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Kira T. Conlon is a partner in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental Practice Group in the firm's Los Angeles office.

On December 4, 2019, the Los Angeles City Council adopted Ordinance No. 186477 which prohibits a “restricted developer” or “principal” from making contributions to the Mayor, City Attorney, City Councilmember, a candidate from one of these offices, or a City committee controlled by one of these individuals (“Restricted City Officials”), effective June 8, 2022. The contribution ban applies from the date the application of a significant planning entitlement is submitted to the City of Los Angeles Planning Department, and ends 12 months after the Letter of Determination for the project is issued, or the date the decision on the application is final. Contributions made prior to June 8, 2022 are not subject to the ban.

Continue Reading City of Los Angeles Developer Contribution Ban Goes Into Effect

In Save the Hill Group v. City of Livermore et al., the First District Court of Appeal (Div. 5) reversed and remanded the superior court’s decision to uphold the reissued final environmental impact report (RFEIR) for a development project with 44 single-family homes located in a residentially-zoned grassland area, called Garavanta Hills, near the Garaventa Wetlands Preserve.  In doing so, the Court held that the analysis for the “no project” alternative was inadequate because it failed to disclose and evaluate the possibility of using existing mitigation funding to make the no-project alternative feasible.  While the superior court agreed that the analysis of the no-project alternative was insufficient, the superior court found that petitioner Save the Hill Group (Petitioner) had failed to exhaust its administrative remedies on this issue, upholding the RFEIR on this jurisdictional prerequisite.  While the Court of Appeal reversed this particular decision, it did rejected the Petitioner’s remaining claims.
Continue Reading Court of Appeal Holds No-Project Alternative Analysis May Mean More When Conservation is an Option and Reinforces Low Barrier to Entry Under the Exhaustion Doctrine

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

On June 13, 2017, the City of Los Angeles released its new Hollywood Community Plan (“Plan”) draft. The current plan dates back to 1988. In 2012, the City adopted an update to the community plan that was subsequently litigated and then rescinded by a Superior Court ruling. Thus, for the last several years, the City has used the 1988 community plan to guide land use decisions in Hollywood while adjusting to modern development trends in the area.
Continue Reading City of Los Angeles Releases Draft Hollywood Community Plan Update

The City of Los Angeles continues to move toward the adoption of an ordinance that establishes an Affordable Housing Linkage Fee (Ordinance). As currently proposed, the key provisions of the Ordinance are as follows:

  • It applies to any new building permit or entitlement application submitted on or after 180 days after the Ordinance’s formal adoption date. Any such application submitted before that will not be subject to the Ordinance.
  • If the project does not qualify under any of the available exemptions, the Ordinance mandates a “linkage fee” of $5.00 per square foot for non-residential uses, $12.00 per square foot for residential uses with 6 or more units, and $1.00 per square foot for residential uses with 5 or less units. Note that the applicable deductions/credits may reduce such fees.
  • It provides exemptions and deductions/credits for certain projects. In particular, no linkage fee would be required with respect to affordable units that meet specified requirements. Also, the first 25,000 square feet of nonresidential floor area in a mixed-use building would be excluded from the fee obligation.
  • The linkage fee would be annually adjusted for inflation.


Continue Reading Update – City of Los Angeles Affordable Housing Linkage Fee

Voters this week approved Measure JJJ, otherwise known as the Build Better L.A. initiative (the “Initiative”), which establishes new labor and affordable-housing requirements for developers in Los Angeles seeking discretionary approvals for residential projects.  The Initiative was promoted by the L.A. County Federation of Labor, which cited the City’s inability to meet the increasing need for affordable housing as motivation for the Initiative.
Continue Reading Voters Overwhelmingly Approve ‘Build Better LA’ Initiative Resulting in New Affordable Housing and Local Hiring Requirements For Developers

On June 4, 2016, two new Los Angeles ordinances will go into effect under the Clean Up, Green Up (CUGU) initiative.  The initiative aims to improve air quality and residential quality of life in areas with high concentrations of industrial uses.  The new laws will impose additional citywide code requirements, and create new development standards in three CUGU Supplemental Use Districts: Boyle Heights, Wilmington, and Pacoima/Sun Valley.
Continue Reading New LA Ordinances “Clean Up, Green Up” Industry in Residential “Toxic Hotspot” Neighborhoods

On February 10, 2016, the Los Angeles City Council adopted the “HI” Hybrid Industrial Live/Work Zone Ordinance, which creates a new zone classification in the City of Los Angeles, the Hybrid Industrial (HI) Zone, with accompanying land use and development standards.  The Ordinance becomes effective March 30, 2016.  Generally, the purpose of this new zone classification is to permit the development of residential live/work units, hotels and other specified commercial uses on property within an existing current industrial zone and designated as Hybrid Industrial in the General Plan.
Continue Reading New Live/Work Ordinance Adopted by L.A. City Council

After several failed attempts in previous years, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed AB 2 (Alejo) on September 22, 2015. (Stats. 2015, ch. 319.) AB 2 authorizes a new structure for tax increment financing—the planning and financing tool that redevelopment agencies (RDAs) had used to support revitalization projects until 2012, when California dissolved the sixty-year-long operation of RDAs.
Continue Reading Redevelopment Strikes Back

On September 29, Governor Brown signed legislation that is seen as creating a robust new financing tool which will expand the existing mechanism of Infrastructure Financing Districts (“IFDs”) and replicate some of the functions of the state’s abolished local redevelopment agencies.  SB 628 (Beall; D-San Jose) authorizes local officials to create Enhanced IFDs and issue bonds to finance capital improvement projects and other specified projects of communitywide significance.  Enhanced IFDs may include any portion of a former redevelopment project area.
Continue Reading Governor Signs Off on New Tax-Increment Financing Structure