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Los Angeles’ Housing Crisis and Local Planning Responses: An Evaluation of Inclusionary Zoning and the Transit Oriented Communities Plan as Policy Solutions in Los Angeles

Linna Zhu, Evgeny Burinskiy, Jorge De la Roca, Richard K. Green, Marlon G. Boarnet
Los Angeles has a housing crisis. As a result, in 2016, Los Angeles County voters passed a local ballot measure, Measure JJJ, which created a new inclusionary zoning program near rail transit stations. That program has since performed substantially better, in terms of building permits and time for review, than the previously existing density bonus program. In this paper, the authors will present two analyses. First, evidence indicates that the inclusionary zoning program that flowed from Measure JJJ (called Transit Oriented Communities, or TOC) resulted in almost as many building permits over its shorter life than the longer-lived density bonus program. Second, detailed financial analyses of a hypothetical new residential development across a range of neighborhoods in Los Angeles demonstrate that the combination of density increases and affordability requirements in the TOC program is financially more attractive than exclusively market-rate development in many of the same neighborhoods that saw the largest use of the TOC program. The authors conclude that the TOC program can be a successful method of inclusionary zoning, and they draw policy lessons that can apply elsewhere.