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News, City Council, Santa Monica, Housing

Affordable Housing Bills Earn Support From Santa Monica City Council

Posted Mar. 28, 2014, 9:02 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

Two affordable housing bills – one in the State Assembly and the other in the State Senate – will be supported by the Santa Monica City Council.

The six council members present at the end of their Tuesday night meeting all voted in favor of Supporting AB 1690 and SB 1260.

The Assembly Bill proposes to require at least 50 percent of the affordable housing units in all mixed-use zoning districts in the State to be in the low- and very-low income categories.

If approved, the State law would be relatively consistent with Santa Monica’s Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE).

Meanwhile, SB 1260 would require infrastructure financing districts to set aside at least 25 percent of its revenue to provide for affordable housing.

Under State law, only residential properties were required to accommodate at least 50 percent of low- and very-low income housing needs. Those residential properties where nonresidential use or mixed-use existed did not have to meet the same requirement. The Assembly Bill seeks to include mixed-used properties into the State requirement.

The proposed law in the State Senate would change the affordable housing requirements of infrastructure financing districts. Current law requires government agencies that determine the financing for the construction of residential units to set aside at least 20 percent of those units “to increase and improve the community’s supply of low- and moderate-income housing available at an affordable housing cost to persons and families of low- and moderate-income.”

SB 1260 would eliminate the requirement that at least 20 percent of units physically be set aside for affordable housing purposes and instead require infrastructure financing districts allocate 25 percent or more of its tax increment revenues for affordable housing purposes.

If approved, the new State law would also ensure the number of housing units occupied by extremely low, very low, and low-income households within the infrastructure financing district is not reduced within a specified time period.

Infrastructure financing districts would also have to ensure all extremely low, very low, and low-income household units removed by private or public action must be replaced within two years.

Finally, the Senate bill would also require districts to make sure all housing units built “remain available at affordable housing cost to, and occupied by, persons and families of low- or moderate-income households for the longest feasible time.”

Assemblyman Richard Gordon, who represents a portion of Silicon Valley in the State’s lower house, introduced AB 1690. State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, who represents several of the Bay Area’s easternmost suburbs, introduced the Senate bill.

With the council vote, City staff will relay the support of both bills to Santa Monica’s lobbyists, state legislators, and Gov. Jerry Brown.

Mayor Pro Tem Terry O’Day was not present for the vote.

Council member Kevin McKeown brought the discussion item to the dais.

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