Pasadena Explores Idea of Converting Hotel, Motel Properties into Affordable Housing Sites

Published : Tuesday, July 24, 2018 | 4:23 AM

Pasadena is checking out the idea of converting hotels and motels into affordable housing for low-income residents.

The City’s Department of Planning and Community Development will present the concept and research about how it might work to the Planning Commission on Wednesday evening.

Besides benefiting low-income renters, allowing the conversion of older hotels and motels into refurbished affordable housing could offer an incentive for their owners to sell the properties to housing developers, according to City planning documents.

In those documents, Planning Director David Reyes said his Department will be asking for guidance and input from members of the Commission on how to proceed with proposing amendments to the Zoning Code that would allow such conversions.

Reyes said the City of Pasadena currently has at least 65 hotels and motels, most of them located within Specific Plan areas or other commercial districts.

He said his department looks at all sites that have an existing hotel or motel as eligible for conversion into affordable housing, but actually converting them into another use as low-cost affordable housing would require amending the Zoning Code, something that the department is now preparing.

The staff report reflected on the current state of homelessness and housing affordability in Pasadena, where about 43 percent of owners and 51 percent of renters “overpay for housing,” and where lower-income households overpay at a higher rate, according to his Department’s research.

Citing a portion of the 2006-2009 Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy, the staff report said 63 percent of renters with incomes that are between 50 to 80 percent of the median family income overpay for housing in Pasadena, while 87 percent whose incomes are between zero and 30 percent of the median family income overpay – meaning a large portion of the renting population are at risk of becoming homeless, especially if rents increase or major life events, such as job loss or medical expense, occur .

The Planning Commission earlier discussed the issue at length in their June 13 meeting.

Wednesday, Reyes will also present insights on how other cities and jurisdictions, including Los Angeles, have worked on the issue.

The Commission will meet starting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at City Council chambers at City Hall.

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