Friday, August 11, 2017 at 9:07 a.m.
During the first half of this decade, Los Angeles gained more than 230,000 residents — and just 40,000 new housing units. That exacerbated an already festering housing crisis, which has made L.A. among the least affordable cities in the country.
Recently, there have been signs of green shoots. Construction cranes dot the skylines of Hollywood and downtown. And statewide, more new housing units were built last year than in any recent year.
But that progress may be about to stall in Los Angeles. A report by the Building Industry Association of Southern California, or BIA, says that applications for new housing units in Los Angeles have fallen dramatically this year.
Tim Piasky, the head of BIA’s Los Angeles chapter, says the main reason for the decrease is Proposition JJJ, which was passed by L.A. voters in November 2016.
“You’ve taken a housing crisis we had, pre-KJJ, and you’ve made it worse,” Piasky says.
The ballot measure mandates that any housing construction project applying for an exemption to the city’s building restrictions (either a zoning change or a General Plan amendment) must designate a certain percentage of its housing units as affordable, meaning they would be rented at a below-market rate. The projects also would have to pay its construction workers the “area wage standard” and meet other work requirements. Proposition JJJ was sponsored by the L.A. County Federation of Labor, an umbrella group for unions in the county. Critics of JJJ said at the time that the measure was designed to force construction projects to hire union workers. They also…
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