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Advocates Planning Aug. 2 City Hall Rally to Demand Inclusions to Draft General Plan Housing Element

Published on Monday, July 26, 2021 | 5:00 am

A coalition of local housing advocates will meet at 3 p.m. Monday in front of Pasadena City Hall to announce plans for a community rally prior to the next City Council meeting set for Aug. 2.

Nine civic organizations — All Saints Church, Making Housing and Community Happen, the NAACP, the League of Women Voters-Pasadena Area, Pasadena For All, Pasadena Organizing for Progress (POP!), Democrats of Pasadena Foothills, Safe Streets Coalition, and Abundant Housing LA — plan to rally at 3 p.m Aug. 2, before the 4:30 p.m. City Council meeting where elected officials are scheduled to review the Draft General Plan Housing Element.

“Councilmembers, Planning Commissioners, Housing Task Force members, and even city staff have conceded that the draft is vague and mainly a continuation of the status quo at a time when thousands of Pasadena renters face eviction, tens of thousands struggle with the rent, and young families are priced out of homeownership,” said Ed Washatka, one of the coalition’s leaders and a POP! board member.

The rally will feature an eight-foot scroll signed by coalition members and supporters highlighting 25 specific policies coalition members are demanding be incorporated into the Housing Element by the City Council before it is submitted to the State Department of Housing and Community Development for review.

The 25 demands include:

  • Just cause eviction and anti-harassment tenant protections.
  • Rent control to stop pricing tenants out of their homes.
  • Rental registry of all rental properties to ensure transparency.
  • Providing for a tenant’s right to legal counsel.
  • Amending zoning code to permit churches and houses of faith to build affordable housing on excess land.
  • Incentivizing building affordable accessory dwelling units (ADUs) and junior ADUs by removing restrictions and fees.
  • Removing parking minimums citywide to lower the cost of housing.
  • Creating an affordable housing overlay zone.
  • Providing a local density bonus program near transit.
  • Allowing housing in commercially zoned areas and adaptive reuse of commercial buildings.
  • Streamlining the cumbersome approval process for all deed-restricted, affordable housing, and permanent supportive housing.
  • Enacting a form-based code to focus on building form, not the number of units.
  • Removing regulatory barriers to promote “Missing Middle Housing.”
  • Dedicating vacant and underutilized public land (city, school district, etc.) for affordable housing.
  • Enacting a dedicated funding source for an affordable housing fund (impact fees, housing bond, a vacancy tax, property transfer tax, and/or vacancy tax).
  • Unbundling parking cost from rent cost.
  • Increasing general funds to the housing department so that it is fully staffed to be open to the public during all City business days.
  • Forgiving back rents /reimburse economic losses due to COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Ending homelessness
  • Providing “bridge housing” or “tiny homes” and supportive services to the unhoused.
  • Expanding the supply of permanent supportive housing and interim/transitional housing.
  • Creating community land trusts to ensure affordable housing and ownership of the land.
  • Establishing city purchase mechanisms and covenants (preserve naturally occurring affordable housing and prevent the displacement of low-income households).
  • Enforcing existing codes. (Lax code enforcement results in poor living conditions.)
  • Mandating on-site affordable housing in the inclusionary housing ordinance.
  • Ensuring new affordable housing is built throughout the community.

Church officials can already build on their property provided they follow city guidelines, and ending homelessness has been a goal of the city for decades. The city has also started several programs to help homeowners building accessory dwelling units (ADUs). 

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