Planning Commission reviews WeHo’s Housing Element Update

The Housing Element Report highlights the city’s specific housing needs, availability, and affordability.

By Jessica Ryzenberg

Publishers Note: WEHOville is proud to welcome Jessica Ryzenberg to our team of local writers and contributors. Jesica Ryzenberg is a writer and digital content strategist who calls West Hollywood home. A graduate of Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications, Jesica began her career in journalism as a TV producer in Miami before moving to San Francisco. While working at the ABC affiliate KGO-TV, Jesica covered some of the biggest national and global events of the mid-2000s. Jessica’s focus on behalf of WEHOville will be the planning commission and developments. She understands the complexities and constraints of putting out compelling honest content and we are proud to welcome Jessica as our new resident contributor, and journalist.

The West Hollywood Planning Commission held a special virtual meeting on Thursday, July 29 to review the status of the Housing Element update draft. This comprehensive report, required by the state of California, must be updated every eight years and highlights the city’s specific housing needs, availability, and affordability.

Senior Planner Rachel Dimond explained in detail the completed steps of the planning process, which include the creation of a task force on December 21, 2020, community and stakeholder outreach, and meetings with City officials.

The draft identifies three key areas that comprise the state of fair housing in West Hollywood, which include providing arrangements to reflect changing housing needs, addressing aging housing inventory, and preserving existing affordable housing. Commissioners, as well as staff emphasized the importance of strategic urban development.

“The question is, as a city, is it the kind of building/unit that we wanted, where we wanted? Did it provide the maximum amount of benefit to our citizens, for example, in terms of affordability? The vast majority of what was built was market rate and very high market rate. Yes, we built a lot of stuff. Did we do it the best way we could do it for our community?” Said Planning Commission Chair Lynn Hoopingarner.

The implementation of micro-units, which are dwellings between 140 and 700 square feet, at busier intersections was discussed as another alternative to increasing the number of affordable housing structures in the city.

“For years, I’ve always thought we should look to Tokyo as the model housing, four people live in 600 square feet,and here we have averages of 1,200 [square feet],” said Commissioner Rogerio Carvalheiro.

According to the sixth cycle of the Housing Element update, approximately 42 percent of households in West Hollywood earn lower incomes. Currently, there are 16,581 rent stabilized units, 1,056 publicly assisted rental housing, and 720 households that are recipients of Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers.

Chapter 11 of the Housing Element Update draft encourages the City to utilize existing affordable housing options to meet or exceed our goals per the state’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

“With the rising housing costs in the region, the city must make all feasible efforts to protect its affordable housing stock,” stated the report.

City Council will review the Housing Element Update on September 20, 2021, and West Hollywood residents are encouraged to leave comments and input at this link: http://wehohousing.rinconconsultants.com/

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Jonathan Simmons
Jonathan Simmons
1 month ago

I do believe in housing as a basic right. HOWEVER OUR 1.9 SQUARE MILE CITY HAD THE HIGHEST DENSITY LIVING BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF THE HEILMAN “HOUSING BLOCK” SIZED BUILDING FOR WEHO. THE MONEY PAID TO THIS ENTIRE PROJECT COULD PAY MONTHLY RENT FOR HOW MANY HOMELESS OR ALMOST HOMELESS. The concept of affordable housing is the opposite of what is the plan. Rich people are rich and not villains. They always want new, bigger & better all the way from the poorest to the richest in our megalopolis, move up, leaving older l, less expensive housinh which would be… Read more »

600 sq. feet utopia
600 sq. feet utopia
2 months ago

Chairman Hoopingarner is thinking along sensible lines whereas Commissioner Carvalheiro believes Weho should have used or investigated Tokyo as a model where 4 people live in 600 sq. ft.? Aside from vastly different cultural traditions one wonders how Carvalheiro came up with this concept.

Citizen for Change
Citizen for Change
2 months ago

Good to know. I think it’s important that we keep an eye on the Planning Commission, it’s the most powerful of the commissions and has been pushing us into this dystopian anti-business hellscape by focusing the city government’s revenue collection on state and federal subsidies as opposed to…business.

Alon
Alon
2 months ago

Congratulations wehoville and Welcome Jessica. It’s nice to see more community members participating. Great choice wehoville!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
2 months ago

Very readable; very informative. Jessica is going to be a great asset to WeHoville and the community.

KRinweho
KRinweho
2 months ago

Good luck and welcome.

90069
90069
2 months ago

Fantastic. Welcome Jessica looking forward to your coverage.

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