Westside Los Angeles Rezoning Plan for Multifamily Housing

Westside Los Angeles Rezoning Plan for Multifamily Housing

We all know that Los Angeles is in desperate need of affordable housing. But did you know that several neighborhoods in West Los Angeles could be rezoned? Some would allow fourplexes alongside single-family homes, while others could be zoned for duplexes or small-scale apartments as soon as next year. 

Why is this happening now?

It's been going on for a while, actually. The city is required to update its Housing element every 8 years and the deadline to complete that was October 2021. It released proposed fixes to the ongoing housing crisis and released the city's "Plan to House LA" which according to the plan, works to -

  • Address the Housing Shortage: Increase the production of new housing, particularly affordable housing.
  • Advance Racial Equity & Access to Opportunity
  • Prevent Displacement
  • Promote Sustainability & Resilience and Environmental Justice through Housing

The plan led to the Housing Element Rezoning Program to address the problems above and the city's mandate from the state to provide more housing. 

According to the city, a Regional Housing Needs Assessment found that to address current and future needs, it must "rezone at least 255,415 units in the next three years and is seeking public input on how best to accomplish this ambitious goal. The draft Rezoning Program proposes an equitable rezoning strategy which will increase density and allowances for housing, particularly in resource-rich neighborhoods, while protecting vulnerable and ecologically sensitive communities."

What do the map designations mean?

  • Low Residential - Single-family homes to fourplexes. One unit to 4 units per lot
  • Low Medium Residential - Duplexes to small-scale apartments
  • Low Neighborhood Residential - Limited local use commercial
  • Medium Residential - Concentration of multi-unit housing
  • Medium Neighborhood Residential - May integrate limited local-serving commercial uses

Click here for full General Plan Land Use Designations

Wait, wasn't there a law that was supposed to automatically change zoning in some areas?

Yes, In January 2022 a new California law went into effect - Senate Bill 9 - that allowed up to four units to be built on a single-family lot. It was reported that it would lead to the demise of California as we know it. In reality, only 211 applications for new units under SB9 were applied for in the city of Los Angeles and only 38 were approved through November of the first year of the law, according to a study by UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation. 

Which neighborhoods are we talking about?

It's happening all over the city. The Westside rezoning proposal is broken up into 4 groups - West Los Angeles, Palms-Mar Vista-Del Rey, Venice, and Westchester-Playa del Rey. The map above shows the lastest draft plan for rezoning.

Where are we in the process now?

In December 2022, the city announced the formation of the 52-member Westside Community Plans Advisory Group made up of community members, residents, business leaders, Neighborhood Councils, and professionals. 

The last Advisory Group meeting was scheduled for April 28, 2023 and the next is scheduled for June 5th. The Planning Department is working with the Advisory Group to begin the draft Environmental Impact Report and reviewing the rezoning maps among other tasks.

The latest information came in the April 2023 Westside Community Plans Update. 

How do community members get involved? 

First, contact your neighborhood council representative. They can tell you if there are any grassroots groups organizing for or against the plans. 

What is the Neighborhood Council? 

From EmpowerLA - "Neighborhood Councils are the closest form of government to the people. They are advisory bodies, who advocate for their communities with City Hall on important issues like development, homelessness, and emergency preparedness. Neighborhood Councils are part of the Los Angeles City government, and have annual budgets funded by taxpayer dollars. Neighborhood Council board members are City officials who are elected by the members of their local communities, but they donate their time as volunteers. The Neighborhood Council system was established in 1999 as a way of ensuring that the City government remains responsive to the different needs and lifestyles of Los Angeles’ rich variety of communities. There are currently 99 Neighborhood Councils in Los Angeles, each serving about 40,000 people."

How do I find my Neighborhood Council representative?

First, you need to find out which Neighborhood Council district you live in. Click here for Empower LA's tool to help you find your council district. 

Where can I find the city's plans?

Here is a link to the latest information on the city Planning Department's Website as of May 3, 2023. 

Here is a link to the overall plan with everything you need to know. 

Want more information? Email Sean McMillan or Jae Wu at [email protected]


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