March 30, 1992 - From the March, 1992 issue

Inside Planning: Around the Region and State

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

 

Sacramento Update 

As The Planning Report went to press, there was still no word from Governor Wilson’s office on the release of his long-awaited growth management proposals. Many Sacramento observers are now wondering whether we will see any proposals this year, and if we do, whether the Governor is willing to fight for their passage in this session. 

Sacramento was also buzzing in February over Assemblyman Sam Farr’s (D-Carmel) broadside against the Governor in a San Jose Mercury News op-ed piece. Farr described being “shocked” by the Governor’s last-minute omission of growth management from the January State of the State address and criticized the Governor for his lack of leadership and for stepping back on his promise “to put the management of this state’s growth at the top of his policy agenda.” 

New Curbs on SLAPP Suits? 

Assemblywoman Gwen Moore (D-Los Angeles) has introduced a bill (AB 2828) to curb so-called SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) filed by developers against homeowners associations. The bill would entitle homeowners associations to collect attorneys fees and punitive damages if an intent is found to “stifle free speech rights of homeowners.” It also would require developers to demonstrate the merit of a suit against homeowners. A similar bill was vetoed by Governor Wilson last year. 

 Howe’s Welcome to L.A. 

The Los Angeles City Council unanimously confirmed Con Howe as the city’s new planning director on February 19th. Howe’s salary of $145,000 became the primary subject of Council debate after Budget and Finance Committee Chair Zev Yaroslavsky proposed cutting the salary to $115,000. The Council approved the higher salary by an 11-3 margin.

Howe, the former Executive Director of the New York City Planning Commission, will be completing his cross-country move this month and is likely to assume his duties during the first week of April. 

In introductory remarks to the Planning Department’s staff on the day of his confirmation, Howe stressed that the department should take “a clear, articulate position: on planning issues, and signaled his intention “to use the Zucker audit as a blueprint.” He also cleared up a source of curiosity, saying, “My first name really is Con. That’s all there is.” 

LACTC Update 

On February 12th, the Los Angeles County Transportation Commission’s (LACTC) Planning and Mobility Improvement Committee voted to direct staff to cease work of the countywide mitigation fee of the Congestion Management Program (CMP). The fee, for which a “nexus” study is underway, has come under fire from the development community. The LACTC will be holding a workshop on March 18th at 1:30p.m. at the County Board of Supervisor’s Hearing Room, Hall of Administration, to present alternative methods of implementing the CMP without a fee. 

During February, LACTC held a hearing on the Westside extension of Metrorail, amidst a brewing campaign by the professional planning and design communities to bring about reconsideration of a Metro Rail extension along Wilshire Boulevard. But will it be enough to sway Congressman Henry Waxman? 

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Fox Plans Hounded 

Fox Studios’ proposed expansion in Century City has become the hottest land-use dispute on the West Side. In February, Fox sought to mollify public concerns over its 771,000 sq. ft. expansion of office and production space by agreeing to a traffic monitoring system. Council­man Zev Yaroslavsky is pushing for a reduction in office space.

Paramount Ranch Decision 

An appeals court on February 18th upheld Los Angeles County’s review process for an Environmental Impact Report in the Paramount Ranch case. At issue was the fate of a proposed 150-unit housing project on a 320-acre Santa Monica Mountains parcel in Agoura, on the former site of the Renaissance Pleasure Faire.

In a decision that has not been published, the appeals court upheld limiting the EIR’s alternative site analysis based on economic feasibility. It also cited last year’s La Vina decision on EIR consultant selection in ruling in the County’s favor. 

New County DRP Hours 

Don’t count on doing business with the Los Angeles County Department or Regional Planning on Fridays. Effective March 16th, DRP will go on a 4/40 work schedule in which all of the department’s 125 Civic Center employees will work a 10-hour-a-day, Monday through Thursday schedule. DRP’s new public service hours will be 7:30a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday.

Musical Chairs 

State Sen. Leroy Greene (D­Sacramento) has been replaced as chair of the Senate Housing and Urban Affairs Committee by Sen. Mike Thompson (D-Napa). Greene has become chair of the Revenue and Taxation Committee... L.A. County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has succeeded Long Beach Councilman Ray Grabinski as Chair of the LACTC. L.A. City Councilman Richard Alatorre was named vice chair, which means he will become next year’s chairman. 

Linda Wade has replaced Bill Bicker as Mayor Bradley’s transportation aide... Chris Robert has left Councilwoman Rita Walters’ office; Lani Sakoda has joined her staff as planning deputy… And Interim L.A. Planning Director Melanie Fallon is no longer in limbo: she will revert to her former position of Deputy Director for comprehensive planning.

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