Mayor Karen Bass Issues Directive to Maximize Use of City Property for Temporary and Permanent Housing

City agencies have been authorized to install temporary or permanent housing with on-site supportive services in designated sites, exempted from local zoning regulations. 

Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass issued her third executive directive Friday, aiming to maximize the use of City-owned property for temporary and permanent housing as the city works toward a more urgent and strategic approach to addressing the homelessness crisis in L.A.

“I am making sure that the City of Los Angeles holds nothing back when it comes to bringing people inside and providing them with the support they need to stay inside for good,” Mayor Bass said. “To save lives, restore our neighborhoods and house Angelenos immediately, we must urgently prioritize underutilized existing city-owned property.”

The Directive requires that within 20 days, the City Administrative Officer’s Asset Management and Development Services must deliver an inventory of all unused and underutilized city property that could be used for temporary or permanent housing with on-site services to the Mayor. This list should include rights of way and any other relevant covenants, easements, leases, land use restrictions, revenue contracts or regulatory restrictions.

Within 30 days of receiving a formal assessment for sites suitable for habitation, prepared by the Chief of Housing and Homeless Solutions and various relevant departments, the Mayor’s Office shall designate which type of housing should be built on each location. Such assessment shall address each site’s viability for habitation, including a site layout, access to infrastructure (including water, power, and sewer access), contamination risks, liability risks, the distance between each site and other residential uses, and the time and resources needed to prepare the site for habitation.

Any new structures constructed on designated sites will be non-congregate shelters with individual bathrooms where possible. All sites should also include any necessary amenities. 

This order does not apply to recreational sites utilized by public recreation or trail areas being used for public recreation.

Under the directive, City departments, bureaus, and agencies have been authorized to install temporary or permanent housing with on-site supportive services in designated sites. The construction, emergency installation, use, and operation of these dwellings are exempted from local zoning regulations and other ordinances such as project review. 

To expedite progress, construction activities related to temporary or permanent housing on designated sites are exempted from public welfare regulations. Site plan reviews and approvals have been waived for all related dwellings, while parking requirements are similarly excused. 

City departments and bureaus must now prioritize permit applications for review within 30 days rather than consecutively reviewing them. 

Bass’ directive also requires that the DWP, the Los Angeles World Airports, and the Los Angeles Harbor Department shall establish guidelines for identifying vacant, surplus, or underutilized property on a forward-going basis, and shall develop a process by which each of those departments shall regularly notify the Mayor and CAO of vacant, surplus, or underutilized properties.

The Mayor’s office also will request that other jurisdictions that control property in the City consider adopting policies similar to those outlined in this order to make the property available for temporary or permanent housing with on-site supportive services. Such jurisdictions include Los Angeles County, LA Metro, Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans), and other departments or agencies of the State of California.

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