January 30, 1992 - From the January, 1992 issue

TPR Subscribers Share Their Expectations for the Year Ahead

What’s ahead in 1992 in planning and land-use policy? That is The Planning Report’s annual question to our subscribers, whose answers, we hope, will help you an­ticipate changes in land-use policy for the year ahead. 

With the current condition of the economy, public policymakers in Los Angeles will be taking steps to en­courage the attraction and retention of business during 1992. I believe we are already seeing some movement in this direction, and I consider it a hopeful sign. 

Donald F. McIntyre, Central City Association

The 50-year-old Venice Canals controversy will die a peaceful death as we begin restoration. Also, telecommuting centers will begin to emerge in Los Angeles. 

Ruth Galanter, L.A. City Council, Sixth District

The prolonged recession will cause planners and cities to give greater attention to the attraction and retention of business. Disney’s decision not to come to Long Beach has reinforced concerns about the economy in the city. We are continuing with downtown redevelop­ment, and we are looking at alternate uses for the Disney site and for the Navy Yard. I also think that 1992 will bring a greater tendency for decentralization toward neighbor­hoods, at the same time as we’ll see greater centralization through regionalism. 

Robert Paternoster, Long Beach Planning Director 

Local land-use planning efforts funded by AQMD under AB 2766 to clean up auto pollution are likely to result in slight alterations to the transportation terrain in many cities in 1992. AQMD already has provided $16 million to support cities’ proposed efforts such as synchronizing traffic flow, mixing commercial and residential develop­ment to reduce traffic, and creating bicycle paths. The amount of money available will grow in 1992 as the vehicle registration surcharge goes from $2 to $4 in April. Surely these city and county land use modification programs will grow in number, ingenuity, and sophistication. 

Henry Wedaa, Chairman-Elect, SCAQMD 

The year ahead for urban design and architecture demands that we take belier advantage of significant op­portunities. For example, Disney Hall must not be allowed to become an island on its own property. Grand Avenue needs to receive its full share of attention and funding if effective linkages are to be made between Disney Hall, the Music Center, and MOCA. The same attention must be given to Figueroa Street at the Convention Center. An extraordinary hotel and other auxiliary enterprises must make the east side of the street come to life. Both of these projects have the power to be strong catalysts. Both use public funds. We ought not fall short once again in realizing the full potential of our investments. 

Robert S. Harris, Dean, USC School of Architecture 

I expect apartment rents to continue to drift lower for the first half of 1992 and gradually increase during the second half of the year. Apartment vacancies should show gradual improvement throughout the year. Even though I expect the California economy will stay soft during all of 1992, prices of for-sale housing are probably bottoming out at the present time. Lower interest rates will give the home buyer confidence and result in modest price increases, in the order of five percent. 

David Reznik, Ring Financial Inc., Santa Monica

The Chinese character for “crisis” — composed of two characters meaning “danger” and “opportunity” —  will aptly describe the state of development and planning policymaking in 1992. Fundamental demographic, eco­nomic, social, and political upheavals in California have reached a critical mass. Radical changes in state policies will follow:

  • Growth Management: Not finished cooking yet, but Wilson will get started with a state growth manage­ment plan using existing authority.

  • Infrastructure Finance: Will move to the front. Look for State Treasurer Kathleen Brown to set the pace.

  • Development Regulation: Search is on for compact, mixed-use, higher density development patterns and more efficient (read cheaper and timely) regulation.

  • Affordable Housing: Remove some regulatory constraints but make sure those developers really build affordable housing.

  • Environmental Regulation: Don’t believe all the hype about rolling the clock back to the 1950’s in the name of jobs. But look for some real reforms. 

David Booher, Sacramento-based government relations consultant, Geyer Associates 

SCAG will develop the first Comprehensive Regional Plan for Southern California in 1992. The key compo­nent of the plan will be an Economic Transition Strategy. The Strategy will assess the changes occurring in our economy and develop policy recommendations to deal with our looming long-term problems of unemployment and housing overcrowding. The transportation element of the Plan, to be constructed in a bottom-up process, will include Transportation Control Measures that meet the requirements of the new Federal Clean Air Act. 

