California Construction News staff writer
Los Angeles plans to maximize city-owned property for temporary and permanent housing and Mayor Karen Bass has signed a directive requesting an inventory of potential sites.
“I am making sure that the City of Los Angeles holds nothing back when it comes to bringing people inside and providing them with the support they need to stay inside for good,” said Mayor Karen Bass. “To save lives, restore our neighborhoods and house Angelenos immediately, we must urgently prioritize underutilized existing city-owned property.”
Bass signed a directive recently, that requires staff to provide an inventory of unused and underutilized city property that could be used for temporary or permanent housing with on-site services; that a formal assessment of each site follow; that based on the assessment, the mayor’s office designates what type of housing should be built on which locations; that city departments prioritize temporary and permanent housing with on-site services and eliminate unnecessary reviews, paperwork and red tape.
Mayor Bass has also issued an emergency declaration on homelessness , issued an executive directive to dramatically accelerate and lower the cost of affordable and temporary housing and launched Inside Safe, a housing-led strategy to bring people inside from tents and encampments, and to prevent encampments from returning.
The Emergency Use of Viable City-Owned Property directive requires city properties to be assessed for viability, including a site layout, access to infrastructure (including water, power, and sewer access), contamination risks, liability risks, the distance between each site and other residential uses, and the time and resources needed to prepare the site for habitation.
“Within 30 days of receipt of the formal assessment of sites to be used for temporary or permanent housing with on-site supportive services to be occupied by persons experiencing homelessness, the mayor’s office shall make designations for appropriate sites to install or construct housing or shelter, giving preference to sites that are easily serviceable by utilities (including water, power, and sewer services) and that are near assets to aid in support of people experiencing homelessness.”
When possible, new units will include individual bathrooms and appropriate amenities, the mayor stated.
“The mayor’s office, in conjunction with the CAO, shall specify the construction or contracting process for each site, including approvals for expediting the same, and may include additional exemptions from the requirements of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC).”
Also, construction will be exempt for the duration of the order from discretionary review processes otherwise required by either the zoning provisions or other ordinance if the site complies with applicable state law and site plan reviews and minimum parking requirements will be waived.