Archive for July, 2009

Developer Wins Lawsuit that Could Jeopardize Affordable Housing Plan Victory

July 31st, 2009

Victory by Geoff Palmer Could Deal Precedent-Setting Blow to Villaraigosa’s Proposed Mixed Income Ordinance

One of Downtown’s biggest developers has won a court case challenging the City’s affordable housing law. It could deliver a damaging and precedent-setting blow to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa’s efforts to increase the city’s low-income rental housing stock.Geoff Palmer, known for his Italian villa-inspired apartment buildings in City West, sued the City in February 2007 to avoid having to include below-market rate rents in his upcoming 350-unit Piero II project. The City requires developers in City West either to price 15% of the residences in each project for low-income workers, or pay for the City to build the units elsewhere.A Superior Court judge ruled in Palmer’s favor in December 2007. The City appealed the ruling. In a decision filed Wednesday, July 22, the state Court of Appeal also ruled in favor of Palmer.While the December ruling applied only to Palmer’s specific case, the appellate court ruling is precedent setting, according to Palmer’s lawyer, Jeffrey Lee Costell of Costell & Cornelius Law, and other attorneys. That means that Palmer’s victory could open the door to further affordable housing challenges, they say.Palmer, in an email after the decision, called his victory a “landmark case” that “should end the Mayor’s wrong headed affordable initiative and help reverse mandatory inclusionary housing ordinances wrongly adopted state wide.”Villaraigosa’s office was not able Thursday morning to provide a comment.Last September, Villaraigosa announced an ambitious $5 billion plan to create more affordable housing throughout Los Angeles. Though only a fraction of the necessary funds are in place, one key element of the proposal is already in the works: the Mixed Income Ordinance. The measure, similar to a previous, failed proposal known as the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance, would be similar to the City West requirement, but would apply to housing projects citywide.Attorney Barbara Kautz of the Oakland-based Goldfarb & Lipman, who is consulting with the city on the proposed Mixed Income Ordinance, said during a May hearing at City Hall that Palmer’s case, if successful, could prevent the City from applying the measure to rental housing.”It could affect a lot how the Mixed Income Ordinance gets structured,” she said at the time.Kautz was not available for comment Thursday morning. Her colleague, Thomas Webber, said he could not discuss the case until he had time to further study the Court of Appeals ruling.City planning officials have said that they expect to present a few possible versions of the Mixed Income Ordinance to the City Council’s Housing and Planning committees in September. An actual ordinance might not come until more than a year after that, said Planning Director Gail Goldberg.

by Anna Scott, Staff WriterPublished: Thursday, July 23, 2009 12:24 PM PDTDOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES –

Hillside Ordinance Area Amendment continued to September 1, 2009

July 22nd, 2009

The Hillside Area Amendment (CPC-2008-4683-CA; Council File No. 09-1390) was heard before the Planning & Land Use Management Committee today. The item was continued to Tuesday, September 1, 2009. If any new information becomes available, I will be sure to send it to you.

We do not have any new updates to give regarding the Baseline Hillside Ordinance.

Thank you for your continued interest in this project.


Erick Lopez, City Planner
Department of City Planning
Community Planning Bureau – West Coastal Division
200 N. Spring St., Room 621
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 978-1243
(213) 978-1226 – fax

Measuring the Economic Value of a City Park System

July 21st, 2009

In 2003, The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence gathered two dozen park experts and economists in Philadelphia for a colloquium to analyze how park systems economically benefit cities. Based on this conversation and subsequent consultation with other leading economists and academics, the center identified seven attributes of city park systems that provide economic value and can be measured. While not every aspect of a park system can be quantified, this report examines seven major factors:
· Property value
· Tourism
· Direct use
· Health
· Community cohesion
· Clean water
· Clean air

While the science of city park economics is still in its infancy, TPL has worked to carefully consider and analyze these values. After describing the value factor and the rationale for calculating it, this report provides real-life example of the mathematical outcomes, based on the first five test cases undertaken in this program—the cities of Washington, D.C., San Diego, Boston, Sacramento, and Philadelphia. 30 pages.
Download the report here

Hillside Amendment before PLUM on Tuesday, July 21, 2009

July 20th, 2009

The *Hillside Area Amendment*(CPC-2008-4683-CA; Council File No. 09-1390) will be back before the Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee on Tuesday, July 21, 2009 at 2:00 PM (Item No. 6). The final agenda is normally made available on Fridays on the City Council Calendar<>.

