Archive for December, 2009

FEIR for Expo Phase 2 Project is available

December 30th, 2009

Expo Phase 2 – Final Environmental Impact Report

The Exposition Construction Authority has completed the Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) for the Expo Phase 2 Project, the proposed extension of the Expo Light Rail Line from Culver City to Santa Monica.

The FEIR examines the potential environmental impacts that may result from the project, evaluates alternatives to the project and identifies measures to mitigate the significant effects. The FEIR is comprised of the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) with revisions, comments received during the public comment period, and responses to the comments.

Click here to view Notice of Completion

The FEIR is available for public review online and at the locations listed below:

Click here to view FEIR

Exposition Construction Authority Office
707 Wilshire Blvd, 34th Floor, Los Angeles 90017

Los Angeles Central Library
630 W. 5th St, Los Angeles 90071

Culver City Julian Dixon Library
4975 Overland Ave, Culver City 90230

West Los Angeles Regional Library
11360 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles 90025

Palms-Rancho Park Branch Library
2920 Overland Ave, Los Angeles 90064

Mar Vista Branch Library
12006 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles 90066

Robertson Branch Library
1719 S. Robertson Blvd, Los Angeles 90035

Santa Monica Main Library
601 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica 90401

The FEIR is also available on DVD and may be purchased for $5.30 plus an additional postage charge for mailing. Please contact Wandra Hawthorne at 213-243-5500 if you are interested in purchasing a copy.

On Thursday, February 4, 2010 at 2:00 pm, the Exposition Construction Authority’s Board of Directors will consider a recommendation to certify the FEIR. This meeting will be held in the Board of Supervisors’ hearing room on the third floor of the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration located at 500 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, 90012. Please note that there will be a time limit per speaker.

For more information, please visit the project website and click on the Phase 2 tab, or call the Expo Hotline at 213-922-3976.

Greg Starosky
Government/Community Relations Representative
Exposition Construction Authority


December 30th, 2009

Greetings Everyone.

I just wanted to let you all know that the Hillside Area Definition Amendment & Map has made its way through the process and is now ready for a final Council Action.

The Department of City Planning worked with the City Attorney’s Office on addressing the form and legality of the Hillside Area Ordinance and transmitted the revised Ordinance to their office on November 20, 2009. The revised language essentially says the same thing as before and only clarifies where the new Hillside Area Map can be found. The City Attorney’s Office transmitted their report to the City Clerk on December 22, 2009 along with a signed ordinance.

According to the City ClerkConnect file for this case (File No. 09-1390), the item has been referred to the Planning & Land Use Management Committee of the City Council.

To access the City Clerk’s records for this case please click go to the following link:

To download a copy of the City Attorney Report, which includes the revised Ordinance and a copy our Department’s transmittal, please go to the following link:

To download a copy of the Department of City Planning Hillside Area Map that includes the two amendments requested by the City Council on September 23, 2009 please go to the following link:


We completed a first draft of the Baseline Hillside Ordinance in early December and have met with Department of Building & Safety staff to discuss some of the details. We are currently working on some of the minor revisions they have asked for. If our first meeting with them is any indication of how we are doing, we seem to be on the right track. We will be meeting with them at least one more time before meeting with a few focus groups made up of architects and engineers to discuss some of the technical details of our proposals.

Once we’ve smoothed out most of the major issues and made sure that the proposal is feasible we will release the Draft Baseline Hillside Ordinance proposals for public review, and follow it up with Public Workshops before conducting any official Public Hearings. Once released, we want to give you all a chance to meet with your respective groups and associations to discuss the proposals, and will probably allow for a 2 or 3 (maybe even 4) week review window prior to the workshop dates.

I hope this email finds you well. As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me.


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

ADUs — What can be done

December 21st, 2009

The Code Amendment proposed concerning Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) is in response to the provisions of AB 1866, effective July 1, 2003 (Government Code §65852.150 et seq.), which mandates the creation of accessory second dwelling units in the single family zones. The provisions of this bill allow local jurisdictions to impose standards on second units that include, but are not limited to:
· parking
· height setbacks
· lot coverage
· architectural review
· maximum size of a unit standards that prevent adverse impacts on any real property that is listed in the California Register of Historic Places
· provide that ADUs do not exceed the allowable density for the lot upon which the second unit is located
· that the ADUs are a residential use that is consistent with the existing General Plan and zoning designation for the lot

Currently, the Department of City Planning has been operating on a Departmental Memorandum that was to serve as interim procedures until permanent standards were adopted into the Los Angeles Municipal Code, thereby making the City of Los Angeles non-compliant. This process has now been placed on indefinite hold.

