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How Executive Directive 1 (ED1) is Shaping LA’s Future

About this post: Join us on a journey to unravel the Housing Needs in Los Angeles. Learn how Executive Directive 1 (ED1) is reshaping the cityscape

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On December 16, 2022, the LA Mayor’s Office issued Executive Directive 1 (ED1) to expedite the permitting process for qualifying 100% affordable housing projects. ED1 has become a rallying point for policymakers, developers, and communities to come together for sustainable, affordable housing solutions. But what is ED1 exactly? And what has its impact been on the LA housing landscape?

Understanding the ED1 Mandate

LA Mayor Karen Bass implemented ED1 to address the growing issue of housing affordability in the city. Under ED1, LA city departments must complete the pre-construction review process for all 100% affordable housing developments within 60 days and issue building permits within five days.

Eligible projects receive expedited processing, clearances, and approvals through the ED1 Ministerial Approval Process. These projects are exempt from discretionary review as long as they do not require any legislative action (e.g., General Plan Amendment, Zone Change, or Height District Change) or entitlements (outside of Density Bonus or Transit Oriented Communities) to modify otherwise applicable objective standards (e.g., an adjustment, variance, or specific plan exception).

Under ED1, a “100% affordable housing project” is defined as a project with five or more units where:

• All units are at 80% of Area Median Income (AMI) or lower, based on U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) rent levels;

• or Units are mixed-income, with up to 20% of units at 120% AMI, but the balance is at 80% AMI or lower.

The Response

From its introduction to July 1, 2024, there have been 323 applications for ED1 Administrative Review (referred to as ADM applications). ATC has crunched the numbers on the response to ED1 below.

Project Breakdown

ATC also has the data on what proposed ED1 Projects look like. See below.

Recent Changes

On July 1, Mayor Karen Bass released her 3rd revision statement. The key takeaways:

  • Prohibition on fast-tracking ED1 projects on parcels within an HPOZ and parcels containing 12+ units occupied in the 5 years preceding the application
  • Projects seeking Density Bonuses will be eligible for no more than 5 incentives and one waiver
  • Calls for increased accountability within LAHD for applications with pending payments
  • Future conversions of ADUs on ED1 projects will be deed-restricted
  • All entitlements submitted to City Planning or vested before July 1 shall be deemed eligible to proceed under prior regulations

ED1 Permanent Ordinance

In Fall 2023, Los Angeles City Planning prepared a proposed Affordable Housing Streamlining Ordinance to amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) and codify the ED1 review process. Read more from the City of LA here.

The latest changes include eliminating any requests to decrease the required open space and bicycle parking beyond 50 percent. In addition, the minimum floor area ratio (FAR) in residential zones has been increased to 3.5:1.

The new ordinance also prohibits single-family zones from using the ED1 entitlement pathway, and a revised order was issued earlier this year to amend the ED1 parameters.

The new ordinance also prohibits R1 single-family zones from using the ED1 entitlement pathway. Before the announcement, several applications for ED1 projects in R1 single-family zones were submitted for approval, but with significant community pushback.

In a 5-1 vote on November 16, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission approved a draft ordinance.

Executive Directive 7

On November 16, Mayor Karen Bass announced Executive Order 7, which aims to accelerate approvals for all housing projects, including those with market-rate units. The order calls for an ordinance to increase the threshold for site plan review entitlements and a report on barriers to developing for-sale housing in Los Angeles.

 

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