In Kalnel Gardens, LLC v. City of Los Angeles, (2016) 3 Cal.App.5th 927, the court of appeal held that affordable housing requirements set forth in the Density Bonus Act (Gov. Code § 65915 et seq.) and the Mello Act (Gov. Code § 65590 et seq.) were superseded by development restrictions set forth in the California Coastal Act (Pub. Resources Code § 30001 et seq.). The subject project included five new duplexes and five new single family homes in an old neighborhood in Venice comprised mostly of single-story 1920s-era bungalows. The project also included density bonus concessions under the City’s density bonus ordinance, including higher rooflines and shorter setbacks. Plaintiffs argued that the project violated the Coastal Act because its height, density, setbacks and other visual and physical characteristics were out of character of the existing neighborhood.
The applicable section of the Coastal Act provides that the design of new developments protect scenic views and be “visually compatible with the character of the surrounding areas.” (Pub. Resources Code § 30251.) The L.A. Planning Commission denied the application and the City Council affirmed the decision of the Planning Commission. The developer appealed, arguing that the state affordable housing requirements referenced above superseded Coastal Act provisions, but the court disagreed. It held that the Density Bonus Act was expressly subordinate to Coastal Act restrictions. If further held that the Mello Act’s affordable housing requirements, while not subordinate to the Coastal Act per se, should be applied provided that those housing projects abide by the Coastal Act’s overall protective provisions.
©2016 Miles J. Dolinger. This article is not intended to and does not constitute legal advice or a solicitation for the formation of an attorney-client relationship.
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