The Los Angeles City Council Wednesday voted to approve a resolution in support of an Assembly bill that would transfer land use related plans and functions of the city’s former Community Redevelopment Agency, which was disbanded in 2012, to the City Council.
The resolution, which was introduced by Councilman Mitch O’Farrell to support AB 832, was approved with 14 votes, with only Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson dissenting.
The CRA/LA was created in 1948 and was responsible for “revitalizing, refurbishing and renewing economically underserved areas of Los Angeles,” according to its former website. Its housing requirements included that 15% of housing developed by another public or private entity within a project area must be available and affordable.
Councilman Paul Koretz expressed concern before the vote that the bill would eliminate the 15% affordable housing requirement for redevelopment plans in the former CRA/LA project area.
But O’Farrell said “the reduction of affordable housing requirements is not even before us on this particular item today, but what is, is support for this body to amend the redevelopment plans as we see fit.”
Councilman Gil Cedillo similarly said the legislation would give the council more freedom to impose affordable housing requirements, instead of being “encumbered by the ghost of the CRA.”
Councilman Mike Bonin suggested amending the resolution to support the bill if the bill preserves the requirement for 15% affordable housing in former CRA areas, and Councilman Bob Blumenfield suggested tweaking that amendment to make 15% the minimum, so that projects in the area could offer an even higher percentages of affordable units.
Kathryn Phelan of the City Attorney’s Office warned council members that the amendment could pose problems because the “the city’s position in court repeatedly is that the city is not responsible for that 15%.
“We’re assuming more liability than if we were silent on to that … it seems more problematic to add that language in,” she said.
Council members voted 14-1 to approve the original motion without the amendment to specify support if it does not reduce affordability requirements. Harris-Dawson, who voted no, did not provide remarks at the meeting. His office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.