The Los Angeles City Planning Department Arts District Live/Work Ordinance will allow the preservation and revitalization of the Arts District by developing the necessary standards to guide design and community integration of new Live/Work projects.


lwad_01The Arts District Live/Work Zone is a new zoning tool that is being developed by the City Planning Department to set development standards for all new projects in the Arts District.

The development standards are intended to facilitate the creation of new live/work space in the Arts District in a manner that preserves the surrounding industrial and artistic character, supports enhanced street level activity, maintains a consistent urban street wall, minimizes conflicts between cars and pedestrians, and orients buildings and pedestrians towards the streets.

1.) The Arts District is currently planned for industrial uses and zoned for Heavy Manufacturing, which currently allows for Live/Work units only through adaptive reuse of existing buildings.

2.) The new Live/Work Zone also regulates permitted uses and sets development standards that will guide all new projects with Live/Work Units in new construction. The goal of the zone is to maintain the lwad_02employment, artistic, and productive functions of the neighborhood while allowing further opportunities for the creation of new Live/Work Units.

Guiding development that is sensitive to the context of the Arts District and furthers neighborhood goals for livability and sustainability (Affordable housing, public art, urban design standards, signage, bonuses for adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and incentives for steel and concrete buildings).




The Arts District Live/Work Ordinance exceeds the community’s request of an 8% affordable housing by implementing a three-tier incremental approach with an affordability requirement of between 8% to 20%. This will create affordable housing for artists and others who currently are priced out of the Arts District.


Under the plan proposed Arts District Live/Work Ordinance, affordable housing is given top priority in an effort to make the area more affordable to lower income residences that otherwise would be priced out of the Arts District. It is projected that by 2020, the downtown area population could grow to over 70,000 lwad_03residents from the current 54,000 who currently call downtown home. As this population grows, the need for more affordable housing becomes vital.

The Arts District is surrounded by a wide variety of businesses from the food sector to industrial. Their employees normally travel far and away from their jobs to get to their homes. The proposed Live/Work Ordinance not only include an average of 13% affordable housing for people that qualify, but will maintain rents affordable through size of units and developments that are built to encourage residents to live close to their place of employment.

The Live/Work Ordinance offers a three-tier incremental approach to restricted Affordable Housing Units as set forth below.

The first 500 Type A Live/Work Units constructed pursuant to this ordinance shall reserve 5 percent of such units for Low Income households, as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for local Area Median Income.

lwad_04Units 501 through 1000 built under this ordinance shall reserve 14 percent of units for Low Income households.

Units 1001 through 1500 built under this ordinance shall reserve 20 percent of units for Low Income households.

Combined percentages under the three-tier incremental approach would result in a 13% average total in affordable housing, which far exceeds the community’s request.



Requiring an Absolute Minimum Instead of an Average Units Size will Decrease Affordability and Choice.

  • Like the Adaptive Reuse Ordinance (ARO), the Live/Work Ordinance requires that the live/work units maintain a minimum average unit size of 750 square feet.
  • This will allow some projects to provide some smaller, less expensive units for those tenants who do not need or can afford larger units.
  • lwad_05Requiring an average minimum unit size will provide more choice and greater affordability.
  • Requiring a larger minimum unit size will drive up costs and foster further gentrification.
  • The tenants searching for an opportunity to have creative live/work space will benefit and allow the burgeoning revitalization to continue.




The Arts District Live/Work Ordinance will regulate the design and construction to ensure that new Live/Work projects are compatible with the area and reinforce the industrial character and productive function of the Arts District neighborhood.


The Arts District Live/Work Ordinance will create an important pilot program that will introduce a limited number of new live/work units in the Arts District that are compatible with the community as it exists today.   This policy initiative will replace the now outdated Industrial Land Use Policy and gives the City the ability to implement key concepts that can be incorporated into the future Community Plan Update.

lwad_06The Arts District Live/Work Ordinance includes a number of development standards to ensure that new development will be compatible with the character of the Arts District, including minimum floor heights and open space, Electric Vehicle charging stations, and affordable housing.





All New Projects under the Live/Work Ordinance will be Fully Vetted by the Community, thus protecting their participation.

  • The Ordinance does not rezone a single property. It is only a zoning tool.
  • Any project under the Live/Work Ordinance will go through a series of public hearings and public workshops with key stakeholders before the new zoning can be approved.

The Live/Work Ordinance has been shaped by Community Input through an Open and Inclusive Public Process.

  • lwad_07There will be additional opportunities for stakeholder input at future public hearings before the City Planning Commission, Planning and Land Use Management Committee, and the full City Council.
  • The Department has already made substantial revisions to the draft Ordinance based on stakeholder input and is likely to make additional changes based on its continued outreach efforts.

The Live/Work Ordinance Will Provide Substantial Community Benefits.

Unlike current zoning regulations, the LW Ordinance requires that each new project provide substantial public benefits that provide important public benefits including affordable housing, arts & productive uses, pedestrian paseos and plazas, public art spaces, and sustainable design features. The public benefits will become necessary as the Arts District continues to grow by addressing the need for additional affordable housing and providing for pedestrian safety improvements.

  • The Live/Work Ordinance creates features to benefit pedestrians through the creation of pathways mid-block and paseo areas that are open to the public.
  • The Live/Work Ordinance also creates a required 15% of a building façade to be utilized for Public art murals on visible street areas.
  • The Live/Work Ordinance limits the height of buildings to 8 stories high or 100 feet in height. This is consistent with developments throughout the arts district.
  • The Live/Work Ordinance requires that new construction create open space at a minimum of 100 square feet per live work unit. In addition, it requires the developers to plant new trees and pay a fee to maintain and water those trees.





The Arts District Live/Work Ordinance create high standards of development that will lead to a more responsible approach to smart growth, thus protecting the area against excessive and incompatible development like the One Santa Fe project.


The Live/Work Ordinance will protect the Arts District against Excessive and Incompatible Development.

  • lwad_08Currently, any developer can apply for a zone change and General Plan amendment from industrial to commercial, just like the developer of the One Santa Fe project, and develop an Orange County-style apartment projects that provide no public benefits. The Live/Work Ordinance will provide needed land use controls to protect the Arts District from this type of incompatible development.
  • The Live/Work Ordinance requires that all new residential units be true live/work units, rather than conventional apartments.
  • The Live/Work Ordinance includes a number of development standards to ensure that new development will be compatible with the character of the Arts District, including minimum floor heights and open space, EV charging stations, and affordable housing.

The Live/Work Ordinance limits the total number of new live/work units to 1500. These units are allocated only when a new project obtains the necessary planning approvals.   However, the allocation of units should be based on submittal of a complete planning application, which will avoid speculation and allow project approvals to be completed within 3.5 years.




Forcing all new projects to be type one or type two construction will raise rents to unaffordable levels that will exclude many who wish to live in the Arts District.

lwad_09Requiring new developments to be type one and type two construction will decrease affordability and choice, making rents unaffordable to moderate and lower income residents who would travel farther distances to their places of residency.

Type one and Type two constructions, would raise construction cost significantly. Developers would be forced to pass on to the renters their construction costs, thus making it unaffordable for many. An inflexible position would prevent potential residents from living in the Arts, thus making this area exclusive rather than inclusive. The City of Los Angeles has distinguished itself for being a melting pot where people from all walks-of-life can come together to form community. As the City continues to grow and Downtown Los Angeles transforms itself to a more vibrant and livelier place to live, work and play, the community unites to assure a more open society

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