California is in the midst of a housing crisis that is hindering job creation and economic growth. This crisis is affecting all levels of housing from homeless, to affordable, to market rate. Therefore, the Los Angeles County Business Federation (BizFed) strongly supports Governor Jerry Brown’s By-Right Affordable Housing policy included in the proposed 2016 state budget, including the housing affordability percentages detailed in the plan.
BizFed also believes that a substantial increase in funds above the $650 million in the proposal will be necessary to both subsidize affordable housing development and to incentivize local governments to fully utilize the important tools contained in the proposal.
BizFed’s 2016 Business Pulse Poll of employers throughout LA County identified the high cost of housing as one of the top three reasons businesses either leave or choose not to locate in our region. The BizFed Institute, our nonprofit, nonpartisan educational arm, convened a major half-day forum on housing affordability in October 2014 that identified local permitting challenges and nimbyism — empowered by CEQA lawsuit abuse — as major impediments to the creation of affordable housing.
We believe that the ministerial approach contained in this proposal will be an urgently needed game changer in favor of the production of affordable housing. We also note that, through general plan, zoning, and permitting requirements, local governments will maintain the ability to guide and control development. But by removing legal and procedural impediments to approval of projects that otherwise comply with general plan, zoning, and permitting requirements, this proposal will make a significant difference in the creation of new affordable housing.