South Pasadena City Council Adopts Inclusionary Housing Urgency Ordinance

The Inclusionary Housing Ordinance was long-anticipated and is a strategic response to the city’s desire to create more affordable housing citywide

PHOTO: Eric Fabbro | News | South Pasadena City Hall


The South Pasadena City Council took action to ensure future housing development meets the needs of the community and adopted an urgency ordinance at its regular meeting on Wednesday, April 7, 2021, requiring new multi-family residential development to include 20% of the base number of units in the project as “inclusionary” or affordable to extremely low, very low, low or moderate income households.

The Inclusionary Housing Ordinance was long-anticipated and is a strategic response to the city’s desire to create more affordable housing citywide. The ordinance, carefully crafted by City staff and the Planning Commission to prioritize on-site development with a mix of affordability levels and a high standard for design, offers streamlining and cost-saving incentives to encourage developers to design projects of high architectural quality as they utilize density bonuses mandated by State law that reward developers for including affordable housing units in their projects.

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“I think it’s incredibly important for us to adopt an inclusionary ordinance,” Mayor Diana Mahmud said at the hearing, noting her longstanding commitment to the policy and acknowledging the tremendous amount of time and effort that City staff and the Planning Commission have devoted to develop the ordinance.

“I’m excited to see this,” added Councilmember Primuth, referencing the inequitable housing market that impedes the goal of socio-economic diversity in South Pasadena.

Through the 6th Cycle Housing Element Update to the City’s General Plan, which is anticipated to be released in draft form in June, South Pasadena is required by the State to plan for a capacity of 2,067 housing units over an 8-year period, including 1,489 affordable units. The Council’s adoption of this ordinance gives the City an important and effective tool to ensure that units below market rate are built. “With increasingly higher demands for affordable housing, and a reverence for the uniqueness of South Pasadena, we are determined to chart our own way in addressing

important housing needs as we prepare the draft housing element, always with a conscious effort to maintain the city’s unique, small-town character while expanding inclusivity,” said Planning & Community Development Director Joanna Hankamer. “This ordinance is locally grown and is a milestone for the city.”

The urgency ordinance, which went into effect immediately upon passage, is available at the Planning & Community Development webpage, as well as the City Clerk’s Office. The ordinance will be entered into the municipal code following its second reading and adoption, scheduled for a May 5, 2021 Council hearing.