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Your guide to renting in this complicated — and expensive — place.

LA City Council Approves Aggressive Plans For More Housing In Downtown And Hollywood

Shuttered storefronts have brown awnings and signs advertising suits and other clothing
Downtown L.A.'s Fashion District
(Chava Sanchez
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The Los Angeles City Council voted 13-0 Wednesday to approve new development plans allowing up to 135,000 new homes in Hollywood and Downtown L.A. over the next two decades.

Lawmakers cheered the passage of the two community plan updates, which were decades in the making (Hollywood’s hasn’t been successfully updated since 1988).

“Somebody, somewhere down the line, is going to move into an affordable unit downtown that would not have appeared if we had not done this work,” said Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson, chair of the council’s Planning and Land Use Management committee.

New ground rules and aggressive growth

The Hollywood and Downtown L.A. community plans provide ground rules for future development. These new rules could transform two of the city’s densest urban areas by allowing housing where it was previously prohibited, and by incentivizing developers to build affordable homes in exchange for permission to construct larger buildings.

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Downtown’s community plan outlines an aggressive vision for housing growth, with 20% of L.A.’s new housing planned in an area making up just 1% of the city’s total land. Under state law, the city must plan for almost half a million new homes by 2029, and city planners project that Downtown L.A. alone will be responsible for 100,000 new apartments and condos.

Why some groups are worried

These ambitious plans have worried some downtown groups, such as Skid Row homeless service providers, that don’t want to see unhoused residents displaced by new luxury housing.

Garment workers also lobbied councilmembers to preserve jobs in the Fashion District, which is being rezoned to allow housing in areas previously reserved for manufacturing.

The council adopted changes to address garment workers’ concerns. Those provisions will require new housing developments in the Fashion District to include space for light manufacturing, as well as freight elevators and loading zones.

These requirements do not protect garment worker jobs but they do impede housing development.
— Nella McOsker, president Central City Association

In a letter to the council ahead of Wednesday’s vote, leaders of the local Garment Worker Center said those provisions “won’t protect the garment industry from being fully pushed outside of Downtown L.A.,” but they will help “preserve the diversity of the Fashion District’s current ecosystem of commercial, industrial and residential uses.”

Some downtown property owners and business groups said the city put too many restrictions on the Fashion District, kneecapping new housing in an area that could have produced thousands more homes in a city suffering from a severe housing crisis.

“These requirements are infeasible due to real estate market, design and logistical considerations,” Central City Association President Nella McOsker wrote in a letter before the vote. “These requirements do not protect garment worker jobs but they do impede housing development.”

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What's next

The plans need Mayor Karen Bass’s signature to take effect. They must be enacted before a May 12 deadline; failure to do so would force the city’s planning department to start the process over from scratch.

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