December 30, 2022 - From the January, 1989 issue

Predictions! Predictions! 1989! 1989!

TPR asked leading individuals in land use and urban planning for their predictions for what the new year--and new mayor--would usher. Insights point to increased oversight by AQMD over landuse regulations, concerns for the consequences of slow growth, and more! 

We're going to see AQMD move towards land-use regulation. That won't be good. I can see a situation where in order to get a large project approved, you have to get permission from the City Council, and then you have to get permission from AQMD. And neither will have the authority to overrule the other."Doug Ring, Shea & Gould

"We can't afford to ignore the issue of air quality. EPA has said that it will take our cars away in five years. 1989 will be the year of increased consciousness of air quality city-wide."Ralph Crouch, Planning Deputy, Hal Bernson

"AQMD regulation is going to lead to more traffic mitigation and more traffic fees, and the agency is going to become one of the most powerful planning groups in the greater LA area. But we plan to start pressuring cities to take the money we're paying for traffic fees and put it into the intersections we are supposed to be affecting. Often that traffic money becomes lost in the general fund."Ben Reiling, Zelman Development Company

"The most critical issue for the next two years will be the development of the Air Quality Plan and to what extent it will affect land-use planning. There will clearly be an effect--the question is. to what degree?"Kenneth Willis, BIA of Southern California 

"1989 will bring an emphasis on regional solutions to our infrastructure problems. However, cooperation is a very difficult thing to accomplish. We have to balance the local political concerns against the greater responsibility to resolve some critical issues."Sharon Kaplan, Psomas and Associates 

"1989 is going to be the year that it becomes generally understood by developers that there is no such thing as a right to develop. Until now, most developers felt that most of the time they can do their own development, but now it's less true. Once the Site Plan Ordinance is approved, every project will need a Conditional Use Permit. The days are over when you have the right to do anything. By 1989, people will come to understand for the first time in history that they can't do to their property what they want to do."Gary Morris, GLM Enterprises 

"I think that the question of housing in relation to large land-use projects will be a critical issue. Developers need to take a good look at the need for affordable housing in order to make community areas lively and viable."Hope Boonshaft-Lewis, CEO, Boonshaft-Lewis & Savitch 

"Developers are now the bad guys, and we have to overcome that. The continued slow-growth movement has caused considerable down-zoning. There is such an anti-developer attitude in the city, that when a building goes up, the response is, 'how did they let them do that?' We must confront the issue and still allow the city to grow."William Cook, Century West Development 

"The biggest change will result from the Sewer Ordinance and its implementation. It remains to be seen what the impact will be, but its attempt will be a growth management policy. This would be a first for Los Angeles."Carmen Estrada, Los Angeles Planning Commissioner

"The City will be more aggressive in pursuing solutions on a regional basis, leading possibly to a new regional mechanism. The first step is to communicate with the contract cities about sewer hookup approvals. But the City is already beginning to exert more direct control on the region."Norm Emerson, Emerson & Associates 

"While there will be more talk about regionalism, the actual power will become more parochial. We may need regional solutions, but local planning decisions will be strongly influenced by community groups."Jim Gilson, Tuttle & Taylor 

“In the new year, we will focus on the application of CEQA. There's a new ruling that has thrown all redevelopment permits into a discretionary basis for CEQA review. For preservation and land-use, this is a whole new ballgame for redevelopment areas. We've been losing buildings left and right."Judy De Turrenne, Local Homeowner's Association 


"1988 was the important year because it legitimized slow growth concerns. The trend is clear that no growth is in its ascendency. The City is now looking for ways to demonstrate that it's no longer ‘Anything Goes.’"Robert Stelzl, Bren Investment Properties 

"The most significant area we have to confront is the expense of land. It's scarcer and harder to zone. Due to the fact that there are more governmental restraints, we have less ability to build. People are talking about affordable housing, but how do you get it? The higher prices change the product we can deliver."Mike Sonderman, Lincoln Property Company 

"Industrially, developers will begin to reconsider pieces of land within 10 miles of City Hall which were previously ignored because of toxic or waste problems. This scarcity of desirable land leaves developers searching around."Jeffrey Stern, Stern Investments 

"There will be a slowdown in new commercial construction because in most areas the over-supply will catch up. I don't think the Mayor's race will have any effect on development. It will also be interesting to see how the Master Plan for Central City West turns out."Bruce Merchant, The Hammerson Property 

"There won't be any problems with high rise office buildings in the near future. The slowdown won't come until 1991. In downtown, they're building over one million square feet of office space. As long as there's land that is available downtown, people are building on it."Sheridan Matlow, Matlow-Kennedy Corporation 

"There will be a significant reduction in authorized development because of development exactions and downzoning."William Ross, Ross & Scott 

“There won't be many significant changes, just refinements. But for developers, the environment has significantly changed in the past 10 years with increased developer responsibility for mitigating impacts. "Nelson C. Rising, Maguire Thomas Partners 

“The entire community has to focus on the issue of affordable housing. We have to come to a consensus on how to achieve more affordable housing and also satisfy the concerns of its impact upon our infrastructure.”Ted Stein, Los Angeles Planning Commissioner 

“Developers are going to have an increasingly difficult time getting projects approved. NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) groups will continue to have influence. And cities are going to have to get more involved in affordable housing through any creative means.”Thomas Safran, Safran & Associates 

“There has to be a growing realization that land-use planning and employment are closely related. If you don’t have growth, you won’t have jobs. And the disadvantaged parts of the city are alert to the fact that you can’t have one without the other.”William Tooley, Tooley & Company 

“Prior to the city elections, we can expect heightened scrutiny of large projects in the city. Development will become increasingly more difficult in the city, and the pressure will increase from neighborhood concerns.”Burt Pines, Alschuler, Grossman & Pines  


© 2024 The Planning Report | David Abel, Publisher, ABL, Inc.