July 30, 1996 - From the July, 1996 issue

Inside Planning: Time’s Up for RLA, L.A. River Greenway/Bikeway, and more!

Time's Up for RLA 

As Rebuild Los Angeles (RLA) nears the end of its five-year mandate, CEO Linda Griego and RLA's Board of Directors must face the prospect of seeing RLA cease operations or transition into a new agency. The three proposals under consideration include: l) issuing a final report in April of I 997 and ceasing operations; 2) issuing an RFP and allow the Board to select one or more organizations into which RLA would transition; or 3) creating a spin-off RLA agency under the umbrella of an existing organization. 

According to Griego, "we prefer to the second or third options, in which RLA’s work and strategies would stay intact." The board is expected to discuss the proposals at their August meeting. RLA was created in response to the 1992 Los Angeles civil unrest, and has been very successful in dispelling the myth that the neglected communities of Los Angeles County have no viable economic base.

West Hollywood Video Billboards

The Sunset Strip will soon have publicly-accessible video billboards in addition to the existing, massive and striking billboards which characterize the strip. In early June, the West Hollywood Planning Commission in early June made West Hollywood only the second place in the United States where publicly­accessible billboards are legal (New York City is the other). The Sunset Specific Plan, passed in May by the City Council, allows a total of four video billboards along the strip.

Burbank Airport: Condemnation?

Although the Burbank-Pasadena-Glendale Airport Authority made an offer in June to Lockheed Martin Corp. to purchase 130 acres of land for a proposed terminal expansion project, the deal fell apart. The Authority has now indicated it may use its powers of eminent domain to condemn and take the property. The move follows a six-month "cooling off” period, during which the Authority and the three cities were ordered to mediate their dispute over the airport's expansion plans. 

L.A. River Greenway/Bikeway

Work will begin in August on the L.A. River Greenway, a three-mile stretch of the L.A. River from Riverside Bridge in Griffith Park to Los Feliz. The greenway will include 1,000 trees lining the L.A. River bikeway, which is already under construction. The project is one of three projects created as an outgrowth of Mayor Riordan's L.A. River Task Force, predating the L.A. River Master Plan, which was approved by the Board of Supervisors in May. 

St. Vibiana's Architect Selection

Despite the controversy surrounding the potential demolition of historic St. Vibiana’s Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles, the design of the cathedral was awarded to Madrid architect Jose Rafael Moneo, who was coincidentally, in Los Angeles to accept the 1996 Pritzker Architecture Prize. The ceremony took place at the construction site of The Getty Center, designed by Richard Meier & Part­ners. L.A. Architect Meier and Frank Gehry are previous Pritzker laureates.


Andy Wolf, President of the Pacific Design Center (PDC) in West Hollywood, has resigned after two and a half years at the helm of PDC. He is credited with broadened public access to the showroom at the center by instituting the successful Concierge Service. Insiders say management differences between Wolf and PDC-owner Catellus Development Corp. lead to a rift. 

Terry Matsumoto, formerly MTA controller, and Director of Strategic Funding Analysis for MTA's Regional Transportation Planning Division, has been recruited by Joe Drew as the new Chief Administrative Officer of the LACMTA. He will replace recently-fired L.A. "Kim" Kimball, who was hired by previous CEO, Franklin White

Phyllis Klein has joined Wells Fargo Bank as Director of the Community Lending Department. She was previously director of Community Development and Finance for Union Bank. 


Bob Moncrief, previously Director of Housing Development for the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD), has taken a position as Housing Manager for the City of Santa Monica. Jean Thomas, a financial officer for LAHD, has moved to Wells Fargo as a lending officer. 

Three prominent real estate consultants have joined Kosmont & Associates as vice presidents of the firm. The three are: Grace Ayres, previously Phase I Manager for the Playa Vista Project; Jeff Brain, a recent candidate for L.A. City Council and community leader in the San Fernando Valley; and Michael Wagner, a professional with over 25 years of experience in redevelopment planning and funding. 

A decision is expected in the next few weeks on the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency's newly-created Chief of Strategic Planning position. The also newly-created Deputy Administrator position, however, is still up-for-grabs. 

The Lee Group, Inc. and Shinhan Engineering and Construction celebrated the Grand Opening of Rosewood Village in Garden Grove. The village represents the newest concepts in 103 high-density, single-family detached homes. 

The Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) announced the groundbreaking for a $3.4 million renovation of Little Tokyo's historic Union Church in downtown L.A. The renovation, for which LTSC will act as developer, will become a multi-media and cultural resource center. 

Jubilee West, a nonprofit community development corporation serving the West Oakland (CA) is seeking a manager for its Director of Housing Development.


In the article "Status Update on Alameda Corridor: Shifting to Second GearJonathan Thomas was incorrectly quoted with reference to Congressman Wolf. The sentence should have read: "In a letter, Congressman Wolf said that if Mayor Riordan does not back down from a diversion of funds, the Congressman will not look favorably upon other transportation projects currently under review."

TPR regrets the error.

State Legislation

St. Vibiana's—A recently introduced bill, AB 1056 (Caldera, D-Los Angeles) would add an exemption to CEQA for historic religious structures, essentially removing the court-ordered environmental review of St. Vibiana's Cathedral in downtown Los Angeles. The bill is before the Assembly Natural Resources Committee, and a vote is expected in the next two weeks. 

Development Fees: School Facilities—AB 3174 (Brulte). The bill would cap developer fees for schools at $1.84 per s.f. of new construction and prohibit cities from "considering the adequacy of school facilities as part of the land use approval process.” The bill is one of three bills (ABs 3175, 3176) supported by the Building Industry Association to reduce and reform school facilities fees. The bill was defeated in June in the Senate Housing and Land Use Committee, but will be reconsidered again in early July. 

Housing Elements—AB 3125 (Hawkins) allows cities to incorporate their actual housing programs into the housing element. Existing law focuses on the "site identification" portions of housing elements, but fails to recognize the actual housing assistance actions taken by cities. AB 3125, widely-supported by cities, already passed the Assembly, and will be heard by the Senate Housing and Land Use Committee in early July. 


© 2024 The Planning Report | David Abel, Publisher, ABL, Inc.