LA County Meets with Land Use on Density Ordinance

By Brandon HENSLEY

Representatives from LA County Public Works met with the Crescenta Valley Town Council Land Use Committee on Aug. 2 to discuss and further explain an update to the Density Bonus Ordinance, which may take effect later this year.

Connie Chung, supervising regional planner of LA County, spoke to Land Use to clarify the ordinance to CVTC president Harry Leon and the committee.

“It was more of an informational thing. It wasn’t necessarily to get some kind of action from the group,” Chung said.

Chung said last week that she doesn’t think whatever happens with the ordinance will affect the unincorporated area of La Crescenta because she’s seen only a few parcels of land large enough to accommodate a density bonus project. Those parcels were along Foothill Boulevard, she said, and that’s even if the property owner decides to comply with the ordinance, since it’s a volunteer program.

“Most likely, this ordinance is not going to have an impact on the community, if you look at the past history of there being zero density bonus projects in La Crescenta -Montrose, even though the law has been in the books since the 1980s,” Chung said, who noted there was a comprehensive update to the ordinance in 2006, and no property owners acted.

The ordinance allows property owners to build more residential units than what is allowed by County. Projects may qualify for a density bonus if it has affordable units, or senior citizen units (55 and older).

The update is to further incentivize the development of affordable housing. According to the county website, “The update will reflect state law changes, including the incorporation of a ‘no net loss’ policy and parking requirement revisions.”

Chung said the process to have the ordinance requires acquiring the correct site and financing it.

“The rule of thumb of assessing the cost of affordable housing is around $500,000,” Chung said. “It’s actually quite an achievement to develop affordable housing.”

Chung told the Land Use Committee this is one of many housing ordinances County is working on. County will let Leon know when it has other ordinances in the works, or when it might be released to the public so the council or Land Use Committee might have time to review it and make recommendations to the County Supervisor’s office.

There was a public hearing before the Regional Planning Commission on Wednesday. If the commission approves the ordinance, it will be referred to the LA County Board of Supervisors, which would hold a public hearing as well.

“There’s still a lot of steps before the ordinance is in place,” Chung said.

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