March 30, 1993 - From the March, 1993 issue

Inside Planning: Around the City and the Region

More MTA news, an update from the South Park Stakeholders Group, and more — The Planning Report shares recent land use and urban planning news of the City of Los Angeles and region.

MTA Roundup 

Franklin White, New York State’s Transportation Commissioner, has been selected to become Executive Director of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. He will assume his duties in April, when the names LACTC and RTD fade into history.

It appears as if LACTC’s decision to negotiate exclusively with Watt City Center for a headquarters building will fall into White’s lap. LACTC’s decision sparked a firestorm of criticism because Watt is a key contributor to Mayor Tom Bradley and because, unlike LACTC’s current headquarters and RTD’s prospective headquarters building near Union Station, the Watt site is in Central City West, several blocks from a subway station. 

The MTA will hold a day-long symposium on “Emerging Designs for Transit-Based Communities: Case Studies of Three Metro Stations” on April 8th at the Los Angeles Hilton, 7th St. and Figueroa. For more information, contact the MTA at (213) xxx-xxxx

LACTC has approved construction of the Pasadena to Los Angeles light rail line, scheduled to open in November 1997. 

People on the Move 

Ed Rowe, General Manager of the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, retired at the end of February. Assistant General Manager Tom Connor will become Acting General Manager while a search takes place for a permanent replacement. 

Harry Hufford, L.A. County’s Chief Administrative Officer from 1974-1985, has been named as interim CAO for the next several months while the Board of Supervisors finds a successor to retired CAO Richard Dixon. Senior Assistant Administrative Officer Gerald Roos has been given enlarged authority over the county'’ budget process.

In the State Senate, Sen. Mike Thompson will be leaving his Housing Committee chairmanship to become chair of the Natural Resources Committee. Thompson will likely be replaced in the spring by Sen. Jim Costa, assuming that Costa survives his special election. 

Vanishing Planners 

If you’re looking for a familiar face on L.A. County’s Regional Planning Department staff, you may be out of luck: 15% of the staff has taken the County’s early retirement package. 

Meanwhile, a vote on layoffs in the City of L.A.’s Planning Department has been postponed until April, while a City Council Ad Hoc Committee examines the budget picture in more detail.

South Park Stakeholders 

The South Park Stakeholders Group, an organization of property owners and business leaders in the South Park area of downtown, has launched a major planning study for its area (see here for more details). The $24,500 study, being financed by the LA/CRA, will address land use issues, public safety, and clean-up options. The Stakeholders Group expects the study to be completed in early spring. 

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Governor’s Growth Plans 

Governor Wilson’s long-awaited proposals on growth issues have received mixed reviews since their unveiling last month. The “strategic growth” report included proposals for a new state infrastructure agency, a new integrated state plan and a local comprehensive plan to replace the current general plan process, CEQA reform and streamlining, and enhanced Councils of Government (COGs). 

“Governor Wilson offered a modest collection of good ideas,” said Peter Detwiler, consultant to Republican Senator Marian Bergeson’s Local Government Committee, in a comment typical of early reaction. No bills had been introduced based on the Governor’s proposals, with the Governor’s office preferring to play a facilitator’s role rather than introducing legislation. 

Several growth bills were introduced in the Legislature during February. Sen. Robert Presley has introduced SB 377, which is similar to his SB 929 introduced in the last session, backed by a coalition of business and environmental groups. 

Perhaps of more concern in Sacramento these days: the Governor’s budget asks localities to surrender $2.6 billion in property taxes to school districts. That may require local governments to raise taxes, cut programs, and further prod localities to compete for businesses generating high sales tax revenues. 

Plan Framework Meetings 

The L.A. City Planning Department will have its first public meetings on the Citywide General Plan Framework during March and April. 

The Framework — the city’s two-year effort to manage future growth, direct infrastructure investments, and define a new planning vision for the city — got underway with one-on-one interviews with key opinion leaders. (See here for more information on the Framework). 

The six “community issues and visions workshops” will take place in communities around Los Angeles. For more details, call the Planning Department at (213) xxx-xxxx. 

Studio Expansion Update 

The expansion of Fox Studios goes to a vote of the L.A. City Planning Commission on March 18th. At a February hearing, commissioners praised the project but put off a vote so Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky and the studios could narrow their differences.

In West Hollywood, the Warner Studios expansion was set for approval as TPR went to press, with most of the opposition overcome by the Studios’ commitment to help revitalize the city’s East End. (See here for more information on the previous debate of Studio expansion.)

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