Sheppard Mullin is pleased to share the first issue of our quarterly LA Land Use Digest, featuring: updates on the latest legislation from the region (The Council File); exemplary, forthcoming projects (In the Pipeline); and commentary on the latest issues of importance for the land use community (Planning Matters).
Alfred Fraijo, Jr. is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Natural Resources Practice Group in the firm's San Francisco and Los Angeles office.
Yesterday the Los Angeles City Council adopted a motion entitled Building a Safer Los Angeles (“Motion”) that would significantly expand the fire rating requirements for new buildings and restrict the use of light wood-frame construction throughout large parts of the City of Los Angeles. The Motion is broadly written and, contrary to some reports in the press, it does not call for exemptions based on building size or square footage.
Continue Reading City of Los Angeles Moves to Increase Building Standards for New Construction
In March, the Southern California Association of Governments (“SCAG”) will adopt final Regional Housing Needs Assessment (“RHNA”) allocations for cities and counties within the SCAG region. This 6th RHNA cycle represents the first update to these targets since the passage of key housing legislation, including Senate Bill (“SB”) 35, which grants ministerial approval and streamlining of qualifying housing projects if the jurisdiction has failed to meet its RHNA targets. Housing developers planning for potential investment can look to these production targets to assess regional and city-based needs. Cities and counties also will update their Housing Element and other planning documents to address the need.
Continue Reading Southern California Counties To Adopt Major Housing Production Targets
The California Legislature made modest gains on housing production and stimulus bills in 2020, and there are several notable bills that took effect on January 1, 2021. The new laws tackle COVID-19, project permit streamlining and planning, residential density bonus, and the California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”). Below is a summary of these new laws.
Continue Reading California Housing Legislation Effective in 2021
Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a number of housing bills into law that were passed by the Legislature this session ending on August 31, 2020. Due to the severe scheduling constraints placed on lawmakers by the COVID-19 pandemic among other challenges, the Legislature was only able to pass a small number of bills related to housing and tenant protections, despite beginning the year with over 100 bills under consideration. Most notably, some of the most ambitious pieces of legislation including five of the bills in the State Senate’s Housing Production Package all failed to pass before the midnight deadline on August 31, 2020. We will continue to monitor the Legislature’s efforts to spur additional housing production in California as we head into the Fall recess and the new legislative session starting on December 7, 2020. Below is a summary of the bills signed by the Governor on August 28, 2020. These bills take effect on January 1, 2020, unless otherwise noted. …
Continue Reading California Housing Legislation 2020
The California legislature is gearing up to adopt major real estate development incentives intended to boost the economy in the wake of COVID-19. The recent outbreaks and general constraints on travel have compressed the state’s legislative Fall calendar. Thus, leaders from both chambers have directed their members to prioritize policy proposals. Finding ways to increase housing production, especially affordable housing, is emerging as the focus.
Continue Reading COVID-19 Alert: California’s Housing Bills to Boost Production
MAY 8, 2020 – UPDATE: The final version of the New Ordinance has been signed by Mayor Gracetti and takes effect May 12, 2020.
California Senate Bill (“SB”) 899, introduced in March by Senator Scott Wiener and currently in the Senate Housing, Environmental Quality, and Governance and Finance Committees, would exempt eligible affordable housing projects and mixed use projects on property owned by religious institutions and nonprofit medical facilities from review under the California Environmental Quality Act (Pub. Res. Code § 21000 et seq.) (“CEQA”) and provide for other permit streamlining. Eligible entities include nonprofit hospitals, diagnostic or treatment centers, rehabilitation facilities, and nursing homes, as well as religious institutions. As Senator Wiener noted, “religious and charitable institutions often have land to spare, and they should be able to use that land to build affordable housing and thus further their mission. SB 899 ensures that affordable housing can be built and removes local zoning and approval obstacles in order to do so.” These eligible organizations may partner with a qualified nonprofit developer or local public entity to construct the affordable housing developments.
Continue Reading Proposed Legislation Aims to Boost Affordable Housing on Land Owned by Religious Institutions and Nonprofit Hospitals
On a unanimous vote yesterday, May 6, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council passed an ordinance (“New Ordinance“) amending rules in the Los Angeles Municipal Code that temporarily prohibit the eviction of residential and commercial tenants in the City of Los Angeles for failure to pay rent due to COVID-19. Notably, the New Ordinance would extend the prohibition period on evictions. The original period was previously limited to the local emergency period as declared by Mayor Eric Garcetti. For residential tenants, the new prohibition period would extend to include the “Local Emergency Period” plus 12 months after the end of such period. And for commercial tenants the new period prohibiting evictions would extend through the Local Emergency Period plus 3 months after the end of the emergency period. Please note that the final version of the New Ordinance was not available with the Council Clerk file as of the time of publication given that the ordinance was the subject of several amendments as it was considered by Council during yesterday’s virtual hearing that went into the evening. Also, these amendments will not take effect until Mayor Garcetti signs the New Ordinance, which is expected to be completed in short order.
Continue Reading Los Angeles City Council Passes Ordinance to Expand Temporary Tenant Protections
On Friday, March 27, 2020, the Los Angeles City Council adopted an emergency ordinance (Ordinance No. 186585) (“Ordinance”) with sweeping protections for commercial and residential tenants. Yesterday afternoon, March 31, 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles signed the Ordinance, which became effective immediately.
Continue Reading Emergency Tenant Protections Take Effect in the City of Los Angeles
In 2019, the California legislature passed, and Governor Newsom approved, new legislation impacting the development industry. Effective January 1, 2020, the laws summarized in the link below will impact the development process in many ways – from streamlining local permitting procedures for eligible projects to tenant protections and new incentives for financing affordable housing. The new laws also obligate local government to undertake updates in their housing plans and plan for growth, among other requirements. In 2020, we anticipate the state legislature to continue to tackle housing access and affordability and we are closely tracking progress on key bills, including Senate Bill 50 (Weiner).
Continue Reading California Housing Legislation – 2019 Update
On July 30, 2019, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously approved an update to the “Transportation” section of the City’s California Environmental Quality Act (“CEQA”) Threshold Guide. City Council’s action has effectively updated the framework for evaluating traffic impact analysis to a vehicle miles traveled (“VMT”) metric in accordance with updated CEQA Guidelines section 15064.3 and Senate Bill 743. Per the City’s Planning Department, by shifting to a VMT-centric analysis, the City will be better positioned to assess potential impacts on the City’s transportation system, as well as meet its climate change goals. Interestingly, while the City Council action is complete, there is still a bit of confusion at the City as to how the VMT metric will, in practice, be phased in for projects already in the planning process. …
Continue Reading Following Suit – City of Los Angeles Updates CEQA Guide to Include VMT Methodology Ahead of State-Imposed Deadline