November 30, 1991 - From the November, 1991 issue

Garcia Comments on Warner Center

Providing commentary on the Warner Center plan is Contributing Editor Daniel P. Garcia, the former President of the City of Los Angeles’ Planning Commission. While with the law firm of Munger, Tolles and Olson, Garcia represented several major Warner Center property owners. He recently left the firm to become Senior Vice President of Real Estate Planning and Public Affairs for Warner Bros. 


The Department showed itself to be incapable of sticking with a long-term policy, particularly one that allows badly-needed future economic expansion.

During my years on the Planning Commission, I heard many homeowners and City Council mem­bers ask that the Community and Dis­trict Plans throughout the City be en­forced by proper zoning. The Planning Department was strongly supportive of doing just that. 

The current proposed Warner Center Specific Plan is essentially a detailed zoning ordinance which, in my opinion, violates the adopted Community Plan and represents yet another example of a Planning Department which plays politics and ignores policies.

The Canoga Park-Winnetka-Woodland Hills District Plan was restudied and readopted in 1984 after significant public debate. Councilwoman Picus and her colleagues voted for this District Plan. The Plan states that Warner Center is the designated center for the district and intended to contain a “high density of varied urban activities: residential, commercial, cultural, recreational and appropriate industrial uses linked to other centers by rapid transit.”

The District Plan also expressly states that the future Warner Center Specific Plan “should permit a ratio of floor area to lot area of 3:1” and states that development above an aggregate 1:1 should be phased to fit with future public transit.

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The Planning staff’s proposed zoning in the Specific Plan is inconsistent with the requirements of the District Plan on three major points: 1) it vitiates the FAR density expressly called for in the District Plan text; 2) it utterly ignores the housing element of the Center; and 3) it fails to make provisions for public mass transit.

The Department showed itself to be incapable of sticking with a long-term policy, particularly one that allows badly-needed future economic expansion. With this mentality, our city’s budget deficit will continue to grow.

The initial Specific Plan should be discarded. A good place to begin again would be the text and policies in the District Plan.

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