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All the Explanations I’ve Heard from City Hall are a Sham

NEIGHBORHOOD POLITICS--It is not an exaggeration to say EVERYONE in my district, constituents and councilmembers, who've seen the figures for how much these HHH developments are costing want to know why their tax dollars are going to build bridge or permanent supportive housing at costs that exceed what developers are charging to build luxury condos in the area.   

I've looked at the bid sheets and it is completely ridiculous.  Whether it's the bids or the actual contracted and green-lighted developments, no one has come in below $400,000 PER UNIT.   

All the explanations I've heard so far from city officials are a sham, so I won't bother with detailing their arguments here.   

The bottom line is: the city is giving away land for these HHH developments for free, and these developments are still costing more than what developers are charging to build luxury condos in the area. Land is one of the most significant expenses in new development in LA, so these units should be significantly less expensive to build than other new developments. 

I don't have to remind you that the city council has already egregiously violated the public trust in pay-to-play / quid-pro-quo schemes with developers as currently being investigated by the FBI, but I mention it nonetheless to let you know that my constituents want answers, they are starting to think the price of these HHH units and the other pay-to-play schemes being investigated by the FBI are connected.  Can you blame them?   

There really is no reason why these units are so expensive - if there is additional regulatory statutes for building these units versus other types of units in the area, the City Council should pass a motion on temporary relief from some of these so we can build these HHH units at a reasonable cost.   

Though, from talking with people in the city Planning Department, architects, developers and lawyers in the field, there are no additional restrictions for HHH units that would add any significant cost to the project. 

So please explain to me, so I can explain to my constituents and my neighborhood council board, what my Councilman Mitch O'Farrell and the rest of the City Council are doing to bring down these prices and not blindly give away my constituents' tax dollars to projects that could be completed for at least half the cost or less than what we are currently paying for them?

 

(Keith Cornella, Hollywood Studio District Neighborhood Council Councilman, Planning and Land Use Management Committee Outreach Committee.)

-cw