Year One of L.A.'s 'Transit Oriented Communities Affordable Housing Incentives Program'

After one year in action, the Transit Oriented Communities Affordable Housing Incentives Program has enabled a rare feat in Los Angeles: new development.

2 minute read

September 10, 2018, 9:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Fotos593 / Shutterstock

The Transit Oriented Communities Affordable Housing Incentives Program (TOC) has been in place for a year in Los Angeles, and Craig Lawson and Jason Lopata have been keeping track of how the program has shaped the city for their work as land use consultants.

As noted by Lawson and Lopata, the TOC program is a component of the housing package approved by voters with Measure JJJ in 2016. "The objective of the TOC program is twofold: to encourage the development of more affordable housing, and to cluster more of the City’s future growth in the vicinity of transit stations, making these investments worthwhile by providing the new trains with their riders."

According to their analysis, the program has had a significant effect in the city's capacity to develop new housing. "Based on filings as of June 30, 2018, the City has received applications for 112 TOC projects, which would yield 5,571 residential units, of which 1,145 are reserved as affordable," write Lawson and Lopata. "There have been an additional 83 Tier Verification Requests, the first step before a project makes its formal TOC request, as of a June 8, 2018 memo [pdf] by the Department of City Planning."

Lawson and Lopata are familiar with the changes in the process achieved by the TOC program, having recently secured approval for a TOC project at 900 S. Vermont Avenue in the Koreatown neighborhood in Los Angeles. "The project…calls for the construction of a six-story building featuring 193 residential units – 20 of which would be designated as Extremely Low Income Restricted Affordable Dwelling Units, located above approximately 20,656 square feet of commercial space on the ground level."

That experience also offers Lawson and Lopata the perspective to recommend improvements that could achieve even more development (affordable housing included) and strengthen the program in the face of emerging threats.

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