Group Organized to Lobby for Integrated Affordable Housing in WeHo

Local activist Larry Block has organized a group to lobby for integrated affordable housing in West Hollywood. The group, Residents for Affordable Integrated Development (RAID), already has assembled several dozen locally prominent supporters.

“Our goal is to integrate affordable housing throughout the city,” Block said on his Facebook page. “We do not support developers rights to pay in-lieu fees to avoid building affordable housing on-site. Our goal is to open up the conversation on creating more affordable housing through public-private partnerships.”

Larry Block, The Block Party, West Hollywood City Council candidate
Larry Block

Block said RAID also will work to “develop a parallel space to West Hollywood Housing Corporation so we can meet future housing needs together though public private partnerships.”

Block’s organization will likely give a voice at City Council and Planning Commission meetings to supporters of developing more affordable housing and integrating into new buildings. To date anti-development activists have dominated the discussion by the public at those meetings. A group called United Residents for Responsible Development (UNRED) was organized to fight the Kings Road project and its leader, Cynthia Blatt, since has spoken out against other development projects that she sees as too large. Blatt also has said that the city does not need more affordable housing, a statement she has stepped back from in recent weeks.

Block said he was inspired to organize RAID by events such as the opposition to the 826 N. Kings Rd. project. In order to win neighborhood support for the project, the developer reduced its size from five stories to four stories by eliminating the affordable housing units required by city law. Instead the developer paid $1 million into a city trust fund that is used to fund affordable housing, an option allowed by the law in lieu of building the affordable units.

West Hollywood requires that any project with 10 or more housing units make 20 percent of them available to low- or moderate-income people or contribute to the city’s housing trust fund. Several anti-development activists have pushed in recent months for an emphasis on the “in lieu” fees rather than building low-income housing in new buildings in their neighborhoods.

Block’s Facebook page lists ¬†supporters of RAID. They include Sam Borelli, a city Human Services commissioner; Richard Grossi, former owner of Eleven nightclub; Marcy Norton, chair of the city’s Public Safety Commission; Rita Norton, a local advocate for seniors; Manny Rodriguez, former vice president of the West Hollywood West Residents Association and a member of the city’s Public Facilities Commission, and Rick Watts, former chair of the city’s Disabilities Advisory Board.


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joetheplummber
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joetheplummber

Cathy,

This article is not about “you” or “them.”

“The change a person so opposes is the change held deeply in their soul.” Anonymous.

Larry Block
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Larry Block

There have been more than 5 projects since the election that have opted to go back to the drawing board and utilize the option for the in-lieu fee. In the past few years in-lieu fees have been used sparingly. I’m for in-lieu fees on special occasions where there is a great public benefit. The King Roads project was 2 very young developers, brothers, who caved to the noise of a well organized opposition based on the the premise..of the historic nature of the neighborhood, Schindler House and Charlie Hotel…. they call it a working together because the group succeeded in… Read more »

Cathy
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Cathy

I had not planned on commenting on this but I really am discusted with what is completely missing in this article and comments….and that is, that nothing has to be etched in stone! Seems that everything in our city gets boiled down to “us against them”! Please people, allow for this novel idea….. In-lieu fees versus inclusionary housing should depend on the project…it need not be all or nothing…. Developers are being dictated to and in turn are dictating to the community. Whether one agrees or not, 826 Kings road was a victory because the community and the developers worked… Read more »

jeffery
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jeffery

Statistically speaking, unless the inclusionary set aside of 20% isn’t raised to reflect the reality that is the City’s demographics, which include a larger than average rate of disabled citizens, some living with HIV/AIDS, and a larger than average rate of seniors of which a large segment are Soviet Jewish Immigrants, and regardless of ‘in lieu’ fees or even holding developers feet to the fire to include at least this 20% figure, then the ‘very low,’ ‘low,’ and ‘moderate’ housing stock will continue to fall over the next 10 or 15 years. Saying that you want to include 20% of… Read more »

Larry Block
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Larry Block

Marcy describes our conversation as a brief phone call but she failed to add we sat at the Beverly Hills rehab Friday night and talked about this article and the others who were supporting it. At that time I told her if any confusion glad to take her name off the list. And she said leave it on until she reads up on what was said first. So when she says at no time that is not true. Our conversation was brief on one occasion but we speak almost everyday. When a friend you speak to almost everyday takes to… Read more »

Marcy Norton
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Marcy Norton

While I certainly appreciate that Larry Block’s heart is in the right place as far as his desire to see more affordable housing come into being as soon as possible in our fair City, I need to set the record straight about his inclusion of me and my mother, Rita Norton, in the list of supporters of his organization that appears in this article and on the facebook account devoted to his cause. At no time did I or my mother ever give Larry permission or authorization of any kind to use our names in connection with this cause or… Read more »

SaveWeho
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SaveWeho

We also need to pay very close attention to the unit distribution in these Inclusionary Units. Its not fair to create a “poor floor”. The city council allowed this to happen at the 8899 Beverly project that will place all 15 Inclusionary units on one floor and not provide laundry. And I highly suspect they wont be able to park either. This is not “inclusionary” to supply a second rate janitor closet for people to live in. We have to be diligent to not only demand that 20% of every project include units for low income…but we have to make… Read more »

Manny
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Manny

Hey Snake……FYI, there is no, and never was, a West Hollywood West Homeowners Association.

…..and FYI, the West Hollywood West neighborhood (mostly SFHs) will have 15 affordable units in the new super-sized and monolithic 8899 Beverly Blvd building. There should have been 20, or MORE, affordable units equitably spread throughout that bloated 161,000 sf building. But an in-lieu fee prevented more units from being built.

But you know all that.

Larry Block
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Larry Block

Ahh Cassandra.. yes I commended Cynthia Blatt and her effort. The premise was the historic nature of the Schindler House, and the Charlie Hotel and parking. But that was turned into a war against the city’s inclusionary housing program. There are so many people who asked not to be on the list.. for the same reasons you hide your name. You spew lies… under a false name and pretense. The planning meeting you speak of above was complimenting the end of the battle and a great effort to bring about a discussion of an important issue. I never wore a… Read more »

One of Cassandra's Snakes
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One of Cassandra's Snakes

@Save WeHo, Excellent idea. I hope RAID is not opposed to buildings with more than a scant few inclusionary units. I hope all listed on Larry Block’s fb page (13 names, as opposed to a few dozen, although it is rumored that several of the names were NOT willing participants) will organize and rally for a building at Crescent Heights. Maybe the Melrose Triangle would be a good spot for affordable housing and somewhere in the West Hollywood West Homeowners Assoc. region, would be excellent to prevent clustering and isolating our fellow citizens, who should be able to live anywhere,… Read more »

Lynn
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Lynn

@SaveWeHo: Not a bad idea. Either rework Lorcan O’Herlihy’s design or open it up to a design competition.

SaveWeho
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SaveWeho

Well the city bought the Walgreens parcel of land on Crescent Hghts and SMB. Its a huge city block. Major intersection, access to transportation in all directions. Lets push to build a 5-6 story mixed-use building for affordable units. No excuses.