March 30, 1996 - From the March, 1996 issue

Inside Planning: Bobbie Fiedler’s Resignation, School Fees, and more!

Real Estate and Development

The City of Long Beach was designated in January as the local redevelopment agency for the Naval Shipyard, which is scheduled for closure in 1997. Of the resulting 250 acres, the Port of Long Beach is expected to get a significant piece. The City of Los Angeles has already formalized the City's option to have the first right to redevelop portions of the base which include Navy housing, and which are located in San Pedro. 

The California Coastal Commission has approved the development and wetlands restoration plans for the hotly-contested Bolsa Chica property near Huntington Beach. The approved development by Koll Real Estate Group proposes 2,500 homes on the 200-acre Bolsa Chica mesa and 900 homes on 200 acres of low­lands near the ocean. 

The Hawthorne Blvd. Specific Plan, which identifies five "districts" with unique development, sign and landscaping design guidelines along a six mile stretch of Hawthorne Blvd. through the City of Torrance was approved by the Planning Commission and is expected to be heard by the City Council in late March. 

City of Los Angeles

Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board member Bobbi Fiedler resigned in February, citing health and personal reasons. Fiedler, 58, is a former U.S. Congresswoman and was recently one of Mayor Riordan’s choices for reappointment to the Board. 

Mayor Riordan was recently criticized by the Council for not appointing board members from areas undergoing significant redevelopment, particularly in South Los Angeles (13 of the CRA's 26 current redevelopment project areas are in South L.A.). Riordan's three previous nominees—Christine Robert, Juanita Chavez, and Mee Hae Lee—were finally approved by the Council, and Riordan pledged that one of his next three appointments would be from South Los Angeles. That person is expected to fill Fiedler's position. 

School Fees—The Los Angeles City Board of Education is scheduled to consider in early March, an increase in the fees levied on new construction within the district's boundaries. If the Board adopts the increase, effective May 13, 1996, fees will be raised from $1.72 to $1.84/s.f. for residential construction and from 28 cents to 30 cents/s.f. for commercial/industrial construction. 

Fire Sprinklers—Unbeknown to many housing developers, a hidden fire sprinkler ordinance passed in 1994 as part of a hazardous materials omnibus package, included a requirement that single detached housing located more than 1.5 miles from a fire station be equipped with fire sprinklers. City Councilmember Laura Chick has moved to reexamine the hotly-contested ordinance on March 18 before the Public Safety Committee. 


The election of Curt Pringle as Speaker of the House and the transfer of power to the Republican majority is likely to have lasting effects on planning and development legislation for years to come. Environmentalist Byron Sher was replaced by property-rights advocate Keith Olberg as Chairman of the Assembly Natural Resources Committee. Housing Committee Chair, Democrat Dan Hauser was replaced by Republican Phil Hawkins of Cerritos. 

Local cities and the League of California Cities are gearing up to fight the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer's Association as both sides prepare for the impact of the Santa Clara County

Transportation Authority v. Guardino decision, forcing local government to bring already-imposed taxes before the voters. The League of Cities is throwing its weight behind legislation by Senator Jack O'Connell which would designate December 14, 1995 (the date of the State Supreme Court decision) as the effective date of the decision, and validate all taxes enacted prior to December 14, 1995. 


Steven Soboroff was asked by Mayor Richard Riordan to join the Mayor's administration on a volunteer basis as Senior Advisor, while retaining his current position as president of the Board of Recreation and Parks Commission. Soboroff will also maintain his full time practice as a real estate consultant. 

William Samoska, who joined Reznik & Reznik in 1994, has become a partner in the firm. Reznik & Reznik specializes in zoning, land use and environmental law. 


Debbie Bell has been named San Marino's City Manager. Bell, who has served as the interim City Manager since the departure of Keith Till last October, was the unanimous choice of the City Council. 

Jay Cunningham, the City Planner for Culver City, has resigned to take a well-deserved vacation. Carol Delay is the acting City Planner. 

Valerie Shaw, administrator of the Crenshaw Neighborhood Development Corporation, was nominated by Mayor Riordan to the Public Works Commission to replace Sharon Morris, recently named Deputy Mayor. Mike Roos, President of LEARN, was nominated to the Recreation and Parks Commission. 

Jaime "Jim" Aguilare, previously Director of Moorpark's Community Development Department is joining Catherdral City, (near Palm Springs) to take charge of the city's Planning Department. 

Douglas Ring, an attorney with Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp, was appointed by Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. 

Lortis Green, a Senior Planner for neighborhood planning with the City of L.A. Planning Department, was appointed as one of the City's eight Zoning Administrators. 

Anna Lisa Hernandez is leaving the City of Calabasas Planning Department to build affordable housing as project manager for Braemar Urban Ventures. Rob Searcy, previously with the City of Diamond Bar Planning Department, has joined Calabasas as the city's Principal Planner. 

Tim Coyle and Juan Acosta, both formerly of the State's Housing and Community Development department, have been hired by the public affairs arm of the California Business Industry Association. 

Christina Strader was appointed by Governor Wilson as the Director of State Legislation for the California Housing Finance Agency 

In Memorium…

Ted Berkowitz, Senior Management Analyst with the Community Development Dept., creator of the City's Industrial Development Authority, and a specialist in economic development, died on January 27. 1996 after suffering a heart attack. He was 50. 

Jim Wood, the Executive Director of the Los Angeles chapter of the AFL­CIO, former Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency Board Chair, and Los Angeles visionary, died on February 18, after a 15-month battle with cancer. He was 51.


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