Earlier this year, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission voted to recommend approval of a new community plan for Boyle Heights - a key milestone in the more than 15-year-long effort to establish new zoning rules and land use designations for the neighborhood. Pending final adoption of that document, the community's representative on the Los Angeles City Council is seeking a temporary halt to all development efforts tied to rent stabilized housing within the plan's boundaries.

"As the Boyle Heights Community Plan update proceeds through the legislative process, there is a compelling and urgent need to establish interim measures to preserve existing affordable housing units at-risk of permanent removal from the rental housing market through evictions and demolitions in Boyle Heights," reads a motion introduced on August 30 by 14th District Councilmember Kevin De Leon. "An interim measure to control the issuance of building and demolition permits is necessary to protect the public safety, health and welfare."

De Leon's motion, which has been referred to the Council's Planning and Land Use Management Committee for review, calls on the Planning Department and City Attorney to draft an interim control ordinance which would prohibit the Department of Building and Safety from issuing demolition, building, grading, and other types of permits for any properties currently occupied by housing subject to the city's rent stabilization ordinance until the adoption of the new community plan. According to the Boyle Heights Community Plan Update page on the Planning Department website, that is currently expected to occur in late 2023 - although recent updates to the Downtown and Hollywood plans have proceeded more slowly than scheduled.

Draft land use mapCity of Los Angeles

The proposed interim control ordinance would include an urgency clause, making it effective immediately after adoption, and run for an initial period of 45 days. The Council would then have the option of extending the ordinance's effective period by 10 months and 15 days via resolution, and then for an additional year, or until the adoption of the new community plan. De Leon has also requested a report which complies and evaluates data on demolition and building permit activity which removes rent stabilized housing from the market, as well as new construction projects built between 2010 and 2023 in the Boyle Heights Community Plan area.

Located east across the Los Angeles River from Downtown, Boyle Heights has found itself in the cross-hairs of the city's demand for more housing - but also the displacement of long-term residents. In proposing the interim control ordinance, De Leon cites data stating that an estimated 15,000 units - or 65 percent of all the housing in Boyle Heights - is subject to the rent stabilization ordinance. At the same time, De Leon states that 35 percent of demolitions in Boyle Heights involve rent stabilized units.

While the proposed interim control ordinance would target Boyle Heights, the loss of rent stabilized housing has been a topic of citywide discussion for years. While recent state legislation has placed greater limits on the loss of rent stabilized units, calls have persisted for reforms to the Ellis Act, which permits evictions of rental tenants when withdrawing units from the market and the Costa–Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which limits the applicability of L.A.'s rent stabilization ordinance to properties built before October 1978.

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