May 30, 1997 - From the May, 1997 issue

Inside Planning: DTLA—“Yes” on BID, Marina Del Rey Redevelopment, and more!

People/Briefly

  • Last month, the Council's Charter Reform Commission elected member George David Kieffer Chairman. 
  • Former Assemblyman Richard Katz has turned down the Clinton Administration's offer to chair the Federal Highway Administration in favor of running for the State Senate seat currently occupied by Herschel Rosenthal (D-Los Angeles). 
  • Pasadena City Councilman Chris Holden was anointed Mayor of Pasadena by his fellow councilmembers for the following year. 
  • L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky has appointed former Trust for Public Land field office Director Esther Feldman to the L.A. County Regional Planning Commission. 
  • The L.A. Business Team's Hollywood-area specialist Lesa Slaughter is leaving on May 16 to join the law firm of Riordan & McKenzie. 
  • Wendy Norrel, the Central City Association's Downtown BID Project Manager, is leaving her position on May 16. Having seen the petition process to successful completion, she is relocating with her family to the East Coast.
  • The Archdiocese of L.A. announced that Santa Monica-based Morley Construction Company will be the general contractor for its new Cathedral project in Downtown L.A. 
  • The USC School of Architecture is honoring Greene & Greene scholar Randell Makinson, Hon. AIA, this month as its 1997 Distinguished Alumnus. 
  • Simon Pastuchia is leaving his post as Councilman Mike Feuer's Planning Deputy and will be returning to the City of Los Angeles Planning Department. 
  • L.A. City Council is expected to vote within four weeks on additional CHDO funds for the Housing Department. 
  • Renovations have begun on the new State office building at the old Broadway Department Store building on Broadway, Downtown. To be completed December 1998.

Notes

L.A. City Budget

The City Council's Budget & Finance Committee approved Mayor Riordan's FY 1997-1998 Budget earlier this month, making few changes. The Housing Department's appropriations shrank this year by 4% to $ 18 million, but the Department expects to be able to originate $20 million in new CDBG and HOME loans. The Planning Department's budget increased by 6% to $22.3 million, including funding for a four-year project to computerize and automate many of its zoning maps. Public Work's $4.8 million budget represents a 3% drop from last year, but provides full support for the Director of Project Restore to rehabilitate City Hall. 

Pacific Pipeline Settlement

Construction can begin June 2 in the Angeles National Forest on the controversial Pacific Pipeline project, now that mutual litigation between the City of L.A. and Pacific Pipeline Corporation has been settled out of court. Among the mitigations agreed to by the developer is the laying of 72 fiber optic cables the length of the pipeline, exclusively for the City of L.A.'s use. Franchises are still needed from some jurisdictions in the pipeline's path, but the California Public Utilities Commission's approval of the project's EIR leaves little room for discretion.

Santa Monica General Plan 

Having recently approved the Housing Element of the Santa Monica General Plan, City Council will consider the proposed Circulation Element on June 20. Among the Element's possible provisions is a revision of the priority given to Level of Service—i.e., traffic capacity—of nearby streets and intersections when evaluating project EIRs. Increased attention to pedestrian impacts of development is likely. 

CRA Cap—North Hollywood 

Superior Court Judge Diane Wayne ruled last month that the CRA's twenty-minute hearing on raising its North Hollywood spending cap from $89 million to $535 million was not sufficient. The Redevelopment Agency said it needs the money to complete projects already begun and to fix earthquake damage in the area. But critics charge the CRA's year­and-a-half-old supporting documentation is no longer valid. CRA attorneys are weighing possible action. 

Downtown L.A.-"Yes" on BID

The Central City Association (CCA) led the drive that won support from 209 property owners to establish a Business Improvement District (BID) in a 65-block section of Downtown L.A. On January 1, 1998 property owners will begin taxing themselves between $0.062 and $0.086 cents per square foot of property, for a total $3.2 million. The BID proposal goes to City Council this summer.

Mira-Hart-Murietta Fees 

State legislators who have authored competing measures to nullify developer fees imposed under the Mira-Hart-Murietta court decision agreed voluntary to reduce their bills to "intent language" (no longer requiring any action, but reflecting legislative policy). The move acknowledges that more effective legislation will come after the Special Committee on School Facilities Finance, formed by Sen. Pro Tern Bill Lockyer (D-Hayward) and Assembly Speaker Cruz Bustamante (D-Fresno), can release its recommendations. 

Marina Del Rey Redevelopment

L.A. County will soon release a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for developers seeking to build in Marina Del Rey. The Marina Del Rey Asset Management Strategy adopted by the Board of Supervisors last month calls for two initial "catalytic projects"—one, a destination retail/entertainment promenade replete with an IMAX theater; and the other, a more sedate project including recreational water facilities and public space for markets and concerts. Developers for each of the two projects could be named within 18 months.

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Culver City Dev. Team Named 

After 10 years of wrangling, the Culver City Council has chosen the team of Braemar Urban Ventures of Agoura Hills, the Lee Group of Marina Del Rey, and the Educational Resource Services Center (ERAS) of Culver City to build 57 single-family homes, a park and a school on the last major undeveloped parcel on the Westside. Mixed-use veteran architect Johannes Van Tilburg will design the project, slated to break ground in late 1998. 

Burbank Food Marts & CUP's

On May 13, the Burbank City Council will hear a proposal to require conditional use permits (CUPs) from markets operating between midnight and 6 a.m. within 150 feet of a residential zone. If it passes (as it is expected to), it will further a regulatory trend begun six months ago when the City first began requiring CUPs from liquor stores. 

Santa Monica Blvd. Strategic Plan

The West Hollywood City Council will consider a motion on May 19 by Councilman John Heilman to begin community outreach and seek funding to create and implement a strategic plan for Santa Monica Boulevard. Officials are targeting the Boulevard as a "community main street" in contrast to Melrose and Sunset's more regional stature. Plan area boundaries, sources of funding and other specifics would be determined during outreach.

North Valencia Specific Plan

Santa Clarita City planners received the revised North Valencia Specific Plan late last month. The buffer zone along the Santa Clara river was extended 25 feet to an average of 125 feet. And most of the public park space around the project's lake feature has been replaced with private housing. The EIR will be released for public review in mid-June. Planning Commission hearings begin in July. Project approval could come as early as November. 

Office of Neighborhoods 

L.A. City Councilperson Laura Chick introduced a motion last month asking the Chief Legislative Analyst and the Chief Administrative Officer to report on the proposed establishment of a city "Office of Neighborhoods." The office would coordinate activities of neighborhood centers, where residents could access city services and organize neighborhood efforts such as graffiti removal and zoning code enforcement. The City of Seattle has implemented such a system with favorable results.

Correction

In the previous issue of The Planning Report, prominent First Amendment rights Attorney Harry Salven was misidentified. TPR regrets this error. 

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