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Lakewood General Plan Progress Report Shows Positive Signs

By Rico Dizon

Based on the 2014 General Plan Progress Report, the City of Lakewood is showing healthy signs of improving financially.

In her power point presentation before the City Council on Jan. 27, Director of Community Development Sonia D. Southwell, reported that the median price of homes had rebounded to $450,000 compared to less than $400,000 nearly a decade ago.

From a low of 847 permits issued in 2008-09, the number has gone up to 1,043 in 2014, which is almost 200 more, or an increase of about 25% in a matter of five years. In 2005 there were a total of 1,998 residential permits granted. However, in the next five years there existed a significant decrease in home ownerships. By the end of 2014 the number had skyrocketed.

On permits issued for commercial purposes, the number was stable at 212 in 2014 compared to an average of 175. Within a year, several business establishments had sprung up around the Lakewood Commercial Center, which included among others Daiso, DXL, Flame Broiler, Apple Bees and Phoenix Salon Sites.

City Council Member Diane DuBois stressed, “housing has always been a challenge.” She congratulated the Community Development Director and her staff in meeting the challenge upfront.

Councilman Ron Piazza said, “the numbers presented are not an accident. Rather, they are the results of efficient and able implementation of the General Plan.” He praised Southwell and her staff for a job well done.

The Lakewood Housing Element was approved in 2010 but the realignment of the new housing element was approved in Oct. 2013. Cities that did not complete the report by the deadline, which is April 1 of each year, would face a four-year cycle. Gov’t Code 65400 requires an annual progress report be presented to a local legislative body on the implementation progress of the General Plan. Due to its completion of the housing element requirement before the deadline, Lakewood is placed on an eight-year cycle.

In closing, the Lakewood City Council unanimously agreed to direct the City Staff for Community Development to submit the report to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) and the Governor’s Office for Planning & Research.