Homeowners: "Keep Our Buildings Short And Our Tenants Rich"

Like a lot of cities, Los Angeles saw a housing boom over the past few years. And like a lot of cities, the boom didn't ...
by | February 7, 2008
 

Like a lot of cities, Los Angeles saw a housing boom over the past few years. And like a lot of cities, the boom didn't include a lot of affordable housing.

The city's trying to change that. One proposal would roll back some restrictions on density and height limits for developers who promise to include a few units for low-income residents.

Unsurprisingly, the idea irks some homeowners. Height restrictions were put in place for a reason, and they city shouldn't ignore those limits just because a new development includes some affordable units.

They do have a point: Offering incentives like this is clearly a tricky business. Sure, cities have a reason to encourage developers to include affordable units, and, obviously, offering exemptions to planning restrictions is a pretty attractive carrot available to cities.

But it seems like it's possible to offer too many of these kinds of enticements. (Part of the proposal in L.A. would allow developers to build larger residential projects if the plans include a child-care center. Other cities let developers build with a higher lot density if the project meets green building codes.)

At some point, don't you end up undoing the thoughtful community planning that created those kinds of restrictions in the first place?

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