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Bill that would allow cities to mandate more low-income rental housing clears Assembly

A project from Los Angeles developer Geoff Palmer under construction in 2014. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)
A project from Los Angeles developer Geoff Palmer under construction in 2014. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A measure that would allow local governments to force developers to include more low-income housing within their projects passed the Assembly Thursday.

Assemblyman Richard Bloom (D-Santa Monica), the bill's author, said his legislation would provide more low-income housing at a time when soaring costs have led to a statewide crisis.

"Given our state’s severe housing crisis it is critical we give our local governments every possibly tool to address affordable housing needs," Bloom said.

But Assemblyman Matthew Harper (R-Huntington Beach) argued that the bill would raise costs for developers and therefore reduce their ability to produce the broad housing stock the state needs to control prices.

"The problem is bills like this make it harder for the market to be able to meet supply needs in the state of California," Harper said.

The bill would allow cities to create policies that require developers to reserve a certain percentage of their projects for low-income residents or pay a fee. The measure was in response to a court case filed by Los Angeles developer Geoff Palmer who contended that the city of Los Angeles' housing policy violated state law prohibiting the expansion of rent control.

Should Bloom's bill become law, cities would be allowed to implement these policies on rental developments. 

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