This Policy Made Building Housing For The Homeless On City Property More Expensive
By Dolores Quintana
CD 5 City Councilperson Katy Yaroslavsky and CD 4 City Councilperson Nithya Raman introduced a motion to change the five-year MOU or Memorandum of Understanding, which spelled out the parking replacement policy of LADOT Special Parking Revenue Fund Off-Street Parking Facilities when transferred to LAHD for the purpose of affordable housing development. This agreement sets requirements for the number of parking spaces that an affordable developer must replace depending on the size and utilization rates of the parking facility.
This motion was passed by the City Council, and Yaroslavsky issued a statement via her Facebook page which said, “In the City of Los Angeles, there’s a requirement that if you want to build affordable or homeless housing on a city-owned parking lot, you have to pay to replace each parking space. One space can cost as much as $70,000. We are in a severe housing and homelessness crisis. We should be focusing our resources on building housing for people, not for cars. Earlier today, the Council unanimously adopted my motion to eliminate that rule. I’m very grateful to my colleagues for their support.”
Many people have wondered why it has taken so long and why such housing for the unhoused is so expensive, this is one of the reasons why. The MOU, which has been in effect for 3.5 years, made it so several City-owned parcels financially infeasible for affordable or supportive housing development. With parking structure replacement costs estimated at approximately $40,000 – $70,000 per space, these requirements can potentially increase costs for affordable housing developers by millions of dollars, leading to several projects languishing for years.
The motion stated, “With nearly 42,000 Angelenos lacking a home and hundreds of thousands more in dire need of affordable housing, the City should not be tying its own hands-on parcels under its control while driving up the already high cost of housing development, particularly when Mayor Bass has issued a State of Emergency on Homelessness and multiple Executive Directives meant to ease the construction of housing on City-owned sites.”
The motion required that, as stated by Los Angeles Administrative Code Sections 22.482(a) and 22.602, the policy requiring parking space replacement for Department of Transportation (LADOT) parking facilities containing 25 spaces or more transferred to the Housing Department (LAHD) for utilization as affordable or supportive housing, as detailed on October 29, 2019, Memorandum of Understanding governing the parking replacement policy for LADOT Special Parking Revenue Fund OffStreet Parking Facilities be nullified effective immediately, and that neither LADOT nor LAHD shall require the replacement of any parking spaces when an LADOT facility is utilized as interim, supportive, or affordable housing.
The motion further required that the Council instruct the City Administrative Officer to report within 60 days on all LADOT-owned facilities totaling 25 spaces or greater by Council District that will no longer be subject to the parking replacement requirements, along with the current status of any contemplated or in-process affordable or supportive housing developments.