Mark Pisano, Executive Director Southern California Association of Governments 

In the coming year, narrowly focused interest groups will start to decline in influence as economic and envi­ronmental pressures force decision makers to look at the broader impacts of their actions. The trade-offs won’t get any easier, but the political winds will shift toward demanding solutions, not Band-Aids. Wishful thinking? Not if we make it happen. 

Julie Gertler, Consensus Planning Group 

1992 will be a slow year — but will give the City of Los Angeles and planning professionals an opportunity to devote time to meaningful streamlining of the devel­opment process. Now that the City has embraced new concepts such as mixed-use, jobs-housing balance, and higher-density housing, 1992 is the year to provide imple­mentation mechanisms to expedite processing and encour­age housing production and development in the City. 

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Clare Bronowski, Christensen, White, Miller, Fink and Jacobs 

The influence of organized homeowner groups will continue to grow in 1992 in the absence of comprehensive planning strategies and the presence of decade-old com­munity plans. Their sphere of influence will broaden as city-wide homeowner group coalitions emerge in the face of city, county, and regional challenges in transportation, housing, and social issues, as well as legal challenges in community development. 

Tony Lucente, President, Studio City Residents Association 

When people are out of work, issues such as TRIP fees fade in comparison to jobs and economic growth. The overriding concern in planning and land use during 1992 will be the state of the economy.

Gerry Hertzberg, Chief Legislative Deputy, Supervisor Gloria Molina 

I expect the local real estate market to remain flat until summer, then slowly start to recover. The recovery, however, will come only in housing and in public works projects, such as transportation. I don’t expect anything to happen in commercial development for the next four years. 

Christopher Martin, Albert C. Martin Associates

  1. In light of the Warner Ridge decision and other 1991 cases, local agencies will be more accountable for their planning decisions and therefore less cavalier in their approach to the entitlement process.

  2. Some form of regional governance legislation will be adopted by the State Legislature, with the result that local agencies will have less say in the approval of projects of regional significance. 

  3. The City of Los Angeles will be persuaded that its recently-announced EIR policies, which would effectively result in the exclusion of consultants from the heart of the process, are counterproductive and unnecessary, and policy refinements will result in early 1992. 

John C. "Chris” Funk, Paul, Hastings, Janofsky, and Walker 

1992 must be a year where we incorporate efficiency and an understanding of the big picture. Our decisions as a city — whether in land use, transportation, housing, or the arts — have an impact on this city’s business climate. 

Doing things piecemeal will no longer work. We need a comprehensive vision for this city that addresses all these factors and brings much-needed jobs, housing, and economic development. 

Mike Hernandez, Los Angeles City Council, First District 

The continuing recession, with California’s recov­ery lagging behind the rest of the country, will provide the Governor and Legislature with a welcome excuse to drop comprehensive growth management. “Growth management” will disappear from the planning lexicon as interested parties realize it is merely a new term for land use; the only object is to move the growth around. 

With luck, the emerging consensus for integrated, enforceable regional infrastructure and environmental planning will survive the strafing by local elected offi­cials as development and environmental interests get together to support consolidation of dozens of overlap­ping and disjointed plans. The legislation needed to accomplish sensible consolidation is unlikely to emerge until the next two-year session. 

Mary D. Nichols, Natural Resources Defense Council 

In light of the economic climate, we need to scrutinize our presently-anticipated infrastructure projects very carefully. In 1992, we will see a differentiation between those projects we are required to undertake, and those which it would be nice to do, but which can be put off. 

John Murray, Commissioner, Board of Public Works; Member Rail Construction Corporation Board 

1992 will be a better year because the rains came. The five-year drought may be broken but the long-term specter of global warming has not diminished. The implications will be felt locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally for the rest of our lives and beyond. 

Gary L. Morris, GLM Associates 

With the appointment of a new planning director and implementation of recommendations made by the Zucker audit task force, I firmly believe that the day-to-to­day and long-range operations of the planning process in the City of Los Angeles will be streamlined in 1992. This will result in a significant reduction to the cost of devel­opment in Los Angeles. 

Hal Bernson, Los Angeles City Council, 12th District

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