- The Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to oppose a state bill that would allow the construction of high-density apartment and condominium buildings near transit stations regardless of local zoning laws, according to Curbed Los Angeles.
- California state bill SB 827 would permit developers to build four- to five-story multifamily buildings within .5 miles of a rail station or high-frequency bus line stop and seven to eight stories within .25 miles. The bill also does away with costly parking space requirements. Many state lawmakers maintain that the bill will help spur apartment and condo construction and could help drive down the price of housing.
- City council members have argued that such a law would take away local control of how land is used, could lead to displacement and gentrification as market-rate developments replace rent-controlled units, and would remove protections from historic properties. In addition, some critics of the bill said it would interfere with the city's planning process, and would impact a recently passed measure that requires developers to include affordable housing in their new projects.
Los Angeles is just one of many cities struggling with the availability of housing and ever-increasing rents — and the tax reform bill passed by Congress last year could have made those efforts more difficult, according to The New York Times. Corporations have used low-income housing tax credits as a way to finance multifamily developments and chip away at their tax bills at the same time. When Congress slashed the corporate tax rate to 21%, the potential for significant savings was decreased as well, leaving the value of credits to fall. The Times reported that this has left some affordable housing programs underfunded.
The loss of investor participation and an inflation-factor change also included in the tax reform bill, according to accounting firm Novogradac & Company, could reduce the number of new affordable living units by more than 230,000 during the next 10 years.
However, the $1.3 trillion spending bill that President Donald Trump signed earlier this month increased the number of credits corporations can use, but, at the very best, is expected to restore only 30% of the affordable housing units that the tax reform bill has likely done away with.
The prospect of high-density developments is also likely to hit a nerve with some Los Angelenos as the discussion around SB 827 continues. Last year activists failed to win a moratorium on the high-density developments popping up around the city's downtown, but that fight could gain new momentum if those types of projects are proposed for traditionally single-family or very low-density neighborhoods.