Beverly Hills Judge Rules Against Home Upgrades to Boost Affordable Housing

A judge in Beverly Hills has put a stop to luxury home improvements in the midst of a housing crisis, saying that more affordable housing in the area must come first.

Upgrades Cost More Some Affordable Homes

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For homeowners in Beverly Hills, obtaining a building permit any time soon is going to be difficult. In these luxury, multi-million dollar homes, upgrades often cost upwards of $100,000. But these projects could be on hiatus for a while.

No Permits for Upgrades

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Judge Curtis A. Kin of the LA County Superior Court has issued a ruling that no building permits in Beverly Hills will be issued with the exception of permits for building new affordable homes. This decision has been met with shock and outrage by locals.

Is Housing a Privilege?

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Housing in Beverly Hills might seem to be a luxury afforded only to the very rich. Current homes for sale range from a $900,000 condo with under a thousand square feet of space to an $85 million dollar mansion with nearly 25 thousand square feet and 18 bathrooms.

Ruling Causes Friction

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Judge Kin’s decision has many homeowners and real estate professionals in Beverly Hills up in arms. Appeals have been filed, and for now, requested building permits are still being processed despite the ruling. 

State Pushes for Affordable Housing

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This is not the first attempt at prioritizing affordable housing in the city. The state of California has been asking for cities – even ones occupied by the celebrities and other rich residents that populate them – to expand housing availability to include affordable options for decades.

Pushback From Wealthy Cities

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But exclusive destinations for wealthy living like Beverly Hills have not budged. The population of the city has remained stagnant for over 50 years while the rest of the state has doubled in number of residents.

Laws Require Accessibility, but Compliance Varies

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California law requires that every locality in the state have a plan in place to support population growth. More specifically, the law requires that housing be accessible to people from every income class, which is not the case in Beverly Hills by a long shot.

Beverly Hills Complied – But How?

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In a stunning revelation back in 2018, reports found that Beverly Hills was one of the only places in the state that reached its goal of new affordable homes. 

Shockingly Low Requirements

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The shock came from the reason why they met their assigned quote: Beverly Hills was only required to build three new housing units in eight years, ranging from very-low to moderate income housing.

Changes to Support Growth

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The response that followed led to a renegotiation of the law’s requirements, and in the next cycle, the city’s goal for new affordable housing increased to 3,104 homes. 

Cities Can Follow Law Without Actually Building

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But the caveat is that they are not actually required to build the new residences; they just have to provide zoning for them.

Loopholes: Beverly Hills Looks to Commercial Areas

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Because of this, there was room for finding a loophole, which is what Beverly Hills did. Rather than find space in any of the affluent areas of the city, they zoned commercial areas for mixed-use.

Why the Answer Wasn’t That Simple

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They have not found success with this loophole, however, with officials claiming that there are not enough commercial spaces with room for residential growth, and that the plan was ultimately discriminatory because of its protection of exclusive, wealthy, and mostly white areas.

City Hopes for New Plans to Be Approved

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While they appeal Judge Kin’s decision, new blueprints for affordable housing are being sent into the state. Beverly Hills is hopeful that California will approve their plans and that the whole issue can be put to rest.

Developers Look to Profit on City’s Noncompliance

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In the meantime, developers have seen a new opportunity that they hope to cash in on. Since Beverly Hills is not following requirements, builders have recognized that as long as they include affordable housing in their plans, they will have relative freedom to build what and where they want.

An Urgent Issue in Need of Solving

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The housing crisis throughout the state has created urgency for the issue to be resolved, and officials hope for a peaceful resolution that results in a good outcome for everyone. 

Accessibility Sacrificed in Favor of Environment

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Some who oppose the ruling are prioritizing the look and feel of a wealthy environment over an accessible one, prompting concerns about discrimination. 

Are Low-Density Zoning Laws the Problem?

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Acting as an attempt at minimizing population growth, especially for people in lower income classes, low-density zoning laws have created and exacerbated the problem.

Looking Ahead: California Hopes for Change

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Judge Kin and California officials hope that the new ruling will bring change to Beverly Hills, opening the area up for diversification and providing accessible living to more than just the ultra-wealthy. Results of the appeals and the outcome of developers’ workarounds will ultimately influence what next steps the city takes to comply with state laws.

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The post Beverly Hills Judge Rules Against Home Upgrades to Boost Affordable Housing first appeared on Thrift My Life.

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