Just as a reminder, the staff report and other related documents are still posted on our Department website <>.To download these files, please go to our home page and click on “Plans & Ordinances” on the left side, then click on “Proposed Ordinances”; or click on the direct-links provided below:CPC-2008-4683-CA – March 24, 2009 City Planning Commission Staff Report<>CPC-2008-4684-ND – Negative Declaration<>Current and Proposed Hillside Area Boundary Map (Zoomable Parcel-Specific Version)<>

*Note:* *The file linked above is large and may take some extra time to download. The map contains parcel lines for the entire city in order to allow the general public to zoom into their neighborhoods and determine whether their property will remain within the proposed Hillside Area boundaries, or if the designation is proposed for removal. Instructions for how to use this map more effectively can be found on the link below.

* Instructions for Citywide Current and Proposed Hillside Area BoundaryMap<>Proposed Hillside Area Boundaries Only (as of March 2009)<>Current Hillside Area Boundaries Only (as of March 2009)<>

If you cannot attend the meeting in person, you should be able listen to it over a touch-tone phone by calling CouncilPhone at (213) 621-CITY, (310) 547-CITY, (310) 471-CITY, or at (818) 904-9450.We do not have any Baseline Hillside Ordinance (hillside regulations) updates or documents to distribute at this time. Do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.


Erick Lopez, City Planner
Department of City Planning
Community Planning Bureau – West Coastal Division
200 N. Spring St., Room 621
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 978-1243
(213) 978-1226 – fax

Proposed Ordinance amending live/work regulations

July 7th, 2009

At the regular CITY PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING on the 10TH Floor of City Hall, the proposed ordinance amending the City’s regulations governing live/work units will be considered. The City Planning Commission will hold a hearing on the matter on Thursday, July 9, 2009, after 8:30 am. The item is #6. The staff report and proposed ordinance and CPC agenda is available by request to

The Planning Department Contact is

Alan Bell, Senior City Planner
Office of Zoning Administration
Department of City Planning
(213) 978-1322
(213) 978-1334 fax

PlanCheckNC on Saturday, July 11

July 6th, 2009

REMINDER for PlanCheckNC


TRANSPORTATION 2020 Master Plan for LA County

What is planned?
What is still being planned?
How do the plans fit together?
How does the transportation system set the framework for development?
What is transit oriented development and what does it mean for land use & planning?

Date: Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 10:00 a.m.

Historic Downtown Outreach Center
114 W 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

For additional information on the Program contact Russell Brown at

For additional information about PlanCheckNC visit our website . While there also be sure to check our Bulletin Board “In the News” for more information on Planning and Land Use. For questions about PlanCheckNC, contact us at

Reminder to Log-On to the DONE NC Self Update System

July 4th, 2009

Please take a few moments to update your information on our new NC Self Update database if you haven’t sign up yet. In addition to providing your stakeholders information about their NC Board members, City departments use this database to inform the NC’s of important timely announcements in areas such as transportation, planning/land use, and utilities.

NC Board members should have received emails from DONE Systems Division inviting them to log-on to the new NC Self Update system. This system allows for NC Board members to make changes to their online contact information as well as add their pictures and bios for public viewing. In order to have a NC Self Update account, please make sure that you have provided DONE an individual email address. Board members of NC’s with one address for the entire Board will not be able to participate.

If you have any questions or need assistance creating your own email address or on how to update your information, please contact your Project Coordinator.

Draft Hollywood Community Plan Posted

July 2nd, 2009

The Draft Hollywood Community Plan has been posted on the City Planning Website. This is a 205 page document; and therefore, will take patience (and hard drive room) to download.

To access, copy and past the link