City of Los Angeles Adopts New Expedited Processing for 100% Affordable Housing Projects

On December 16, 2022, several days after declaring a state of emergency regarding homelessness for the City of Los Angeles, Mayor Karen Bass issued Executive Directive 1, which intends to dramatically speed up the City’s review and approval of 100% affordable housing projects and homeless shelters. 

Importantly, Executive Directive 1 declares that qualifying projects are exempt from City discretionary review processes and are to be approved ministerially under very short timelines. Specifically, City departments are instructed to provide project applicants with all comments and/or required changes within 30 days of submitting a complete application and issue all approvals for such projects within 60 days of submitting a complete application. 

Other important details of the directive include:

  • Under this ministerial approval process, no environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act is required, nor are public hearings or appeal periods imposed.
  • A qualifying project may utilize the density permitted for the site either by the City’s zoning code or the Community Plan, whichever is greater, and may also utilize State density bonus law and associated incentives, concessions, and waivers of development standards to obtain relief from objective development standards. However, projects seeking a zone variance, zone change, or General Plan amendment are not eligible for this streamlined approval process.
  • City departments are further directed to process building permit clearances and utility releases for qualifying projects within five business days for 100% affordable projects and within two business days for homeless shelters.

The City’s Planning and Housing Departments will soon be issuing guidance regarding the implementation of Executive Directive 1. We are closely monitoring the City’s ongoing efforts to address its housing needs and expedite housing approvals; if you have any questions about how these efforts may apply to your development projects, please reach out to one of us at Rand Paster & Nelson.