April 30, 1989 - From the April, 1989 issue

Insider Planning April 1989

By David Kramer, Editor

The Porter Ranch Specific Plan presentation by the Planning Department was cancelled from a recent Planning Commission meeting for fear that hundreds of protestors would arrive without the opportunity to speak. The specific plan, which has generated outcries from the community of Chatsworth/Porter Ranch, provides for 7.S million square feet of development-6 million more than is tolerated by the current plan. The soon-to-be released hearing examiner's report will make some modifications of the plan including more equestrian housing.

One ironic note from the public hearing is that perhaps the biggest complaint against the developer Nathan Shappell by the community was his building an Aliso Canyon bridge to complete Sesnon Boulevard; yet this would have been done as an exaction from the Planning Department!

The project will ultimately be a difficult test for Councilman Hal Bernson who has yet to become involved; the CAC he appointed approved of the project. What is he to do in an environment where most residents think this will become another Warner Center and are already blaming him for the growth?

The Planning Commission has begun to discourage the future use of interim control ordinances (ICO's). 25 ICO's currently exist in the city, and the Commission feels that unless there is a real urgency for an ICO to tightly regulate growth until a p1an is developed, no more ICO's. This position, however, did not stop an Alatorre-Molina-Ferraro motion to write an ICO for the entire Northeast District, which with 15,600 acres makes it the largest community plan in the entire city. The area covers Highland Park, Eagle Rock, Mt Washington, Glassell Park, El Sereno, and Atwater. The ICO is designed to prevent out-of-scale development in the community while the community plan is being revised; projects must conform with the predominate density, scale and character of the neighborhood. This ICO could eventually become a model in the future; every time a community plan is initiated, an ICO would then be undertaken to protect the plan.

The creation of a mixed use development policy is proceeding full steam ahead. Weekly meetings with the Mayor's office, the Planning Department, the Zoning Administrator, and private sector representatives (Latham & Watkins) are brainstorming how to create a process to facilitate mixed use development projects without undergoing plan amendments or zone changes. The Mayor's office continues to be extremely enthusiastic about the policy.

The Citizens Advisory Committee for the Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan will unveil their 20-year plan in May. The CAC is currently deciding what parking requirements should be, and are considering raising those standards for office use. Growth along the Boulevard will be monitored by traffic generation.

While the community plan revision process is starting, the Planning Department is pursuing an ordinance that bans plan amendments for a certain time once a community plan is written. This ordinance could prohibit batching cases for up to five years; criteria are currently being written for what can and cannot be filed for a plan amendment.

A specific plan for Valley Village in North Hollywood will come before the Planning Commission on April 27. Similar to the transition housing ordinance, this plan attempts to protect single family homes adjacent to multi-family residences and commercial uses. The plan would not only lower height restrictions for these uses but will also establish a design review process.

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A recent Bernson-Braude motion stated that all expanded uses of industrial and commercial uses be required to get a Conditional Use permit. The Planning Department is consequently thinking of including this motion in the Site Plan Review Ordinance. While the SPRO requires that all major projects over 40,000 square feet be reviewed, the ordinance might be amended so that expanding industrial and commercial projects under 40,000 square feet must meet certain criteria as well.

The Planning & Environment Committee recently approved the ICO which restricted development in the Hill­side. The ICO was approved with much less fanfare than greeted it at the Planning Commission.

The Central City Association's Political Action Committee has endorsed Lyle Hall in his campaign against councilperson incumbent Emani Bernardi. As we indicated last month, this is the race to watch in the April election.

The State Board of Education has authorized a fee increase on developers to adjust to inflation. The Los Angeles Unified School District can now increase development fees which fund school construction. Residential development fees will rise from $1.53 to $1.56 per square foot, while fees on commercial development will increase from 25 cents to 26 cents per square foot.

The latest housing developers in Los Angeles are the Los Angeles Archdiocese, South Central Organizing Committee, and the United Neighborhoods Organization. $27 million is expected to be raised to construct 500 low-cost homes on a 25-acre site called Nehemiah West. Who says there are no answers to the housing crisis? The Archdiocese itself has pledged $3 million to the residential development

Councilman Michael Woo recently proposed significant rent control changes including calls for renters to be paid interest on their security deposits; for eliminating evictions for substantial renovation; and for restricting the ability of landlords to pass on the cost of capital improvements to their tenants.

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© 2021 The Planning Report | David Abel, Publisher, ABL, Inc.