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Municipal Code and Its Impact on Housing Development

About this post: Explore the influence of local ordinances on housing development. Uncover potential barriers and evaluate program responses for equitable housing solutions.

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Local ordinances and policies are put in place to protect people’s health and safety and promote the general welfare. However, it is helpful to look at these policies and ordinances every so often to see if they are still serving their purpose or if they are getting in the way of maintaining, improving, or building housing for people of all incomes.

A study like this might show that some policies have an unfair or negative effect on the building of certain kinds of housing (like multifamily units) or on the building of housing for low- or moderate-income families.

This article is part of our guide “How Executive Directive 1 (ED1) is Shaping LA’s Future”

Any rules, laws, or actions that keep low- and moderate-income families from accessing affordable housing may also be against state and federal fair housing laws. These laws say that land-use requirements that discriminate against affordable housing (or have the effect of discriminating against it) are illegal.

The analysis of possible governmental constraints should talk about attempts made in the past or present to get rid of these constraints. The research should list the exact rules and steps and figure out how they affect the availability and cost of housing as a whole. Each study should use its own set of objective data, preferably numbers.

If the analyses show that there are already limitations, the housing aspect should include program responses to lessen the effects. It is necessary to check each possible limit to see if it really does present a problem.

Analysis of Needs in Housing Development

The housing part has to list all the land-use controls that apply, talk about how they affect the cost and quantity of housing, and figure out how standards affect everything, like whether they make it harder to reach the highest possible density levels. The study also needs to find out if land-use restrictions make it hard to build multifamily renting homes, factory-built homes, mobile homes, housing for farmworkers, supportive housing, single-room occupancy units, emergency shelters, and transitional housing. Different places will have different types of land-use controls that are useful to look at.

When it makes sense, the show will also talk about efforts to get rid of government restrictions, especially those that affect single-room occupancy units, assisted housing, transitional housing, and emergency shelters.

Putting down

Too strict parking rules that don’t take into account actual parking needs can really slow down housing development by raising costs and limiting the amount of land that can be used for project facilities or extra units. So, as part of the housing factor, the authority’s parking rules for

each zone should be looked at. The study should look into whether parking rules make it harder for developers to build at the highest density levels and whether there are ways to lower parking requirements when there is less of a need, like for people with disabilities, the elderly, affordable housing, and infill and transit-oriented development. The government should also make sure that the density bonus law follows the parking rules set out in Government Code Section 65915.

Housing Development: Limits on Height

When combined with other development controls, height limits can make it harder for a development to reach its highest numbers. One type of Housing Development standards that can make it harder to reach maximum densities is two-story height limits in multifamily areas.

Controlling growth or passing similar laws

Ordinances, policies, procedures, or measures put in place by the local government that limit the amount or timing of residential growth should be looked at as possible governmental constraints and, if needed, removed. The study will be different based on the type of measure. In general, the measure and the steps that will be taken to accomplish it need to be clearly explained and looked at to see how they will affect the price and availability of housing.

For ordinances that decide how many permits are issued and when, this part must explain any process for allocating permits, when permits are allocated, any limits on the number of permits given for each type of project, any affordable housing incentives in the allocating process, how the annual number of permits is decided, and why that number is decided.

Tips That Will Help

Talk to affordable and market-rate housing companies in your area to find out what land-use restrictions might be in place. There are companies working in the area who can be found through the local chapters of the Building Industry Association, the Non-Profit Housing Association of Northern California, the Southern California Association of NonProfit Housing, and the San Diego Housing Federation.

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