January 23, 2004 - From the January, 2004 issue

A Survey Of TPR Readers On Land-Use And Planning Policy Priorities for 2004

The Planning Report is pleased to present the opinions and analysis of some of its readers on the critical land-use and planning challenges facing Southern California in the coming year.

California's unabated population growth of more than a half million people per year requires leadership from the state level to see and achieve a livable future. The role of the State of California should be to form and provide capital for infrastructure in the areas of schools, colleges, universities, transit and transportation, affordable housing, clean air and water, and parks, open space and habitat conservation. In order to provide that capital to local communities, there needs to be a shared agenda to revitalize our cities, older suburban communities, protect agricultural lands, and have a pristine environment to hand off as our generational legacy. Therefore, capital funds from the state to local governments must have conditions attached that will assure that infrastructure is used to build livable communities, not feed an endless urge to sprawl.

-Fred Keeley,
Executive Director, Planning and Conservation League

At Genesis LA, we believe a focus on smart growth in the urban core should be a priority for government and investors. Bringing jobs and needed services to underserved neighborhoods will payoff in many ways, doing both social and economic good.

-Brad Rosenberg,
CEO/President, Genesis LA

In 2004, with calamitous fiscal constraints, the planning agenda in southern California must focus on transit and transportation needs. Every approach to increase mobility-in-fill development, efficient transit systems, the jobs/housing balance, 24 hour port operations, "truckways" to accommodate the movement of goods-must be top priorities for government at all levels.

-Mayor Bill Bogaard,
City of Pasadena

In a time of scarce state and local resources, policymakers must ensure that every dollar, such as infrastructure investment, produces the best outcome for the least cost. If "Smart Growth" was a sound idea in good times, it is an essential idea in bad times. On the other hand, in the absence of serious reform of our state-local finance system, such as that recently proposed by Speaker Emeritus Bob Hertzberg (the California Home Rule Amendment, which swaps out local sales tax revenues for property tax revenues) the possibility of unsound land use practices increases in the scramble to replace the VLF dollars. Let's hope the moment for smart growth and fiscal reform is upon us: less carping and more ‘Carpe Diem'!!

-Nick Bollman,
Executive Director, California Center for Regional Leadership

At the local and regional level, I'd like to see cities and counties embrace SCAG's Growth Visioning results from the Compass workshops and resolve to help make them a reality by 2010. At the state level, I'd like to see a bottoms-up process happen with the locals, regions and the state planning the growth that will occur in California.

-Mayor Bev Perry,
City of Brea

Land use planning at all levels of government will have to take school construction into consideration, especially in Los Angeles. Undertaking the largest public works project in the State if not the nation, the District already has nearly 70 projects under construction, 17 more finished, and dozens more to come. With our commitment to make these schools the centers of their communities – and with our next local school bond, Measure R, on the ballot this March – we will need to work with local elected officials, community leaders, and many others on this crucially important effort to relieve overcrowding and continue repairing our schools.

-Glenn Gritzner,
Special Assistant to the Superintendent, LAUSD

Cities are facing serious obstacles given the uncertain budget news that comes from Sacramento. We must stay the course, using sound land use planning, particularly in a built-out environment like western Los Angeles. Balancing our need to seek business development that satisfies our revenue needs for basic services while maintaining a high quality of life is our greatest challenge.

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Mayor Jeffrey Prang,
City of West Hollywood

With local government under severe financial stress because of state and federal deficits, the political challenge will be to avoid decimating the budgets of city departments like planning, libraries, and parks that make for and nourish livability in our neighborhoods and public places.

-Brenda Levin, FAIA
Levin & Associates Architects

Going into 2004 and beyond, the State funding crisis will dominate all discussion. Cities and regional government entities will have to develop and articulate well thought out proposals if they are to have any hope of obtaining funds to address local needs. More and more, money will follow ideas--not just census tracks. This new climate will require both creative and frugal fiscal management as well as an entrepreneurial spirit at the local government level. Cities and counties will need to rethink the balance between revenue generating land uses and revenue neutral development, such as housing. They will also have to seek leveraging opportunities in public private partnerships and partnerships with other public entities, such as school districts.

Tony Coroalles,
City Manager, Calabasas

In order to realize a more sustainable Los Angeles in 2004, smart growth planning principles need to evolve from the salon to real world projects that communities and elected officials can point to with pride.

- Jay Stark, Chief Operating Officer
Phoenix Realty Group

The greatest challenge facing Los Angeles is how to sell density to skeptical voters and neighborhood councils. It's only by creating more density that supports more transit oriented development that we will have livable communities in Southern California.

-Bob Hale, AIA
Principal, Rios, Clementi Studio

California needs more parks, playgrounds, and community gardens. We must reinvest in our urban communities to incorporate these open spaces with schools, housing, transportation, and new jobs and to think about these investments as one integrated project. We must also work together to preserve ranch and farmlands, wilderness areas, and open space outside our cities, while we still can.

Reed Holderman
Western Regional Director, Trust for Public Land

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