The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is an extremely well-funded Los Angeles-based non-profit that now engages in some of the most pernicious anti-housing activities in California. The organization recently challenged the approval by the City of Los Angeles of a 26-story mixed-use building within the area covered by the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan. The project includes 200 dwelling units, of which 5% would be reserved for very-low income households, and 7,000 square feet of commercial space.
In conjunction with a Hollywood NIMBY group known as Coalition to Preserve LA, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation filed a writ petition against Los Angeles on the ground that the City’s approval of the project violated the “15 percent requirement” in the Community Redevelopment Law because the City did not commit 15% of the residential units to affordable housing. The provision at issue in the Community Redevelopment Law includes certain housing affordability provisions, including one that requires that at least 15 percent of all new and substantially rehabilitated dwelling units developed within a project area be available at affordable housing cost to, and occupied by, persons and families of low or moderate income. The CRL plainly specifies that this requirement applies “in the aggregate . . . and not to each individual case of rehabilitation, development, or construction of dwelling units.”
In AIDS Healthcare Foundation v. City of Los Angeles, __ Cal.App.5th __ (2022), the Second District Court of Appeal affirmed a trial court judgment denying the petition. The Court agreed with the City that the Dissolution Law, which dissolved redevelopment agencies in 2011, rendered the 15 percent requirement inoperative and further agreed that even if the requirement had remained operative, it does not apply to the developer’s “individual case of development.”
The Court also rejected the petitioners’ argument that the City, as the redevelopment agency’s successor, is not limited to the statutory powers previously available to former redevelopment agencies under the Community Redevelopment Law and that the 15 percent requirement could be met by the exercise of the City’s “inherent police power.” The Court recognized that the City’s police power is constitutionally granted, not inherent, and that former redevelopment agencies derived their existence and authority from the Community Redevelopment Law. Former redevelopment agencies did not have general police powers. The Court thus held that “[n]othing in that law authorized former redevelopment agencies to invoke the police powers constitutionally granted to counties and cities.”
And the Court rejected the petitioners’ argument that even if the 15 percent requirement in the Community Redevelopment Law is inoperative, the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan includes a similar 15 percent requirement that appear to remain in full force and effect. The Court recognized that the redevelopment agency was dissolved by the Dissolution Law and nothing in the Hollywood Redevelopment Plan imposed any affordable housing obligations on the City.
Finally, the Court rejected the petitioners’ argument that the project developer can be required to provide 15 percent of its units as affordable housing in order for the City to comply with the requirements of the Community Redevelopment Law. The Court reasoned that this argument not only erroneously assumes that the 15 percent requirement survived the Dissolution Law, but also ignores the statutory provision that the 15 percent requirement applies only “in the aggregate . . . and not to each individual case of rehabilitation, development, or construction of dwelling units.”
AIDS Healthcare Foundation is a straightforward application of the law to the facts. The case is important, however, for confirming that redevelopment agencies really are dead and the legal requirements that applied to them—including the 15 percent requirement—are inoperative.
Questions? Please contact Bryan W. Wenter, AICP of Miller Starr Regalia.
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