New apartment buildings in Warner Center will have to devote up to a quarter of their units for affordable housing under a plan approved by the City Council on Wednesday. Approved over the objections of developers, the plan is part of a larger city effort to keep a balance of housing and jobs in the Warner Center area. “There needs to be more housing for the work force in Warner Center,” said West Valley Councilman Dennis Zine. The “work force housing incentive plan” is part of an extra layer of review for new Warner Center residential developments unanimously approved by the council. Rapid residential development in recent years led neighborhood groups to fear that the jobs-to-housing balance was being upset. While revisiting the larger growth plan will take years, the groups pushed Zine’s office to take action in the meantime. Officials considered placing a firm cap on new residential units in Warner Center, but it opted instead for the extra planning review approved Wednesday. “We are happy that we are accelerating the review of the Warner Center Specific Plan,” said August Steurer, vice chairman of the Woodland Hills-Warner Center Neighborhood Council. “We want the community as a whole involved and their input so we get better results.” In the meantime, a neighborhood council panel devoted to the Warner Center issue supported the temporary plan for stricter reviews but pushed for a smaller requirement for work force housing. “It places an economic burden on projects that may cause them to not get built,” said Michael Klein, treasurer of the neighborhood council and chairman of the panel. Zine passionately defended the work force housing requirement, saying Warner Center apartments are priced beyond the reach of many middle-class professionals, causing them to commute long distances. “I am not going to just roll over to developers’ will to build at market rate and disenfranchise the working class of our society,” he said. “We’re talking about 75 percent market rate, we’re not asking anything unreasonable.” — Dan Laidman, (213) 978-0390 [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Certain large projects would be expected to provide at least 10 percent of their units for tenants earning 80 percent to 120 percent of the county’s median family income, or at least 25 percent of units for those earning 120 percent to 150 percent of the median. Owners would also be expected to “actively market” such affordable units to Warner Center-area employees. Several members of the business community came to Wednesday’s council meeting to say they thought the affordable housing percentages were too high. “We’re concerned it will deter housing creation,” said Lawrence Scott, senior vice president of Avalon Bay Communities Inc., a real estate investment trust with interests in more than 150 apartment complexes. “The ultimate goal of approving housing next to jobs will be detrimentally impacted.” The work force housing plan is part of a larger effort to control Warner Center’s growth. The council also voted Wednesday to restudy the Warner Center Specific Plan, a road map for development adopted in 1993 that established the area as a center for both housing and jobs.