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Housing, development experts debate proposed LA City linkage fee on new construction

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A more than two-year-old proposal from Mayor Eric Garcetti to impose a ‘linkage fee’ on new construction is still floating around city hall and, with a hearing Tuesday afternoon in front of the L.A. City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee and a major debate going on across California about solving the affordable housing crisis, the proposal is once again in the spotlight.

If passed, the proposal would levy a $5 per square foot fee on all new commercial construction and a $12 per square foot fee on residential projects, except those with five or fewer units, which will only be charged $1 per square foot. The revenue generated would go into a fund to help developers build more affordable housing in the city.

Supporters say it’s a show that the city truly wants to fix the housing crisis, and the necessity is increased by the amount of federal housing money being cut. Opponents argue it’s already expensive enough to build in the city of Los Angeles and fear that imposing more fees would drive businesses away. Others, still, say that different neighborhoods with different areas and property values might also be disproportionately impacted by the blanket approach the city is taking, imposing the same fee on the whole city. Other cities that have imposed similar fees have different fees for different neighborhoods.

Do you support the idea of a linkage fee on new construction in L.A.? What potential problems do you see it creating for developers? And what about the idea of a ‘one-size-fits-all approach’?


Alan Greenlee, executive director of Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing, an organization that facilitates development of affordable homes across Southern California

Mott Smith, principal with Civic Enterprise Development, a mid-sized developing firm based in L.A., and adjunct professor in the USC Price School of Public Policy