Mandate for Low Income Units: Helpful or Hurtful?

highrise.jpg LA is a constantly growing city–so much so that city official estimate that we will need 110,000 new housing units over the next eight years just to keep pace with demand. And not all of those can be in expensive Westside highrises. The LA Times reported recently on the City Council’s proposal to mandate that new developments include units for low-income residents:

The plan, which is nonbinding, calls for the City Council to introduce a proposed law by the end of the year to mandate that developers build units for poor people…New condominium and apartment projects in neighborhoods such as Brentwood, Studio City and other affluent parts of Los Angeles could be required to include units for very poor people…

But critics of the plan worry that putting restraints on developers in a crunch market could halt development altogether:

Carol Schatz, chief executive of the Central City Assn. and an opponent of past inclusionary zoning proposals, said any rules that required developers to provide too many apartments to very poor people could “create another nail in the coffin of the housing market at the worst possible time.”

The Daily News also reported on the mandate where critics pointed out that the language the council used sounds like they are opening to allowing bigger developments that would change the face of the neighborhoods they are in—possibly overtaxing existing resources like parks and schools:

“The message I take away is that the goal of the city of Los Angeles is growth, almost to the point of uncontrolled growth,” said Rita Villa of the Studio City Neighborhood Council. “They’re not planning the infrastructure to support it.”

So what do you think? Is it a good idea to saddle developers with this type of restriction in a bad market? Or is it necessary to keep LA a livable city for the average and below-average income earner?

  • Bargain House Hunter

    I always wonder “need 110,000 new housing units”… for what.

    If you build more houses that will increase supply, and reduce demand. So they will fill up,(*) and there will appear to be a need. 110,000 for all the people that will come here? But they won’t come if they’ve nowhere to live.

    (*) Detroit and Palmdale not included.

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  • Mattoptorma

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    Bye.