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LOS ANGELES-The City Council in the North County suburb of Lancaster has repealed its nearly two-year-old moratorium on building new apartments and condominiums.

Construction of new multifamily developments was banned in January 1999, after some local residents and even city planners became concerned that the area’s growing number of apartment and condo complexes would worsen traffic and drain the city’s limited financial resources. Only projects aimed at the retirement market were exempted from the local ordinance.

The moratorium allowed local officials to meet with regional planners at the Southern California Association of Governments to determine how many multifamily units would be needed over the next 20 years. As a result of those meetings, local officials were able to rezone land previously planned for apartments to meet the area’s growing need for single-family residential, office and retail parcels.

Even though the city on Tuesday rezoned 430 acres originally planned for multifamily construction, there’s still enough land to build 30,140 units. Area planners say the city will need about 23,150 new units over the next 20 years to accommodate a population that’s expected to swell to between 1.2 million and 1.5 million, more than four times the current figure.

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