LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Los Angeles County will experience significant population growth of more than one million people over the next 20 years, according to a preliminary forecast by the Southern California Association of Governments released at today’s 16th annual Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit. The projections raise new concerns that L.A.’s housing and transit crisis could deepen unless the approval process for new development is streamlined and accelerated.
“L.A. County’s population will grow from its current level of 10.2 million residents to nearly 11.2 million residents by 2035,” said Hasan Ikhrata, Executive Director of the Southern California Association of Governments. “What we cherish the most – our region’s quality of life – is at stake if we cannot build more housing or build and maintain the transportation infrastructure necessary to accommodate this growth.”
Measures passed this year at the local and state level have raised billions of dollars for new housing, transportation and environmental projects in the region. Mayor Eric Garcetti has also committed the City to construct more than 100,000 new residential units by 2021 as a way to combat a housing shortage that has contributed to rising rents and an increase in homelessness.
“We’re working together to get the affordability crisis under control, because hardworking Angelenos shouldn’t have to fear being priced out of their communities,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “That’s why L.A. is making it easier to finance and build the housing we need.”
For decades, the City’s housing policy has encouraged the development of low-density, single-family residences, constraining the region’s housing supply. In April, Garcetti called for a sweeping update of the City’s 35 community plans to be completed by 2026, along with a new Citywide General Plan to be completed by 2020, to revise the allowable size and density of development projects. He also released a new incentive-based program to encourage the production of affordable housing within a half-mile of a major transit stop.
LABC President Mary Leslie applauded these efforts, while urging additional steps to fast-track housing development.
“Until we truly address the need for exponential growth in affordable and workforce housing, we will not overcome the mounting housing shortage and affordability crisis,” said Leslie. “Ultimately, this impacts the ability of our local economy to thrive and to be economically competitive in the global marketplace.”
Clyde Holland, CEO and Chairman of Holland Partner Group and a keynote speaker at today’s Summit hosted by the LABC, called for innovative public-private solutions to help reduce the artificially inflated development costs of new housing.
“More and more people continue to move into California’s urban employment centers, yet this demand far exceeds the existing supply of housing, making housing unaffordable for most Californians. Current regulations are actually worsening the crisis by discouraging the production of enough housing to meet the growing demand,” said Holland. “Elected leaders have a tremendous opportunity to set a new policy direction that will dramatically increase new housing production in our urban centers without reshaping single-family residential neighborhoods – while also bringing down the cost of housing, generating more affordable units, reducing vehicle tailpipe emissions, and creating thousands of new jobs and hundreds of millions in new revenue at the state and local level.”
To stimulate development, Holland advocated for the establishment of “by-right” high-density residential development in approximately 5 percent of a metropolitan region’s land area; the recalibration of impact fees to reflect actual costs of infrastructure service for high-density development; and the use of a 10-year property tax abatement as a gap-financing tool for new affordable housing production.
“Our housing crisis is crippling our state and it will continue to do so if we don’t move aggressively to build more housing,” said Sen. Scott Wiener, author of SB 35, which streamlines the approval process for housing in cities that are not meeting state-mandated housing goals. “Californians are demanding – and deserve – bold action from their leaders. We need to build on a historic legislative year for housing by continuing our work to streamline housing production while also identifying and appropriating funding to build badly needed affordable housing.”
The Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit was held at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center. In addition to Mayor Garcetti, Sen. Wiener and Clyde Holland, the gathering of high-profile leaders included City Councilman Mike Bonin, Metro CEO Phillip Washington, WSP USA Senior Vice President Dan Baer, California State Transportation Agency Deputy Secretary Kate White, Lyft Senior Director of Transportation Policy Director Emily Castor Warren, and Los Angeles Housing Authority President and CEO Doug Guthrie.
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