April 30, 1993 - From the April, 1993 issue

Inside Planning: Around the City and the Region

The Planning Report presents recent land-use news of the City of Los Angeles and the region. Some topics include updates to the studio expansions and the recent MTA. 

People on the Move 

Architect Kate Diamond has left the Los Angeles Board of Zoning Appeals and has been replaced by planner Marlene Grossman. 

Fernando Torres-Gil has been appointed to a key Clinton administration post in the Health and Human Services Department, under HHS Secretary Donna Shalala. He will leave his L.A. Planning Commission post in mid-April. 

Dennis Eschan, Zoning Administrator for the City of Long Beach, has left the Planning Department for a position with Long Beach’s Parks and Recreation Department. He has been replaced by Lisa Heep, formerly with the City of Irvine. 

John Tuite, former administrator of the L.A. Community Redevelopment Agency, has been named the community development director of Palm Springs… Rex Lotery and Mark Futterman, formerly with UCLA’s Urban Innovations Group, have formed a new partnership in Venice. 

Town House Demo Derby 

When the owners of the former Sheraton Town House, on Wilshire Boulevard at Lafayette Park, applied for a demolition permit to replace the building with a surface parking lot, a major preservation battle erupted. The Cultural Heritage Commission voted 3-2 in March to deny its designation as a Historic-Cultural landmark.

But the City Council has agreed to hear the designation issue, with its vote imminent at press time. Housing developer Tom Safran has indicated an interest in reusing the property, built in 1929, for housing. 

L.A. Housing Partnership

The Los Angeles Housing Partnership, a joint effort of local government, the business community, and non-profit developers, is gearing up under new Executive Director Lou Bernardy. The Partnership, which got off to a shaky start three years ago under former Board Chair David Murdock, will develop housing in distressed neighborhoods. 

The Partnership will develop properties both on its own and jointly with non-profit developers. It will also provide technical and financial assistance to non-profits. For information, contact LAHP at (213) xxx-xxxx. 

HPPD Moves Offices 

The City of L.A.’s Housing Preservation and Production Department (HPPD) has left its some­what dingy quarters at 215 W. Sixth St. for space in the historic San Fernando Building, 400 S. Main St. HPPD will be occupying the fifth through the eighth floors. 

Preserving Venice Bungalows 

A group of Venice activists have developed a proposal to save Venice’s historic bungalow housing. A working group composed of lobbyist Mark Ryavec, architect Michael King, and preservationist Betsy Goldman has developed a proposal for a Historic Preservation Density Bonus to be included in the Local Implementation Plan of Venice’s proposed Local Coastal Plan. 

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The proposal would provide a density bonus for the preservation of pre-1940s structures and would relax parking requirements when an older structure is renovated. Councilwoman Ruth Galanter is having her Community Planning Advisory Committee look at the proposal. 

CRA Gets Into Security 

In addition to approving the CRA’s Recovery Redevelopment Plans, the L.A. City Council on April 2nd approved another redevelopment first: $750,000 in CRA funds will go to Patriot Security for private security services in Hollywood.

Studio Expansion Update 

With economic development concerns now predominating in the debates, the once-contentious studio expansions of the region are moving toward approval. The expansion of Fox Studios cleared a hurdle on April 1st with a 4-0 approval by the City Planning Commission. But Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky signaled that the City Council will likely place more stringent restrictions on the project than did the Commission. 

Meanwhile, the West Hollywood City Council in March approved the Warner Hollywood Studio expansion. 

Sacramento Report 

On April 14th, the Senate Local Government Committee will hold its first major hearings on the current batch of growth management bills. The most closely watched bills are Sen. Robert Presley’s SB 377 (on growth management policies and processes) and SB 844 (an accompanying bill providing infrastructure funding). SB 377 is essentially a reintroduction of last year’s SB 929, legislation that grew out of Sacramento State’s Growth Management Consensus Project. 

Meanwhile, Governor Wilson’s “strategic growth” proposals, released in February, still have not been translated into legislative language. The Governor’s office has been holding meetings on its plan with key players. 

The State Senate’s tone on planning issues could change if Sen. Marian Bergeson, chair of the Local Government, survives her politically charged confirmation test to become Superintendent of Public Instruction.

MTA Notes

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority kicked off on April 1st, with executive director Franklin White already at the helm… The Clinton stimulus package, if passed, could mean $28 million for the MTA. 

The MTA, facing a storm of criticism over its selection of the Watt City Center project in Central City West as the site for its headquarters, has deflected the issue to a three person committee: Mayor Tom Bradley, Supervisor Ed Edelman, and Glendale Councilmember Larry Zarian. The Watt site’s prospects are apparently fading fast.

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