September 30, 1991 - From the September, 1991 issue

Inside Planning: Around the Los Angeles Region

To provide more complete coverage of planning issues throughout the Los Angeles area, The Planning Report this month reintroduces “Inside Planning,” featuring notes, news up­dates, and trends.

New PLUM Committee 

The Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Commit­tee got a new look during August, as Ruth Galanter and Nate Holden replaced Michael Woo and Robert Farrell. Seen in PLUM was former Gilbert Lindsay aide and Ninth Dis­trict candidate Bob Gay, in his new incarnation as aide to Nate Holden. Meanwhile, Rita Walters has not finished assembling her own team, though at press time Willie Wash­ington, Woody Fleming, and Ernie Delgado were on board. 

Planning Director Update 

Here’s the latest on the search for a new Los Angeles Planning Direc­tor. The deadline for applications has been extended, and the Personnel Department’s “resource panel” (a group of professionals convened to suggest and recruit outstanding can­didates) is continuing its work into September. An appointment is still expected by this fall. 

Planning Department Who’s Who 

Having trouble keeping track of the ever-shuffling chairs at L.A’s Planning Department? The Planning Report is here to help, complete with phone numbers. Melanie Fallon re­mains Planning Director, with Frank Eberhard as Chief Deputy Director, Project Planning (237-1986). Ann Siracusa, formerly Principal City Planner for Citywide Planning, is now Deputy Director, Comprehensive Planning (237-1818). Bob Sutton is Deputy Director, Planning Adminis­tration (237-1818). 

Emily Gabel has returned from her sabbatical in Cambridge, Massa­chusetts to assume duties as Principal City Planner, Citywide Division (237-0124) Al Landini is the Principal City Planner for Neighborhood Planning (617-3293). Cora Smith has taken over Code Studies (237-0116), and Dave Lessley heads up the Plan Implementation Division (485-2470).

More Musical Chairs 

Eric Roth is leaving Council­man Michael Woo’s office. His position as planning deputy is being assumed by Jan Perry. Jim Hunter is departing as President and CEO of the Central City Association; his replacement has yet to be named. And Jay Rounds has resigned as Execu­tive Director of the L.A. Conser­vancy. A search is underway. 

CPR Slowdown

Los Angeles’ Community Plan Revision process is creeping along, another victim of tight budgetary times. In addition to the three com­munity plans already underway — Sylmar, West Adams, and Northeast — only Southeast/South Central is being added this year. North Holly­wood could be next.

Christopher Joins BZA 

Bill Christopher received quick confirmation as the newest member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, the latest addition to what is becoming a balanced and talented group. Christopher’s Planning Commission replacement, Lydia Kennard, re­ceived Council confirmation in July. 

Santa Clarita Growth 

The City of Santa Clarita has been one of L.A. County’s hottest growth battlegrounds this summer. A citizens group is seeking to qualify a growth control initiative for next April’s ballot that would limit new housing to 475 units per year through 2002, with projects competing un­der a point system. The initiative effort comes on the heels of the passage of Santa Clarita’s general plan in June. 

New Vesting Legislation 

A piece of state legislation to watch is AB 479. It creates a vesting process, similar to vesting tentative tract maps, for those projects not re­quiring subdivision approval. Like other land-use bills, this bill may be on hold, pending the year-end report of the Governor’s Interagency Coun­cil on Growth Management.

Housing Conferences 

The month of September offers two major all-day conferences on housing issues. On September 12th, the Los Angeles Business Council offers “Housing Los Angeles,” a how­-to seminar on building affordable housing, to be held at the Bel-Air Summit Hotel. Call (213) 475-4574 for registration information. And on September 27th at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, the Southern California Association of Non-Profit Housing offers its third annual conference, this year emphasizing fi­nancing mechanisms for affordable housing. For more information, call (213) 480-1249.

Arts Fee Update 


The City of Los Angeles’ Cultural Affairs Department is finalizing its Developer’s Guidelines for the Arts Development Fee Program (see March 1991 issue for more information on the program). When a de­veloper submits an application for Site Plan Review or Plan Check, the Planning Department or Building and Safety will distribute information on the fee and Building and Safety will notify the developer of the fee obli­gation. The developer may then com­ply by either depositing money into the Arts Development Fee Trust Fund or by providing an on-site art project. 

A Test for Permit Streamlining

A decision on the Permit Streamlining Act may be imminent as attorney Ben Reznik goes to court September 26th on a development project planned for the former site of the Scene of the Crime bookstore in Sherman Oaks. This case could be noteworthy as the first application of the Permit Streamlining Act to build­ing permits.

Alameda Corridor Authority 

An overlooked planning body in Los Angeles County is the Alameda Corridor Transportation Author­ity, a joint powers authority with 15 members, including the Cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach, six cities along the Alameda corridor, the County Board of Supervisors, LACTC, the two ports (Los Angeles and Long Beach), and Caltrans. The Authority is undertaking a $500 mil­lion program of highway and railroad improvements along Alameda, be­tween the ports and downtown L.A. 

The Authority aims to reduce freeway congestion by diverting cargo from truck to rail and diverting re­maining truck traffic to Alameda. Its effort also has an economic develop­ment component, designed to gener­ate activity at the ports as well as in the cities along the corridor.  

Metro Rail Planning Refined 

Planning for Metro Rail is con­tinually in flux these days. Moving quickly to address criticisms of LACTC’s joint development plan­ning, new joint development director Michael Francis is on board and has convened an ad hoc committee on joint development. LACTC has signaled its intentions to master plan stations individually, beginning with the Sunset/Vermont station.

L.A. Housing Strategy

Los Angeles’ Housing Department and Commission are preparing the Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy (CHAS) required by the National Affordable Housing Act of 1990, replacing the Compre­hensive Homeless Assistance Pinn (CHAP) and the Housing Assistance Plan (HAP). A draft plan — useful reading for those interested in the City’s current housing programs and future goals — was issued in August. All work must be completed by the due date of October 31st. 

Impacts or Growth Controls 

Madelyn Glickfeld of UCLA has completed a comprehensive study of local growth controls in California that yielded some interesting find­ings: 

1)Three-fourths of the jurisdic­tions in the state have some kind of growth control measures, but only 14% were enacted by initiative; 2) There is no correlation between so­cioeconomic status and growth con­trol, thus defying the upper-middle class, white, NIMBY stereotype; 3) Growth control measures did not dis­courage affordable housing. Those jurisdictions with growth measures tended to be activist governments addressing both growth and afford­able housing. 

Whither Warner Center? 

Almost no one was happy with the draft Warner Center Specific Plan at the August 28th public hearing. The $15,000 per trip fee has outraged developers, while local residents ob­jected to the scale of development and the elevated streets and overpasses that were proposed to mitigate traffic. 

One solution being discussed: eliminate some of the costly road improvements and rely instead on HOV lanes and the commuter rail line passing through the Valley. This could reduce the necessary TRIP fee while pulling Warner Center into line with regional realities. 

Transfer Taxes Sweep Region 

Fiscally-pressed cities increasingly are looking at real estate transfer taxes to balance their bud­gets. Los Angeles has adopted a tax rate of $4.50 per $1 ,000 of sales price, in addition to the $1.10 per $1,000 collected by the county. Los Angeles has now been joined by Culver City, Torrance, and Pomona

The transfer tax front is now qui­eter, in part because the budget sea­son is now over in most cities. But look for more cities to try tapping this revenue source in 1992.


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