Housing supply

California rewrote commercial zoning to boost housing supply. How will this affect Long Beach? • Long Beach Post News

The two laws, Assembly Bill 2011 and Senate Bill 6, mark a dramatic change in housing rules by essentially undoing local zoning to allow residential construction in office and commercial areas both that developers meet certain affordability, environmental and labor requirements.

In Long Beach, commercial property owners are broadly supportive of the laws, which could encourage more construction at a time when it’s increasingly difficult to make a profit on any business or commercial project, according to Vice Vice-President Juan Huizar. -president of the Long Beach Commercial Real Estate Council.

“The best use of these old, dilapidated buildings is no longer a new commercial building. This is simply not the case and we have plenty of them. … There literally isn’t enough housing, he said. “I like the idea of ​​providing new housing for low-income people. …I think it’s something that doesn’t exist, it’s very rare and we need more of it.

Both laws will come into force on July 1, 2023, but it remains to be seen whether they will have a significant impact on housing at the local level.

“This law could well have dramatic impacts in communities across California. However, the impact in Long Beach is expected to be limited,” Development Services spokesman Richard de la Torre said.

A map detailing where the city currently allows commercial developments but not mixed-use developments with housing includes parts of North and East Long Beach, but the city does not expect AB 2011 and SB 6 to be used on those sites even when they will be available. .

Red markings indicate where the city allows commercial but not mixed-use buildings. Courtesy of Long Beach Development Services.

AB 2011 and SB 6 both set labor and accessibility criteria that developers must meet if they want to take advantage of the new zoning rules, and, “We expect medium-sized projects high-rise buildings are most likely to support these wages and affordability provisions,” de la Torre said. “However, the city already allows mixed use in the downtown and Long Beach Boulevard corridor, where larger projects are allowed.”

Market conditions will ultimately determine whether builders take advantage of the new rules locally, de la Torre said, but a law that includes a similar process, SB 35, has only been used twice in Long Beach since its enactment. in 2017 – both for 100% affordable projects.

What exactly do the laws do?

Unions and affordable housing advocates have reached an agreement to pass SB 6 and AB 2011. Both measures aim to incentivize and increase housing density in commercial areas near transit centers and daily services to help achieve the state’s environmental objectives and avoid sprawl.

Developers will now have the choice between meeting strict labor requirements and criteria or additional affordability requirements for their projects if they want to build housing in commercial areas.

AB 2011 requires developers to meet affordable housing requirements of at least 15% and adhere to strict environmental requirements that will lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions and water use for new developments in exchange for a streamlined approval process for their project.

Analysis released in August by Urban Footprint, a platform that analyzes city data for urban developers and local governments, found that AB 2011 could significantly improve the environmental impact of new housing. Households along the trade corridors affected by the bill are expected to use 40% less water, travel 33% fewer miles and emit up to 45% less greenhouse gas emissions less, according to the analysis.

The analysis also found that “the commercial corridors targeted by the bill could provide up to 2.4 million new homes, including up to 400,000 affordable homes for low- and middle-income households across the country. State”.

SB 6 puts unions and middle-income housing as a priority, demanding union-scale wages for construction and ensuring they are part of a “skilled and trained workforce,” essentially ensuring that most workers are unionized.

While Development Services generally opposes legislation that limits local control, they said the effort to rezone underutilized space is in line with the city’s so-called Zone In: City Core plan. which will determine the appearance and character of a significant portion of Central Long Beach which extends from Magnolia Avenue to Ximeno Avenue near the roundabout and includes nearly all parcels of land between Tenth Street and Pacific Coast Highway.

The initiative is currently in the third and final phase of community engagement. It aims to update zoning regulations to support the development of new housing and mixed-use buildings to create a neighborhood that is more walkable, pedestrian and bike friendly. The zoning changes are expected to facilitate the creation of more than 3,000 affordable and market-priced housing units in the area, according to Development Services.

The Zone In: City Core plan, the city believes, will have a bigger impact on its development than the state’s housing package.

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