November 30, 1991 - From the November, 1991 issue

Insider Planning: Notes from the Region and State

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

L.A. Planning Director Search 

The search for a permanent Plan­ning Director for the City of Los Angeles moves into a new phase during November with interviews of 12 candidates for the position. The names of six finalists will be sent to Mayor Bradley, who is still expected to make a choice by year’s end. 

Former San Francisco Planning Director Allen Jacobs, now a UC Berkeley professor, has thrown his hat into the ring and is considered by many to be the frontrunner. 

Interim Planning Director Melanie Fallon remains in the run­ning, as does Deputy Director Frank Eberhard. However, Deputy Direc­tor Bob Sutton and Chief Zoning Administrator Bob Janovici are said not to have made the final cut.

State Redevelopment Bill Signed 

Governor Wilson has signed AB 315 (Terry Friedman), which eliminates findings frequently used by redevelopment agencies to avoid the requirement that they set aside 20% of their tax increment funds for housing. 

Friedman’s bill had originally proposed increasing the set-aside re­quirement to 40% but, while the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency testified in support of the bill, this increase met with considerable opposition from other CRA’s. The final version of the bill was therefore watered down considerably. 

School Plan Check Reform 

In last month’s issue, Los Angeles School Board member Mark Slavkin criticized the State’s cumbersome re­view process for construction of new schools. Help may be on the way. During October, Governor Wilson signed AB47 (Eastin), which provides school districts with the option of going through plan check at the local level rather than the state level. 

Also, the School Board is holding hearings on November 7th and 21st on the school planning policies dis­cussed in last month’s issue.

AQMD Update 

For watchers of the Southern Cali­fornia Air Quality Management Dis­trict (AQMD), the talk these days is of “Appendix 4C.” Approved as part of the 1991 Air Quality Management Plan, this appendix creates new rules for “indirect sources,” development that indirectly creates emission im­pacts. 

Two portions of Appendix 4C have drawn particular interest. First, Regulation XV will be extended to schools, thus integrating student trips into the Reg XV program. The Dis­trict will also adopt rules to reduce non-work trips, extending rules to such uses as special event centers (such as stadiums and arenas), shopping cen­ters, and airports. These rules could result in parking reductions and changes in the architecture of major projects such as shopping malls. 

CRA Musical Chairs 

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Bob Tague, formerly a Deputy Director at the Los Angeles Com­munity Redevelopment Agency, has become Burbank’s Director of Com­munity Development. And Steve Valenzuela, Director of Operations for the CRA’s Central Business Dis­trict project, has left the CRA to join Kenneth Leventhal and Company. 

Transit Planning Update 

Land-use planning activity taking related to Metro Rail is accelerating. In addition to Michael Francis’ new joint development team frantically playing catch-up at LACTC, the RTD has now initiated a master planning/joint development effort around the Wilshire/Alvarado station that may include community and cultural fa­cilities. An RFP will be released in early December for developers to pursue a joint development with RTD. 

Meanwhile, LACTC is nearing adoption of its 30-Year Plan. The Plan, which began as largely a finan­cial document, has taken on greater planning importance as the process has progressed. The review and com­ment period has been extended into January. After adoption, the Plan will be thoroughly reviewed by the Com­mission every two years, though it will be constantly refined.

CRA Legal Counsel Debacle 

The L.A. City Council’s Commu­nity Redevelopment and Housing (CR & H) Committee during October con­sidered the issue of whom and how many law firms will provide counsel to the Community Redevelopment Agency (see TPR interview with Dov Lesel, September 1991).

Responding to concerns that the list of 45 firms was outrageously large, the list has been “whittled down” to 22, which some legal sources are still calling five times too large. The new list retains a 50-50 split on minority and non-minority firms. 

The CR & H Committee asked for further elaboration from the City Attorney’s office on how the selec­tion among firms will be made. Council action on this issue is ex­pected during November. 

State Growth Management 

Hearings were held on October 31st by the State Senate’s Local Gov­ernment Committee on the pending state growth management bills. These hearings were informational in nature, designed to prepare legislators for negotiations on the bills next year. 

According to Peter Detwiler, consultant to the Local Government Committee, the hearings were note­worthy primarily for the conciliatory tone struck by participants in Sacra­mento State’s Growth Management Consensus Project. 

Meanwhile, the Sac State project is folding up its tents this month. It is near completion of its final report, identifying what the project’s direc­tor, Susan Sherry, calls “Areas of emerging agreement and areas of debate.” “The project did what the legislature asked it to do,” says Sherry. 

The next growth management milestone: watch for significant lan­guage in Governor Wilson’s January State of the State speech.

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