February 28, 1992 - From the February, 1992 issue

Inside Planning: Around the Region and State

The Planning Report presents recent land use news of February 1992. 

Warner Ridge Fallout 

The reverberations from the Warner Ridge decision continued during January. Since the decision struck down the City of Los Angeles’ “hierarchical” zoning, parcels where the zoning is more restrictive than the community plan may be inconsistent. 

The city is trying to determine how to address these parcels, originally estimated at 8,000 parcels citywide, but now estimated by the Department to be many times more. Homeowners groups around the city are also grappling with a response, and may press for state legislation legalizing hierarchical zoning. 

Another costly, time-consuming consistency program could not come at a worse time for the Planning Department, already squeezed by the need to implement the Zucker audit’s reforms in a time of fiscal stringencies. Total costs for such a program remain unknown, as does the geographical distribution of such parcels (though early Planning Department estimates show them to be heavily in the San Fernando Valley). 

Meanwhile, the city reached a settlement with Warner Ridge Associates on January 29th. In lieu of $100 million in monetary damages, the developers accepted their entitlements plus a waiver of all city development fees. 

Joint Development Update 

LACTC’s Ad Hoc Committee on Joint Development is accelerating its efforts to undertake housing developments around transit sites. The Committee is examining seven Blue Line transit stations for housing opportunities. In Pasadena, the Janss Corporation is moving forward with a 364-unit mixed-use project near Memorial Park, above the light rail line. UC Berkeley will be undertaking a study of housing opportunities at transit stations around the state, three of which will be in Los Angeles County.

City EIR Policies 

The Planning Department’s directive creating new restrictions on consultants’ role in Environmental Impact Reports (EIR’s) was on-again, off-again, and maybe-on-again during January. Following concerns from consultants, the Department suspended the policy and held workshops to obtain comments. 

At two January 22nd workshops, consultants criticized the new policy because it could force time-consuming meetings, jeopardize legal defensibility, adversely affect design of project alternatives and mitigations, and go beyond the requirements of the La Vina decision. 

On January 30th, the Planning Commission directed the department to appoint a committee that will ensure a workable process and report back in 60 days. 

County Fights Homelessness 

The new 27-member Los Angeles County Homelessness Coordinating Council gave its first formal report to the Board of Supervisors on January 28th. The Board gave its general endorsement to the Council’s recommendations, which include the creation of a comprehensive homeless service center and the provision of homeless services at mental health centers, jails, and other key sites. The County’s CAO will report back on implementation during March. 


The County is also entering into a Joint Powers Agreement with the City of Los Angeles that will create a new governmental authority on homeless issues. The new authority, to be governed by a ten-member commission appointed by the Board of Supervisors and the City Council, would coordinate activities of both governments. The City-County agreement was reached last year, a report on an operations plan will be presented this month, with the hope of being up and running during 1992. 

Ventura Boulevard Update 

The Ventura Boulevard Specific Plan is again capturing attention as it nears its first anniversary. A 13-member Plan Review Board will soon be appointed to review the Plan and an ordinance may soon be drafted to make technical corrections. Property owners along the Boulevard, faced with large TRIP fee bills in a tough economy, are also lobbying to stretch out their payments. 

CRA Legal Saga Ends 

The long-running saga — “how many law firms does it take to serve the CRA?” — ended in January with an answer: 23. The L.A. City Council approved this number, after rejecting Councilwoman Joy Picus’ amendment to include a Valley firm.

Housing Bond Whittled 

Sen. David Roberti’s SB 593, a $1 billion bond issue, has been reduced to a $325 million bond issue following negotiations with Governor Wilson. The bill, already passed by the Senate, was pending in the Assembly at press time. It has not yet been determined whether it will be on the June or the November ballot. 

The largest chunk of the moneys — $120 million — would go for rental housing construction, with $100 million for rehabilitation. Emergency and transitional shelter took the biggest hit, being reduced from $50 million to $7.5 million. 

Musical Chairs 

Los Angeles CRA Commissioners Reverend Thomas Kilgore and Dennis Luna have been reappointed by Mayor Bradley for terms running through 1995… Monica Lozano has been confirmed by the Council as the newest CRA Commissioner. 

Carson Planning Commissioner Frank Gutierrez has resigned… L.A. Interim Planning Director Melanie Fallon’s status is unclear: as a contract employee she lacks civil service protection with the city… Mark Winogrond is leaving his position as a planner with the law firm of Paul, Hastings, Janofsky, and Walker to become Community Development Director of Culver City.


© 2024 The Planning Report | David Abel, Publisher, ABL, Inc.