Other neighboring jurisdictions have either completed this process or are currently completing the process. Sharon Commins of the Mar Vista NC prepared the following comparison of what has been further conditioned by these jurisdictions beyond the State requirements.


Minimum lot size 15,000 sq ft
Maximum unit size 800 sq ft
Zones allowed RS
Location if detached behind primary unit
Applicant resident property owner
Owner occupancy either unit
Parking 2 covered spaces
Setbacks requirements of the zone
Distance/spacing ADU parcels 500 ft apart
Height 12 ft to 17 ft
Building separation 6 ft
Additional notes:
· NO trailers or prefab housing
· ADU only allowed with existing single family primary residence onsite
· IF owner occupies neither unit, ADU automatically declared nonhabitable space, may not be used as dwelling or rented unit.
· Demolition of existing SF unit NOT allowed for ADU construction
· 20 new ADUs/year, limit 200 in 10 years
· ADU lot must be connected to public sewer system


Minimum lot size 6,000 sq ft
Maximum unit size 500 sq ft
Zones allowed R
Location if detached behind primary unit
Applicant resident property owner
Owner occupancy either unit
Parking 1 uncovered space not in driveway
Setbacks requirements of the zone
Distance/spacing ADU parcels 300 ft apart
Height 13 ft to 17 ft
Building separation not stated
Additional notes
· May NOT be built over garage
· Covenant/deed restriction required
· Requires yearly certification that owner occupies one of the units
· Units connect to common sewage disposal; utilities metered through primary unit
· ADUs may not be located within 20 feet of a horse keeping zone R-1H

Santa Monica

Minimum lot size 5,000 sq ft
Maximum unit size 650 sq ft (min 220 sq ft)
Zones allowed R-1 and OP-1
Location if detached subordinate to main unit
Applicant resident property owner
Owner occupancy either unit
Parking 1 space not in front no tandem except lots 30 ft wide
Setbacks requirements of the zone
Distance/spacing none
Height 14 ft
Building separation not stated
Additional notes
· ADUs may be developed on parcels which contain no more than one existing single-family residence
· Garage conversions not allowed unless parking requirements are met
· ADUs SHALL be used for occupancy by the resident owner, dependent of the owner or care giver of either
· Kinship, disability are defined for legal occupancy
· Convent/deed restriction required
· Lot coverage of ADU counts toward parcel total

Culver City

Minimum lot size 6,000 sq ft
Maximum unit size 600 sq ft (min 220sq ft)
Zones allowed R1, R2, R3 Zones
Location if detached behind primary unit
Applicant resident property owner
Owner occupancy primary unit
Parking 1 uncovered, non-tandem space
Setbacks requirements of the zone
Distance/spacing none
Height 26 to 30 ft
Building separation not stated
Additional notes
· 1 separate bedroom per ADU
· ADUs permitted on properties with no more than one existing dwelling unit currently on the site
· No tandem parking unless adjacent to an alley, owner pays for paving alley if needed
· One ADU per property

Los Angeles (proposed)

Minimum lot size 5,000 sq ft
Maximum unit size 1,200 sq ft
Zones allowed ALL R zones, incl multiple
Location if detached not defined in interim guidelines
Applicant not defined in interim guidelines
Owner occupancy not defined in interim guidelines
Parking 1 space, tandem allowed per interim guidelines
Setbacks requirements of the zone
Distance/spacing not defined in interim guidelines
Height two story and over garage
Building separation 10 ft per fire code
Additional notes
· Legalize bootleg units citywide as part of proposed ordinance (CF09-2589)
· Parking encroachments may be allowed in setbacks
· LA might not require owner to occupy either unit (stated in public presentation 11-7-2009, Sun Valley)
· No limits on persons occupying ADU established in interim guidelines
· No covenant/deed restriction required o property owner per interim guidelines

ADUs must be allowed as a by-right

December 20th, 2009

The Code Amendment proposed concerning Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) was in response to the provisions of AB 1866, effective July 1, 2003 (Government Code §65852.150 et seq.), which mandates the creation of accessory second dwelling units in the single family zones. In acccordance with AB 1866, the City must allow ADUs on residentially zoned lots. The ADUs are required to be provided ministerial, without discretionary review or hearing.

