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The State of California requires every city to adopt a General Plan and Zoning Ordinance that has capacity for new housing units to accommodate the city’s share of regional housing needs. As a fully built-out master planned community, the City of Westlake Village does not have any vacant land available for additional housing. The North Business Park area was identified as a suitable location for additional housing because of its older and underutilized office and industrial properties, and due to its location that would minimize the impact of new housing on the existing residential neighborhoods. The City Council included a residential development allotment in the North Business Park Specific Plan to satisfy the State’s mandate to accommodate regional housing needs.
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To provide adequate capacity to accommodate the City of Westlake Village’s share of regional housing needs, the North Business Park Specific Plan allows a maximum of 462 housing units along Lindero Canyon Road and 145 housing units on Corsa Avenue. These limits are superseded by the State’s Density Bonus Law when a residential development includes a certain amount of units that are affordable to lower income households.
The applicant is proposing to restrict 70 units, or 15% of the 462 allowed units, for rental only to very low-income households. In exchange for providing these affordable units, the State’s Density Bonus Law gives the applicant a “density bonus” of 50%. This means the total number of units in the project can be up to 50% greater than the number of units otherwise allowed. The proposed project includes 693 units, which is 50% greater than the 462 otherwise allowed by the North Business Park Specific Plan.
The North Business Park Specific Plan limits buildings along Lindero Canyon Road to a maximum height of three stories and 55 feet. The proposed project has buildings that vary in height from three to six stories with heights up to 70 feet. Under the State’s Density Bonus Law, in addition to a 50% density bonus, the applicant is entitled to three incentives or concessions. The incentives and concessions that can be chosen by the applicant include exceptions to the height limit and other applicable development standards.
The proposed project is implementing the North Business Park Specific Plan by proposing housing on a site that the Specific Plan identifies for residential or mixed-use development. The State’s Density Bonus Law allows a developer to build more units than designated by the Specific Plan in exchange for the developer providing a certain percentage of units affordable to lower income households. The Density Bonus Law also grants a developer a right to receive waivers of Specific Plan development standards, including building height limits, that would physically preclude construction of a project at the density permitted by State law.