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Mayor Bass signs Executive Directive to dramatically accelerate and lower the cost of affordable housing and temporary housing

Posted on 12/16/2022

LOS ANGELES – As part of her agenda to move Los Angeles in a new direction by taking an unprecedented and urgent approach to the city’s homelessness crisis, Mayor Karen Bass today issued Executive Directive 1 to dramatically accelerate and lower the cost of building affordable housing and temporary housing.

For affordable housing built under Executive Directive 1, the City must complete the approval process within 60 days. Then, when construction starts, the permit, utility and certificate of occupancy process will be completed in just 5 days for 100% affordable housing and in no more than 2 days for temporary housing. The Executive Directive comes on the heels of the mayor’s Emergency Declaration on Homelessness (her first act as mayor) and her activation of the Emergency Operations Center. 

“This is a dramatic reduction in red tape and acceleration of the construction timeline that will move people inside faster and save precious dollars that can be invested in more housing and more solutions for L.A.’s homelessness crisis,” said Mayor Bass. “By declaring a state of emergency; by activating the City’s Emergency Operations Center; and by signing this executive directive today, we are breaking City Hall away from its traditional approach that is focused on process and replacing it with a new approach focused on solutions, results and speed. This is a sea change, and that is what we need to bring a new direction to Los Angeles.”

The signing of the Executive Directive took place on the active construction site of Lorena Plaza in Boyle Heights, which took 14 years of navigating regulatory and legal hurdles to finally break ground. Under this directive, at least 31 pending 100% affordable housing projects will be immediately expedited with the urgency representing the emergency that the city of Los Angeles is facing.

The Executive Directive can be found below:

EXECUTIVE DIRECTIVE NO. 1

ISSUE DATE:  DECEMBER 16, 2022

Subject: Expedition of Permits and Clearances for Temporary Shelters and Affordable Housing Types

INTRODUCTION

To aid in swiftly sheltering people who are unhoused in the City of Los Angeles, and by virtue of the authority vested in me as Mayor of the City of Los Angeles under Section 231(i) of the Los Angeles City Charter and the provisions of Section 8.29 of the Los Angeles Administrative Code, I hereby declare the following order to be necessary for the protection of life and property and I hereby order, effective immediately, that:

1. Applications for 100% affordable housing projects, or for Shelter as defined in Section 12.03 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) (hereinafter referred to as Shelter), shall be, and hereby are deemed exempt from discretionary review processes otherwise required by either the zoning provisions of Chapter 1 of the LAMC or other Project Review including Site Plan Review as described in LAMC Section 16.05 and LAMC Section 13B.2.4, as long as such plans do not require any zoning change, variance, or General Plan amendment. All City departments are directed to process all plans for such 100 percent affordable housing projects or Shelter using the streamlined ministerial review process currently used for projects eligible under Government Code section 65913.4, State Density Bonus law.   

2. An application for the development of a 100 percent affordable housing project or Shelter may use the density permitted for that site either by the applicable zoning or the General Plan Land Use Designation, consistent with state law. In addition, a project may utilize the State Density Bonus and LAMC bonuses, incentives, waivers and concessions if such are in compliance with the applicable requirements. 

3. I further direct all applicable City Departments to process clearances and utility releases related to building permit applications, certificates of occupancy, or temporary certificates of occupancy within 5 business days for 100 percent affordable housing projects and within 2 business days for Shelters. 

4. I further direct all applicable City Departments to conduct and conclude all reviews and inspections required for 100 percent affordable housing projects or Shelters and to issue all appropriate approvals for such projects or Shelters within 60 days following the submission of the completed application. City Departments shall provide the applicant with all required changes or amendments on or before the 30th day following the submission of a completed application for such projects. To the extent practicable, all required reviews and approvals shall be conducted simultaneously, not sequentially, by all City departments so as to meet the 30 day and 60 day periods specified for such projects in this paragraph. 

5. I hereby direct the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) to coordinate with the Los Angeles City Controller to track and process all affordable housing projects and expedite payments thereon. LAHD shall track each pending pay application, initial submittal date, approval date, reasons for rejection or modification of submitted payment applications, and issuance of payment, and shall provide reports to the Mayor on all such payments at least monthly with the goal of expediting payments due for affordable housing projects.

6. I hereby direct that all protocols set by the Los Angeles County Coordinated Entry System as they apply within the City of Los Angeles be expanded, changed, or suspended, as allowed by federal law.  Rules, guidelines and regulations will be developed to expedite the placement of unhoused neighbors into housing in the City of Los Angeles. 

7. I hereby direct all City departments to prioritize and streamline compliance with the provisions of the Building Homes and Jobs Act – Government Code section 27388.1 in order to maximize the City’s eligibility for state and federal funds to support the development of emergency shelters, transitional housing, and supportive housing. The City shall seek to comply with or otherwise meet all criteria specified under all applicable state and federal laws that provide for increased resources, funding, access or allowance for temporary or affordable housing.

8. Effective February 28, 2023, in accordance with the end of the State of California COVID-19 emergency, I hereby rescind the Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority issued on January 28, 2022 (January 28, 2022 Order).  Notwithstanding this action, all entitlements already approved and still valid as of this date, or approved during the effective period of the January 28, 2022 Order, shall remain valid for the extended time period(s) as if such January 28, 2022 Order were still in effect with respect to such entitlements.  Furthermore, local decision-makers, including the Director of Planning and the Chief Zoning Administrator, are authorized to continue to hold all required public hearings under the Los Angeles Municipal Code in a manner consistent with the Governor’s Executive Order N-29-20, and any subsequent orders or published guidance pertaining to local legislative bodies. 

9.       The City Planning and Housing Departments shall issue guidelines as necessary to implement the provisions of this Executive Directive.