Dave Rand, an attorney at Rand, Paster, & Nelson LLP presented about using the builder’s remedy and how to maneuver new building projects in different localities in the face of state and housing element changes. Dave discussed his team’s success in Santa Monica and how they were able to get the timing and politics of their project to work in their favor. Dave ended his presentation with some big takeaways and implications of the builder’s remedy. He said that now localities have to take their housing element commitment and the RENA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) decision very seriously, or they will face serious consequences—which is paving the way for more housing projects to actually get approved and built throughout California.
Seamus Garrity Lighthouse Public Affairs presented LA Councilwoman (CD-5) Katy Yaroslavsky, discussed the issues her district and LA broadly are facing in terms of housing shortages and policy changes and education campaigns that need to be made. She was also accompanied by Zachary Warma, a part of Katy’s office focusing on housing and homelessness in CD-5. Katy’s district provides over half a million jobs within LA, but almost all of the workers in her district must commute from far outside the city—she said that there needs to be more of a focus on lower and middle income housing, as much of the housing that’s being built now is market rate and has short-term tenants, and hasn’t helped resolve the problems her district is facing. However, Katy mentioned that many of her constituents don’t realize that she doesn’t have complete purview over many developments, which is another big issue and opportunity for education and development campaigns. Many issues Katy is faced with are based on policy changes that need to happen at the state level, but many of her constituents don’t realize this and are only familiar with their local officials—which ends up putting undue pressure on local officials and prevents people from getting to the heart of these problems. This is especially pertinent now because these problems are coming to a head with the new housing element cycle in LA because the city must rezone to accommodate 250k new buildings in the next few years (you can check their strategy out here).