October 30, 1991 - From the October, 1991 issue

Inside Planning: Notes from Around the L.A. Area

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.

Musical Chairs

Ed Avila has been named permanent Administrator at the Community Redevelopment Agency… His former position of Deputy Mayor has been filled by Linda Griego, owner of Engine Company No. 28 restaurant. Her appointment opens up a seat on the CRA Board.

Christine Robert, formerly a government and public affairs offi­cer with the L.A. County Transpor­tation Commission’s (LACTC) Westside Area Team, has been hired as planning and transportation deputy for Councilwoman Rita Walters ..... Michael Carter, a recent Coro graduate, has also been hired by Walters, to work with the downtown business community. 

Downtown Women’s Center Director Jill Halverson has been hired as Chief Deputy for Councilwoman Joy Picus… Chuck Elsesser, President of Los Angeles’ Afford­able Housing Commission and a former aide to Sen. David Roberti, has assumed duties as Housing Di­rector for SantaMonica… And State Treasurer Kathleen Brown has be­come the first tenant in the just­ rededicated Bradbury Building. 

The Latest EIR Reforms 

Local governments and EIR preparers should take note of AB 1642 (Sher), which was passed by the Legislature in September and was on Governor Wilson’s desk at press time. In light of the La Vina case (see last month’s issue) the bill elevates to statutory language the CEQA Guidelines’ requirement that the lead agency independently re­view and analyze EIR’s. 

To improve coordination among agencies, the bill also requires the lead agency at least 10 days before certification to provide a written proposed response to comments made by other public agencies. With bipartisan support, including support from the League of Cities and the APA, the bill is expected to be signed by the Governor.

Transit Alphabet Soup 

The confusing list of transporta­tion acronyms just got even longer, with the creation of the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (SCRRA), an agency formed by five counties (Los Angeles, San Bernar­dino, Ventura, Riverside and Orange) to run the nine commuter rail lines serving Southern California. And there’s another new name for trans­portation junkies to remember: “METROLINK” has been chosen for the commuter rail system, which could ultimately boast 400 miles of rail lines. 

Choosing a Valley Rail Line 

LACTC has released for public comment Gruen Associates’ study for a technologically advanced rail system above the median of the Ventura Freeway. On September 25th LACTC extended the public comment period from 45 days to 90 days at the request of homeowners’ groups. 

The Commission will choose next year between a subway along the Burbank/Chandler right-of-way and a monorail or advanced technology system along the freeway. Homeowners groups along the free­way, led by Encino’s Gerald Silver, intend to use the 90-day period to organize against the freeway alterna­tive, citing noise, visual blight and traffic congestion. 

CHAS Chat 

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Localities around Southern Cali­fornia are racing to complete their Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategies (CHAS). The process has been particularly inter­esting in Los Angeles, where the CHAS has become a lightning rod in the city’s continued debate over den­sity. Homeowner groups turned out in force at a September 4th Affordable Housing Commission hearing on the CHAS and their comments may result in several revisions, including changes to recommendations on minimum lot sizes and transitional heights. 

The document will go before the PLUM and CR&H committees dur­ing October. Completion is now slated for November 15th, two weeks after HUD’s October 31st deadline, which has some give this first time around. 

State Growth Management 

The Governor’s interagency Council on Growth Management has completed its public hearings. It is making available for purchase a record of the hearings and a series of issue papers on growth-related topics. For information on obtaining these publications, call (916) 322-2318. 

The State Senate’s Local Gov­ernment Committee will hold an all­-day hearing in Sacramento on Thursday, October 31st to allow legislators to discuss the key growth management bills in preparation for negotiations next year. For more in­formation on these bills, see TPR, Summer 1991 issue.

L.A. Planning Director Update

The timetable for selection of a permanent Los Angeles Planning Director has slipped somewhat. The interview panels are being assembled, with interviewing of finalists now to take place in late October. The revised month for final selection: November. 

Downtown Factbook Released 

The Los Angeles CRA has re­leased its slick Downtown Strategic Plan Factbook, full of useful infor­mation on downtown Los Angeles and beyond. Copies are available for $24 from the CRA: call (213) 977-1783. Also, it now appears that Central City East will soon be folded into the Strategic Plan study. 

Warner Center — The Heat is On 

The battle over the Warner Center Specific Plan is spilling over well beyond Joy Picus’ Third Coun­cil District. Regional agencies, in­cluding LACTC, are entering the fray, arguing that Warner Center’s devel­opment has regional implications. An extension of a commuter rail line into Warner Center now appears likely. And look for increased activity from the Mayor’s office on this issue in the coming months. The next round: Picus’ ICO amendment, proposing a .35 FAR, goes before the Planning Commission October 24th.

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