $5 billion, five-year plan for add more affordable housing to the city, an incentive announced last September (photo of press event).
· Developers Brace For Housing Fight [LABJ]
· Complicated Housing Plan Also Targets You, Middle-Class Renter [Curbed LA]