Thursday, September 8, 2011

AB 710 (Skinner) Needs Our Support More Than Ever Today - Please Reverse City of LA Oposition

Dear Alejandro:

According to your letter (attached), the City of Los Angeles primarily opposes AB 710 (Skinner) because it will "detrimentally impact inclusionary housing policies because it automatically reduces parking requirements, thus housing developers will have no incentive to include additional units in a proposed housing project since there will be no reduced parking as an incentive."

Two questions:

1.  Does the City of LA have an official 'inclusionary' housing policy?  And if so, can you reference the specific language of that policy?
2.  Do you not agree that excessive parking requirements drive up the cost of housing and make all housing (and development, for that matter) more expensive?

The City of LA's opposition is contradictory to its development reform efforts to build a more environmentally and economically sustainable city.  AB 710 will HELP us reach the goals of SB 375.  It's a vital first step to smart urban policy.  Otherwise, we will continue incentivizing developers to build elsewhere (outside our urban areas).

To address all of the City of Los Angeles concerns that AB 710 denies local land use authority, lessens the impact of current affordable housing policies, and will override L.A.’s local parking-related programs and regulations:

1.      AB 710 benefits urban infill development projects while protecting local government land use decision-making authorities.

AB 710 provides strong incentives for infill development where is needed most: near high-use public transit. Contrary to rumors, AB 710 does not alter local authority to plan, to zone or to regulate development. AB 710 only requires that cities reduce minimum parking requirements in transit districts where there is not a parking shortage. AB 710 protects cities by allowing them to implement any parking requirements necessary to address parking shortages. 

2.      AB 710 will benefit the affordable-housing market, not hurt it.

Current parking incentives for affordable housing simply do not produce the units many hoped they would.  California’s leading nonprofit and for-profit affordable housing developers support AB 710 because lets precious housing subsidies build homes for people rather than empty spaces for cars.  World-renowned UCLA Planning Professor Donald Shoup, FAICP has concluded that AB 710 will make State Density Bonus law more effective at inducing market-rate developers to produce affordable units.

3.      AB 710 is designed to work with local parking programs, such as Los Angeles’ “Modified Parking Requirement (MPR).”

The overwhelming majority of properties in Los Angeles will not be subject to AB 710.  For those that are, AB 710 will serve as a complement to the City of L.A.’s proposed MPR ordinance.  The MPR ordinance’s stated purpose is to provides tools that replace outmoded minimum parking requirements in our urban areas.  AB 710 only addresses parking minimums – it doesn’t in any way limit communities’ use of the MPR ordinance to manage parking in new, more sustainable, more affordable and more effective ways.

In summation, I have added the words of housing developer John Given (see below).

I sincerely hope that you will reconsider your position and contact our State Legislators and share with them your new and better understanding of AB 710's benefits.


Very truly yours,

Will Wright
Director of Government & Public Affairs
AIA / los angeles - 
A Chapter of
The American Institute of Architects

3780 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90010
213.639.0764  phone
213.639.0767  fax

SUPPORT AB 710 (Skinner)

As a Principal of the urban investment and development company CIM Group, I have been a founding member of the California Infill Builders Association.  Very simply AB710 is very practical.  Unless in special circumstances the municipality makes alternate finding, minimum parking is capped in transit oriented districts by AB 710.  A builder is not prevented from building more.  Urban parking is very costly.  A builder will exceed the AB710 requirement if driven by market/competitive conditions.  Provision of sufficient parking is the developer’s risk.  In today’s world of dense, pedestrian oriented and transit served communities, the market will often support less parking.   In such a case, why should a developer be required to build more? Or, to follow the market to a less auto dependent world, why should the infill developer have to apply to be the exception and obtain discretionary approvals?    AB710 levels the field so that builders in transit oriented districts are not hamstrung by requirements which are not supported by the market and do not support the public investment in the infrastructure?   

Through small steps like AB 710 and more to come, the barriers to urban infill development need to be removed.  If not now, when?


323.860.4927 direct
323.372.3560 fax
6922 Hollywood Blvd
Ninth Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90028

City of Los Angeles - oppose.pdf Download this file

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