City Council tosses Housing Element back to staff

West Hollywood City Council this week voted to send the Housing Element and the Environment Impact Report back to staff for revisinos.

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.

The Housing Element 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.

Councilmember John D’Amico made the following motion:

“That motion would be to notify California Department of Housing and Community Development that our city is interested in maximizing the development of affordable and median income housing and we are respectfully asking for 12 months to change our policies and our land uses in accordance with that desire as a city.

2) that we look at the zoning across the city and we identify ways in which we can change the zoning to maximize the production of housing that is affordable and median income.

3) that we consider some of our long-standing large parcels and the actual viability of those being developed, and if they are actually not likely to be developed during this housing element period that we abandon the maximized use of those as housing sites

4) that we carefully look at our environmental document in the context of reallocating housing across the city versus bundling it in target sites and we consider the true environmental impact and whether there is an actual likelihood of a lawsuit given that this is a 1.9-square mile city and the numbers of housing units we’re targeting are not increasing beyond what RHNA has requested.”

The motion passed 4-1, with Councilmember Lindsey Horvath voting no.

Highlighted quotes from the meeting:

“I’m very much interested in creating opportunities for more affordable housing. We have an affordable housing crisis and whatever we can do to be more bold and shorten the time … I hear you all saying, ‘We’re going to do this in the next few years.’ But our crisis is now. I have friends who have had to move out of the city because they cannot afford to live here, many many friends and neighbors, and that’s not even touching on the homelessness issue.” — Mayor Pro Tem Sepi Shyne

“I’m just going to say right now that I am not going to approve a project asking for the city’s public benefit bonus unless one the majority of square footage is for residential and two a minimum of 62 percent of the residential square footage is for affordable housing with moderate and low income housing in proportion to what is being required for RHNA. We don’t need more luxury housing in this city.” — Mayor Lauren Meister

“At January’s regular meeting of our commission staff presented the proposed housing element for our review. Proposed mitigation measure cul 2a required a tribal cultural resource assessment report for every project. Producing such a report involves performing a search of the sacred lands, filed with the Native American Heritage Commission for each and every housing project built. Staff however noted that there are no tribal sacred lands within the city and thus the requirement to produce such a report serves no purpose other than to delay any projects and to make them more costly” — Michael King, chairman of WeHo’s Historic Preservation Commission

“I just want to make sure we’re not in a situation where we have consultants recommending that consultants continue to be hired in order for us to be able to build housing in our community and clearly that is a concern of our Historic Preservation Commission enough to have their chair come speak about it tonight.” — Councilmember Lindsey Horvath

“In many ways the reason why I’m excited about someone new sitting in this seat that I’m sitting in theoretically at the council chambers because they will have new ideas and they will push them and they will become reality, and in my mind the new idea is that this actually is a crowbar. This is a crowbar to cause our planning staff to do planning and to cause our development community to do development and to cause us to stretch ourselves.” — Retiring Councilmember John D’Amico

CORRECTION: This article originally stated the Housing Element had been adopted. WEHOville strives for accuracy and appreciates your help in identifying errors of fact.

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WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago

Corrupt narcissists all of them.

gammage
gammage
6 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

No truer words. Every single one on the screen.

Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
6 months ago

I don’t agree with some commenters inconsiderate explanation of blatant disregard and saying “just move somewhere else you can afford”. How demeaning. You can move too! I lived here 11 years and shouldn’t be compelled to move or deserve housing options within the city! Not outside if it! There has to be a cap on rising rents and those in rent control or affordable deserve and are entitled to live in a financially feasible income restricted unit indefinitely in the city. I care nothing about free market market rate rent rants in itself has a sense of entitlement. This is… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
6 months ago
Reply to  Jamie Francis

If we cap rents…..owners will just sell their properties. No incentive to have a rental property in such an environment. We don’t live in a fantasy world.

A Depressing Reality
A Depressing Reality
6 months ago
Reply to  Ham Shipey

West Hollywood has morphed from a city built on thoughtful holistic development to The Arena of Monopoly. There were several pivotal points enabling this and notable enablers.

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
6 months ago
Reply to  Jamie Francis

I own a duplex. I get the benefit of Prop. 13 and my tenant gets the benefit of West Hollywood rent control. Seems fair to me.

Enough!
Enough!
6 months ago

“ I have friends who have had to move out of the city because they cannot afford to live here, many many friends and neighbors” (First of all, I don’t believe her when she says she has many, many friends and neighbors- I mean, the chances of her, all of a sudden, having so many people she knows having to move is unlikely) -yeah, sometimes you can’t afford to live where you want to you have to live within your means. So when rent gets too high it’s time to move to someplace you can afford. Happened to me many… Read more »

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Enough!

Correct!

Jamie Francis
Jamie Francis
6 months ago
Reply to  Enough!

