Editor’s note: This is the second in a series of articles focused on a report released by City Hall’s Planning and Community Development Department that updates City Council on the progress and impacts of the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE), which was enacted in 2010.

Commercial construction declined while the creation of green space increased in recent years, according to a recent report to City Council.

The report, which aims to measure the progress of the Land Use and Circulation Element (LUCE) was prepared by City Hall’s Planning Director David Martin.

“Nonresidential development has diminished substantially over the years, even prior to LUCE adoption, as private property owners have shifted to the production of residential and mixed-use buildings,” the report said.

City officials were quick to point out that measuring the impacts of the LUCE during its first four years is challenging.

“Much of the recent development activity experienced over the past several years was approved prior to LUCE adoption and cannot be attributed to LUCE policy,” the report said.

Since 2003, the report says, City Hall has averaged 67,000 new square feet of nonresidential commercial space.

More than 180,000 square feet of office space has been constructed since the adoption of the LUCE in 2010 with another 134,000 square feet approved for construction.

Nearly 200,000 square feet of hotel space has been built with 113,000 square feet under construction and 150,000 square feet approved to be built.

All told, 403,232 square feet of nonresidential space has been constructed since the LUCE was adopted and another 470,000 square feet were approved.

“Recently approved LUCE regulated nonresidential office projects are limited to a handful of sites predominantly located in the Bergamot area and Downtown,” Martin’s report said.

More than a thousand residential units have been built since the adoption of the LUCE, according to the report, but 92 percent of these were approved under the old plan. Another 864 have been approved but not yet built.

“Since LUCE adoption in 2010, housing production has remained a focus of private development applications,” Martin’s report said.

Open space rose from 1.13 per capita acres to 1.19 last year — a five percent increase. Tongva Park and Ken Genser Square added more than seven acres of public open space. A new park, slated to open around the time of the incoming Expo Light Rail, will add 2.35 acres of open space.

Twenty properties have been designated as Landmarks since the LUCE’s passage in 2010. Eight were residential, eight were commercial, and the other four were labeled “other.”

Landlords are using the Ellis Act — which allows them to pull rent control buildings from the market — less frequently in recent years.

There were 564 units pulled from the market in the five years prior to the adoption of the LUCE and only 152 in the following five years.

The number of rent control units has stayed relatively consistent since the LUCE’s passage, according to the report.

“Over 2008 levels, rent controlled units show a 3 (percent) increase in the overall number of units,” it said. “This is a result of previously withdrawn units being returned to rent-control status.”

dave@www.smdp.com

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