November 30, 1993 - From the November, 1993 issue

Insider Planning: Around the City and the Region


Decongesting the CMP 

After three years of work, the Metropolitan Transit Authority is ready to send the 1993 Congestion Management Program (CMP) for Los Angeles County to the MTA board for adoption in November. At the October 20 CMP Policy Advisory Committee (PAC) meeting, a motion by Tom Conner, General Manager, Los Angeles Department of Transportation, to expand the definition of transit corridor headway criterion to 10 minutes or less was approved by the PAC. Expending the headway criteria to 10 minutes or less for transit corridors would increase the number of transit corridors that would be included in the County Deficiency Plan, benefiting areas of South Central Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley that would have been excluded under the more restrictive criterion. 

Development Fee Surcharge 

The L.A. City Council on October 26 quietly asked the City Attorney to prepare an ordinance establishing a 7 percent surcharge on planning fee and a 1.5 percent surcharge on Building and Safety and Bureau of Engineering fees. The money would be put in a trust fund to pay for the Planning Department's Geographic Information System (GIS), Planning Upgraded Phone System (PUPS) and the first phase of the Planning Case Tracking System (PCTS). The new system upgrades were part of the Zucker report recommendation on the Planning Department. 

CRA Update 

The City Council directed the CRA to issue $70 million in Bunker Hill Tax Allocation bonds to pay for affordable housing. That money would be enough to fund existing projects in the pipeline and more. In the wake of the failure of the sale/leaseback of the Central Library, which affordable housing advocates opposed because it would have diverted money from low-income housing, the Council's action reaffirms the importance of the Bunker Hill tax increment funds for citywide housing development.

The CRA and the Environmental Affairs Department have gotten the go­ahead from the City Council to produce a Citywide CEQA Manual… The CRA will 1amch a five-year plan to produce 600 new and rehabilitated housing units for low and moderate income families in its Hollywood project area. The plan also includes coming up with a replacement strategy if private developers want to remove low-income housing in order to build market rate units. 

Angels Flight To Be Restored 

The Los Angeles City Council recently approved unanimously a plan for the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency to restore and reconstruct Angels Flight. Angels Flight is a cable car funicular that transported more than one hundred million people from 1901 to 1969, between the heart of Downtown Los Angeles and Bunker Hill. The first phase of the renovation will be a request for bid to be issued by the Los Angeles CRA in December 1993, to be followed in February 1994 by an award of bid to a contractor, to restore the two Angels Flight cars, Olivet and Sinai. 

The New, Diverse San Fernando Valley 


According to a recently released study by the UCLA Graduate School of Planning, the San Fernando Valley stereotype of a suburban enclave no longer holds true. Authors of the study, titled "Beyond Suburbia: The Changing Face of the San Fernando Valley," suggest that the area’s changing demographics, with a declining Anglo population and increasing Latino population (Latinos now constitute 32 percent of the Valley population), has created a situation of poor planning as elected officials and other policy makers are out of touch with the rapid changes. The study points out that the planning process is held hostage by well-heeled and well-organized groups, including homeowner associations, with poor residents and renters often having no voice in deciding what gets built where. New housing is built in areas that don’t need it, such as the southwest part of the Valley, and transit decisions are made with little regard to where transportation improvements are needed. 

Sacramento Update 

While the Legislature failed to pass significant legislation in the areas of housing elements, growth management and reform of housing laws, Governor Wilson did sign some significant legislation regarding planning and development. As expected the Governor signed AB 1290 by Assemblyman Phil Isenberg, the community redevelopment overhaul bill. While passage of AB 1290 may be sufficient to hold off more drastic redevelopment reforms, other legislators may carry specific reform bills in 1994 as federal officials close military bases. SB 428 by Senator Thompson became law, allowing a one-time 24 month extension for unexpired subdivision tentative maps. 

The California Bergeson-Peace Infrastructure Act, setting up a state infrastructure bank within the California Housing Finance Agency was continued as part of a two-year-bill. While interest in creating an infrastructure bank will remain high in 1994, success will be complicated by disagreement on how to link its operation to state and local growth management policies. 

Although Governor Wilson released his Strategic Growth report in February, political gridlock continues over the content of Statewide growth management policies, the use of urban limit lines, and the role of state government. The two important growth management bills, SB 272 (Bergeson) and SB 377 (Presley) have been extended as part of a two-year bill. After five years of debating state-wide growth management, a successful bill in 1994 will require intense negotiations and strong political leadership. Finally, as the relationship between the State and local governments continues to change the Senate Committee on Local Government will be holding an interim hearing called "Restructuring The State-Local Relationship'' on Tuesday, November23, at the Santa Ana City Hall

Tillman Water Reclamation

At the request of Councilwoman Laura Chick, the L.A. Board of Public Works will prepare full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) on a $2 million cesspool dumping facility at the Tillman Water Reclamation Plant in the Sepulveda Basin. The year-long EIR process will examine the full impacts of the cesspool dumping program and a study of alternative sites for the facility. "A full environmental review should have been completed prior to construction," Chick told the board at its October 22 meeting. "Had an EIR been done two years ago, we would have much more complete information about the potential impacts of this facility." The EIR could delay the plant’s opening, originally scheduled for April 1994, by eight months or more.

On the Move

Anne Odell, Acting Director of Planning, Building and Neighborhood Services for city of Pasadena, has accepted the position of Director of Community Planning, Housing & Development for Arlington County, Virginia. Mayor Richard Riordan appointed the fifth and final member of the Board of Public Works. He is Adam Duncan, a litigation associate at Bryan Cave, specializing in the areas of construction defect, real estate, environmental and commercial litigation.


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