I don’t agree with your inconsiderate explanation of blatant disregard and saying “just move somewhere else you can afford”. How demeaning. You can move too! I lived here 11 years and shouldn’t be compelled to move or deserve housing options within the city! Not outside if it! There has to be a cap on rising rents and those in rent control or affordable deserve and are entitled to live in a financially feasible income restricted unit indefinitely in the city. I care nothing about free market market rate rent rants in itself has a sense of entitlement. This is keeping… Read more »

Ham Shipey
Ham Shipey
6 months ago
Reply to  Enough!

bingo

Art
Art
6 months ago

Mayor Meister is correct in the types of housing needed here. And while we’re at it, whatever is happening to the city-owned plot across the street from me at Crescent Heights and Santa Monica that we were told MANY YEARS AGO would at LEAST be developed into a temporary parking lot??? I’ve written about this often through the years and NO ONE has responded in this arena.

Observer
Observer
6 months ago
Reply to  Art

That lot was a Council agenda item not too long ago. The intention is to construct a mixed use building with, as I recall, all affordable apartments.

Art
Art
6 months ago
Reply to  Observer

Thanks! News to me, and welcome at that!

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
6 months ago

We have a glut of un-affordable luxury housing and then a substantial yet undetermined number of units that have been pulled for “extended stay” forms of Air BnB. We can change our residential zoning to maximize development but that often comes at the cost of demolition of older buildings that contain the most of our affordable rent controlled units and are home to large number of long term tenants who can’t afford to move elsewhere. The most affordable home is generally the place you are living. While we want to create moderate & affordable housing opportunities, we need to be… Read more »

Last edited 6 months ago by Steve Martin
WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

No one has a fundamental right to live in weho.

Last edited 6 months ago by WehoFan
Steve Martin
Steve Martin
6 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

True in the absolute sense but the residents founded this City to protect themselves from being pushed out of West Hollywood by skyrocketing rents. A City should also be a community and you can’t foster a community when there is a high turn over of residents due to unaffordable rents. West Hollywood is more than a collection of buildings, bars and night clubs.

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Disagree with changing zoning laws to maximize development – That’s penalizing residents.

Chloe Ross
5 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

Tourist trap??!

Is the object of WeHo to become a tourist attraction? Or as Nabokov said so eloquently… “And the cars and the stars and the barmen”.

Dr Meow Meow
Dr Meow Meow
6 months ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

I’d love to see the city require developers to include workforce housing. If they want to build another stupid hotel on Sunset require them make 25% of the space apartments for people who earn 40-75k per year. If we become a community of super rich and section 8 only we will deteriorate rapidly.

NOT SO FAST!
NOT SO FAST!
6 months ago

I love Wehoville, but this story is factually incorrect. Indeed, the City Council VOTED NOT to adopt the Housing Element, a part of the General Plan. The City is now out of compliance with State Law. This has huge implications! West Hollywood will be deprived of Federal Block Grant funding and cannot enforce its Zoning Code, because it is not in alignment with State law. Some projects may be approved “by right.”

#SEND IN THE ATTORNEYS
#SEND OUT THE CLOWNS!

Update Please
Update Please
6 months ago
Reply to  NOT SO FAST!

Please tell us exactly what your authority is. The public deserves to know the fine points and steps to take during the requested 12 month time period briefly articulated in the article.

NOT SO FAST!
NOT SO FAST!
6 months ago
Reply to  Update Please

California Government Code 65000 et.seq. You will see. I will get you a further update. John D’saster montioned this. The worst part is that our ignorant City Attorney did not step-in to try to ensure that the Counsel did was to not make a bad situation worse. However, that is what you get when you have a bunch of “know nothings” pick a less than experienced Attorney to represent a very complex 1.9 square mile city. #RFP for City Attorney Representation. And, don’t blame Staff; David Wilson is excellent and unlike his predecessor a man with integrity.

Chloe Ross
5 months ago
Reply to  NOT SO FAST!

Because Why???

Chloe Ross
5 months ago
Reply to  NOT SO FAST!

And Because why? Because we Do Not employ our own City Attorney. We farm this seemingly casual part of government to a “firm” in Hooterville. If all the jobs that should be “in house” this is it. You know…the legal dept???

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago

Why are they so scared of holding meetings in public?

Dawn Lacey
Dawn Lacey
6 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

Because they are as strong as a public school teacher. Covid is still too scary to return! Need 4th booster ASAP. And still wear your mask on SMB (outdoors!).

Enough!
Enough!
6 months ago
Reply to  Dawn Lacey

They are just scared of facing the public in person.

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Enough!

Correct!

Randy
Randy
6 months ago
Reply to  Dawn Lacey

No, they tried at the first meeting in March and there was a big staff screw-up, resulting in cancellation of the meeting all-together. They are trying again, next meeting.

WehoFan
WehoFan
6 months ago
Reply to  Randy

They had 2 years to get it together. They’re scared.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
6 months ago
Reply to  WehoFan

I’d be shocked if you actually went to the meeting.

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