December 30, 1991 - From the December, 1991 issue

Inside Planning: Around the Region and State

Collected here are the latest in urban planning in the L.A. region and California. 

L.A. Planning Director Search Reaches Final Stage

In case you missed it, the six finalists for the Planning Director post in Los Angeles are: Acting Director Melanie Fallon; Deputy Director Frank Eberhard; Norman Krumholz, a Cleveland State Uni­versity Professor and former Cleve­land planning director; Con Howe, director of the Lower Manhattan Project and former executive director of the New York City Planning Commission; Ronald Short, former director of the Phoenix Planning Department; and Bruce McClendon, planning director of Fort Worth, Texas. 

Mayor Bradley will now conduct interviews with all six candidates. Though an appointment is still expected by the end of the year, the timetable could slip into January.

Planning Director Miscellany 

UC Berkeley professor and former San Francisco planning director Allen Jacobs, considered by many to be the front-runner for the position, withdrew his name from consider­ation, citing family considerations. 

The appearance of Norman Krumholz on the list has caused the loudest buzz around City Hall. Krumholz, whose “advocacy planning” style shook up Cleveland in the 1960’s and 1970’s, would likely bring an emphasis on inner-city areas to the Planning Department.

The top scorer in the Personnel Department’s evaluation was Con Howe, with 95 out of a possible 100 points. Melanie Fallon scored 90 points and Frank Eberhard scored 79. The top three runners-up were Charles Thurow, the deputy director in Chicago, Irwin Kaplan, formerly planning director of Beverly Hills, and Elbert Waters, the planning director in Miami.  

The End of La Vina?

The State Supreme Court has refused to hear the Friends of La Vina case, on whether developers may se­lect their own EIR consultants. This marks the final chapter of a case much discussed in these pages over the last year. In August, the Court of Appeal reversed a Superior Court decision that had ruled that EIR’s must be prepared by, or under contract to, a public agency (see TPR article here). That decision left intact the procedures of public agencies which allow devel­opers to arrange for EIR preparation, though it noted the public agency’s responsibility for “independence, ob­jectivity. and thoroughness” in its review. 

Ironically, though La Vina de­velopers won in court on the EIR issue, the L.A. County Regional Planning Commission during November voted 3-2 to deny the project’s developers their entitlements. The denial will likely be appealed to the Board of Supervisors. 

Sacramento Update 

The growth management front in Sacramento is temporarily quiet until Governor Wilson tips his hand on the growth issue in his January 6th State of the State speech. But despite the current legislative recess, planning issues will be addressed in two December 17th hearings by the Senate Local Government Committee. The committee will hold a hearing on Assemblywoman Gwen Moore’s AB 2223, addressing the relationship between the Permit Streamlining Act and CEQA. 


The Committee will also exam­ine redevelopment agencies’ housing programs, focusing on the so-called “use it or lose it” provision. Under state law, localities will be required within the next two years to either spend their housing set-aside funds, or turn them over to the County Hous­ing Authority to build housing within the locality. 

State Housing Bond Issue

Sen. David Roberti is sponsor­ing SB 593, a $450 million General Obligation Bond issue to be placed on the June 1992 ballot. The bill passed the Senate in August and is awaiting action in the Assembly Housing Committee. 

Action is needed early in 1992 in order to qualify for the ballot. The bond proposal is similar to Roberti’s Prop. 84 program and would fund programs of the Department of Hous­ing and Community Development (HCD) and the California Housing Finance Agency (CHFA) 

CMP Update 

The Congestion Management Plan is still slated for adoption in the fall of 1992. LACTC staff is resolving technical issues, such as the size of the local arterial system that will be included in the CMP network. The firm of Meyer, Mohaddes Associ­ates is conducting the nexus study for the proposed countywide mitigation fee in the CMP. Foes of the fee are gearing up for a struggle next year. 

Vacancy Rates in the Area 

With the economy on everyone’s mind these days, a selected year-end look at some office vacancy rates, as calculated by the Seeley Company, is in order. Downtown Los Angeles’s direct vacancy rate is 17.66 percent, down slightly from the June 1991 rate of 17.83 percent. Glendale’s rate is essentially identical — 17.67 percent. But its slower-growth neighbor, Pasadena, retains a tighter market, with only an 8.94 percent vacancy rate. 

Musical Chairs 

Donald McIntyre, formerly City Manager for Pasadena, has become President and CEO of the Central City Association in Los Angeles. Tracy Thomas, formerly of Rose and Kindel, has become Manager of Lo­cal Governmental Affairs for the California Association of Realtors. Judith Johnston-Weston, formerly with the Downtown Los Angeles Transportation Management Asso­ciation, will head the Burbank Media District Transportation Management Organization.


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