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Zone change allows churches, synagogues and mosques to create up to 75 units
Housing in Pasadena can now be planted in “God’s backyard.”

The City Council has voted to allow churches, synagogues and mosques to develop affordable housing under a new zoning amendment, the Pasadena Star-News reported.

Most religious institutions in the city are zoned for commercial use, allowing no room for residential development.

Under the ordinance, affordable housing projects can be built on land with an existing religious facility. Housing can also be built in commercial or multi-family residential zones next to land developed with “an existing religious facility use.”

Projects would be limited to 36 units an acre, with a maximum of 75 housing units, with a minimum of 80 percent of the housing set aside as affordable.

The non-affordable units must be rented to workforce-income households who earn up to 150 percent of the area’s median income.

The city will exclude redevelopment of religious property in certain areas, including the city’s Central District, where the commercial “character” of the district is a priority and where high traffic commercial areas “detract from housing compatibility.”

That means housing on the grounds of religious nonprofits would not be allowed on the city’s Arroyo Parkway from south of the California Boulevard south to the 110 Freeway entrance ramp. And it’s prohibited along Lake Avenue, from Green Street north to the 210 Freeway.

It could also be barred on Colorado Boulevard, Old Pasadena and in the Playhouse District, according to the Star-News.

Pasadena has struggled to build affordable housing.

Under the state’s affordable housing goals, the city must plan for 9,400 new units by 2029 — 600 percent more units than the previous eight-year cycle, when it failed to meet its housing goal.

A “Yes in God’s Backyard” movement has been spurred by the need for affordable housing nationwide and by churches, whose ebbing attendance plummeted during the pandemic, looking to development as a way to earn extra cash.

In June, State Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) relaunched a measure to allow religious institutions such as churches, synagogues and mosques to build affordable housing by-right, even if prohibited by local zoning. His bill, SB1336, would only apply for developments that are 100 percent affordable for low-income residents.

— Dana Bartholomew Los Angeles /
September 27, 2022 09:30 AM
TRD Staff
Source: Entire article

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