Los Angeles Considers Nation's Most Extensive Program to Convert Empty Stores, Offices to Affordable Housing The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors passed a zoning ordinance that allows multifamily development in certain commercial zones "by right." The move exempts the projects from the review process under the California Environmental Quality Act, he moves are meant to solve two problems at once: find better use for increasingly underutilized commercial real estate and to build more housing for low- and middle-income residents. The initiative will have to overcome some significant concerns. First, not all commercial buildings can be retrofitted for residential use. Second, the switch could mean lower tax revenue. And third, it could lead to fewer jobs and other economic benefits.