Long Beach Planning Commission to consider inclusionary housing policy

The housing policy could be headed to the Long Beach City Council for consideration as early as April of this year.

According+to+the+staff+report+found+online%2C+under+Rental+Housing+Option+B%2C+if+a+rental+project+contains+100+units%2C+12+of+those+would+be+required+to+be+affordable+with+6+being+low-income+and+the+other+6+moderate-income.+

Courtesy City of Long Beach

According to the staff report found online, under Rental Housing Option B, if a rental project contains 100 units, 12 of those would be required to be affordable with 6 being low-income and the other 6 moderate-income.

In a motion to address housing needs, the Planning Commission will be considering the Inclusionary Housing Policy during its meeting on Thursday, Feb. 20.

The policy seeks to enhance the production of affordable and mixed-income housing.

The policy recommended by the Planning Commission may be heading to the Long Beach City Council as early as April 2020, according to the policy memorandum.

The housing policy has been over two years in the making, with city council looking into the matter since May 2017, when per the policy’s background, the council adopted “29 policy recommendations supporting the creation of affordable and workforce housing.”

Development Services then hired LeSar Development Consultants, their subconsultants, Keyser Marston Associates and the Robert Group to conduct a study, which evaluated whether there would be any impacts by the “imposition of Inclusionary Housing requirements” and determined if the policy would be viable in the Long Beach market.

The proposed policy contains two areas, Area 1 focusing on Downtown and Midtown and submarket Area 2, which refers to any area outside of Area 1.

Area 1, which has had more development, would have a mandatory Inclusionary Housing requirement prompted by the “development of new rental- or ownership-housing units in projects with a threshold project size of 10 units or greater.”

If approved, the requirements for Area 1 would start being phased in on Thursday, Oct. 1 of this year.

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The Inclusionary Housing Program would be phased in from 2020 until 2024

Courtesy City of Long Beach

Area 2, which has had very little residential developments however, has an incentive based Inclusionary Housing requirement triggered by the the “development of new rental or ownership housing units in projects with a threshold project size of 10 units or greater.”

This would encourage residential development in Area 2 that will make sure new housing includes affordable units.

Additional requirements include a focus on:

1. Residentially or mix-used zone properties that support higher density residential development.

2. Commercially zoned properties not currently zoned for residential development.

These requirements would be phased in after an update to the 2020 City’s Density Bonus Ordinance.

For both Area 1 and 2, new residential projects that apply would need to include a percentage of housing units to be income-restricted affordable housing that target a specific income category.

Alternative means of compliance for developers who decide not to comply with Inclusionary Housing requirement have the option to go with:
• an in-lieu fee
• land dedication
• off-site construction or acquisition
• rehabilitation of existing units.

According to the proposed policy memorandum, an initial review of the the policy will be ran at the end of the third year while the entire program will be up for re-evaluation every five years.

Community concern was expressed over the impact of the housing policy on city development, something Patrick Ure, bureau manager at the Housing and Neighborhood Services Bureau said was taken into account.

“It’s a valid concern,” Ure said. “It’s a concern we took into consideration as we prepared our recommended policy framework that we are presenting tomorrow.”

“Inclusionary housing is just one tool in the toolbox to help create affordable housing,” Ure continued. “It is not going to be the solution to the housing crisis, but it will help.”