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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.

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 In 2012, the City adopted an update to the community plan that was subsequently litigated and then rescinded by a Superior Court ruling.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

In Donald A. Norberg v. California Coastal Commission (4th Dist., Div. 3, 10/25/13, G047522) ___Cal.App.4th___, 2013, the court of appeal reversed the trial court’s award of private attorney general fees because the homeowner’s successful challenge of certain conditions imposed by the California Coastal Commission with respect to proposed improvements to his home did not confer a public benefit warranting an award of private attorney general fees. Norberg’s successful challenge benefited Norberg and no one else; and the possibility that his successful lawsuit might convey a cautionary message to the Commission about its conduct, or that it might cause the Commission to change its practices in the future, was insufficient to satisfy the significant public benefit requirement.
Continue Reading No Private Attorney General Fees for Homeowner