Advocacy

ADVOCACY

LEADING THE WAY

TP Garcetti DC 04.2016The Los Angeles/Ventura Chapter is actively engaged at many different levels of advocacy, providing valuable leadership on public policy issues that promote building and revitalizing neighborhoods with safe, healthy, sustainable, and quality rental and ownership housing and measures that assure an adequate supply and range of housing types, sizes, and costs.

Our Government Affairs team provides our members with timely representation and information on the issues to help them stay ahead of industry opponents and better serve their customers.

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Housing Production

Housing has become expensive because supply outpaces demand. Housing production in nearly all locations and all income levels is well below demand, but particularly glaring and troublesome is the “Missing Middle” of the housing market.  The overwhelming majority of new housing that is produced today is either subsidized housing for low-income households or luxury housing for high-income households.  New housing production for workforce households—teachers, nurses, and first responders—is nearly non-existent.   In the most current years of the most recent Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) cycle, the City of Los Angeles only entitled a total of 132 moderate-income units.  The County of Los Angeles performed even worse – not one single moderate-income unit was approved. It is clear that our system today is not working to spur the necessary levels of housing production to accommodate our region’s growing needs and help our most-needy and deserving families.  We cannot afford to continue doing the same things and expect different results.  Targets for building new homes are set, and repeatedly not achieved.

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Sustainability

We all know that Los Angeles and Ventura Counties continually experience unpredictable rainfall and climate change which greatly diminishes the Counties reliability of imported water supplies, reduced ability to replenish groundwater, and the continued depletion of natural resources. Here at BIA-LAV, we acknowledge this new reality calls for effective strategies and policy. Only by working with our partners in academia, government, business sector and the non-profit sector can we focus on the advancement of sustainable energy, water, and resiliency across the building industry. Through education and advocacy, BIA-LAV advocates the advancement of such policies that are efficient and cost effective, while not placing additional burdens on residential development.

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Planning for the Future

The Los Angeles region will grow from its current level of 10.2 million residents to nearly 11.2 million residents by 2035; the Ventura region to grow to 994,107 by 2035. To anticipate the projected need for housing, we will need to build hundreds of thousands of units to accommodate all income levels. This can only be done by increasing the supply of housing production while decreasing the cost to produce it. This will not be possible if we continue along the same track we have followed for decades, allowing NIMBYism to consistently pressure cities into killing housing projects, keeping housing stock low. In order to address this, BIA-LAV is working to educate the public as to why adding housing to a growing population is helpful–not hurtful–to the region. Because we can all prosper if we have a safe, comfortable place to live.

 

The LA region’s Community Plans and General Plan are sorely out of date; the General Plan has not been updated since World War II. Twenty-nine of the city’s 35 community plans have not been updated since 2001 — leaving many of them out of date in a rapidly changing city. We must ensure that these plans reflect high density along transit-rich corridors, increase a diverse housing stock and create local jobs. BIA-LAV is engaged in these crucial discussions which will shape the next several decades of planning.

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CEQA Reform

The BIA believes CEQA reform is necessary as what was intended to protect the environment and create strong, sustainable communities has become a tool to stall and kill new development and growth in California. The end result of the abuse of CEQA litigation is higher housing cost. The high cost of fighting frivolous anti-development CEQA lawsuits is ultimately paid by the new home buyer and existing renters. As the CEQA process is abused, it becomes more difficult for our industry to do business in California and meet the growing demand for housing.

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Transportation

We understand as an industry the need for diversity of housing types but a variety of transportation options to keep our region moving. We work closely with local agencies to advocate for building a variety of housing types near jobs and retail amenities to reduce traffic impacts. Encouraging the use of mass transit and building near transit hubs, we’ll reduce carbon emissions and encourage alternative forms of transportation.

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Housing Affordability

The growing lack of price-attainable housing has led to a severe regulation-induced housing crisis, especially for hard-working families. Housing takes longer to bring to market and is more expensive because of excessive regulations. In response, local municipalities have looked at a broad range of well-intentioned solutions to alleviate the housing squeeze in our region – from inclusionary zoning mandates to new housing linkage fees levied on new construction.  The problem is that these types of “politically easy” solutions have proven to actually increase housing cost, therefore decreasing overall housing production and thus exacerbating the housing crisis.  Due to these worrisome proposals, BIA-LAV created a new whitepaper, “Housing California’s Families”, followed by our “Housing Blueprint”, for different jurisdictions in the region, and continues to advocate in these regions in order to increase production and affordability without additional financial burden to the lower and middle classes.

We are also calling on local municipalities to enact local agency/department and utility reform. Our ongoing working groups meet bi-monthly with the LA departments of City Planning, Building and Safety, LADWP, LASAN, BOE, DOT, SoCal Gas and Edison to address issues relating to streamlining development and inspections. These BIA members-only meetings allow face-to-face engagement with departments to discuss permitting, coordination over multiple departments, community plans updates, bringing on additional hires, and the statuses of several policy planning ordinances.  We are seeing substantial progress in our reform efforts, which would not have been possible without our advocacy. BIA-LAV is grateful to these agencies for their continued commitment and cooperation to work with us to help get much needed housing units online with fewer delays.

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