Kate Cagle
Daily Press Staff Writer

The population in Los Angeles County will grow by more than one million people over the next twenty years, according to a preliminary forecast by the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG).

SCAG unveiled the new estimate at a meeting of lawmakers and business leaders in Los Angeles to talk about fixing the state’s housing shortage.
SCAG forecasts the population will grow from its current level of 10.2 million residents to nearly 11.2 million by 2035, according to the study released at the 16th annual Mayoral Housing, Transportation and Jobs Summit.
“What we cherish the most – our region’s quality of life – is at stake if we cannot build more housing or build and maintain the transportation infrastructure necessary to accommodate this growth,” said Hasan Ikhrata, SCAG’s executive director.
At the meeting, developers and architects praised a new law that requires local jurisdictions to report their annual increase in housing stock to the state.

Every city is allocated a percentage of new housing to build in a Regional Housing Assessment. SCAG produces the assessment for Los Angeles County.
In the past, there have been no consequences for cities that fail to keep up with their allocations. That’s about to change Jan. 1.
Under SB 35, municipalities that fail to reach certain state-mandated goals will find their local agencies overruled by a state streamlining process to get developments shovel ready.
“The philosophy is, if you’re not building enough housing we’re just going to help you,” said Senator Scott Weiner (D-San Francisco), the bill’s co-author, at the summit Friday.

The city reports will include the number of market-rate and affordable housing constructed.
If a city fails to submit a housing report two years in a row, the development process in that municipality will automatically become streamlined, according to Weiner.

For example, under the mandated process, proposed affordable housing projects within a city’s zoning code will not need CEQA, Conditional Use Permits or Development Review Permits.
“This bill also limits the amount of parking that a local government can require of a streamlined development,” according to a report by the Assembly Committee on Housing and Community Development.

“A local government cannot require more than one parking space per unit for streamlined developments.

In addition, the bill would prohibit a local government from imposing any parking standard for streamlined projects that are within one-half mile of public transit, within an architecturally and historically significant district, where on-street parking permits are required but not offered to occupants of a development, or where there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the development.”
Under the new law, a development proponent can also request the state step in and mandate the streamlined process for a specific parcel.
“It’s not punishment,” Weiner said.

“Having enough housing is a benefit, it’s not punishment.”
About twenty cities in Los Angeles County currently meet their housing needs, including the City of Santa Monica. In fact, in the previous cycle, Santa Monica built 233 percent of its SCAG allotment.
SCAG allocated 1,674 housing units to Santa Monica for the housing cycle from 2014 to 2021, instructing that 58 percent of those should be affordable.
In neighboring Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti has committed the City to construct more than 100,000 new residential units by 2021 as a way to combat a housing shortage.
Weiner said the vast majority of cities in California are not meeting their affordable housing requirements.

Kate Cagle

Senior reporter for the Santa Monica Daily Press