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU), also referred to as a granny flat, secondary dwelling unit, elder cottage housing opportunity (ECHO), or mother-daughter residence, is an apartment that can be located within the walls of an existing or newly constructed single-family home or can be an addition to an existing home. It can also be a freestanding structure on the same lot as the principal dwelling unit or a conversion of a garage or barn.

While the Department has been operating through the interim guidelines established in a Departmental Memorandum in order to issue permits for accessory dwellings, the guidelines have not been adopted into the Code, thereby requiring the City to come into compliance and codify standards. This process has now been placed on indefinite hold.

In the absence of a local City ordinance, the folowing State standards contained will apply:
1. The unit is not intended for sale and may be rented.
2. The lot is zoned for single-family or multifamily use.
3. The lot contains an existing single family dwelling.
4. The accessory unit is either attached or detached to the existing dwelling and located on the same lot.
5. The increased floor area of an atached accessory unit shall not exceed 30% of the existing living area.
6. The total area of floor space for a detached second unit shall not exceed 1,200 square feet.
7. Height, setback, lot coverage, architectural review, fees, and other zoning requirements must be satisfied.
8. Local building code requirements must be satisfied.

ACTION UPDATE on Accessory Dwelling Units

December 18th, 2009

The Los Angeles City Planning Department has announced that it has discontinued work on ADU’s, per a letter from Gail Goldberg. The text of the letter follows. It is critical that Neighborhood Councils understand that without a City Ordinance, the permissive state standards will continue to apply. Watch for additional updates on the ADU issue.

200 N. SPRING STREET, ROOM 525 Los ANGELES, CA 90012-4801
6262 VAN NUYS BLVD., Sun 351VAN NUYS, CA 91401

December 17, 2009

To: Neighborhood Councils, City Council Members Interested Parties

Subject: Status Report on Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

Because of impending staff reductions through the Early Retirement Incentive Program and ongoing required staff furloughs, the Planning Department must reduce our policy work program.

One of the programs that will go on indefinite hold is the creation and adoption of a local ordinance for Accessory Dwelling Units.

The Department of City Planning recently began a public process to discuss issues related to the development of an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) ordinance. As a first step in this process, staff held several workshops across the city to hear community views and perspectives in different parts of the city. We frequently hold such workshops at the beginning of a new planning effort as a way to gather input, to assess perspectives, and to identify issues that may be unique to different geographies or interest groups. No draft ordinance was created.

State law (AB 1866) requires that all cities allow second units by right in single family and multi family residential zones. This law establishes standards for ADUs which all cities must follow unless a city adopts its own ordinance to establish different standards (provided they do not conflict with specifically identified standards in the law). The state law is clear that in the absence of a local ordinance, the city must follow the State default standards for ADUs. The City Attorney’s office advised that if the Department wanted to impose restrictions beyond the state law, an ordinance would be required.

The Planning Department began that process to develop an ADU ordinance that would be tailored to Los Angeles. However, it has become abundantly clear from the public input that this work program would be extremely time consuming and labor intensive. The Department of City Planning does not have the resources to devote to such an undertaking at this time. As such, the Department of City Planning has put the development of a City ADU ordinance on hold indefinitely; the city will comply with the parameters established by State law.


Gail Goldberg, AICP

Planning Director

PlanCheckNC on Saturday, December 12

December 5th, 2009

Empowering stakeholders through education and access to information.

Saturday, December 12, at 10:00 a.m.

Showcase Historic Downtown Los Angeles

Downtown has undertaken an amazing renaissance. What tools and lessons learned can you apply to protect and enhance your community? This session will help educate on the ordinances, tools and issues that are transforming downtown from a daytime work center to a 24/7 destination with 50,000 residents. Issues discussed will be adaptive reuse ordinance, urban design guidelines, TFAR (transfer of air rights), commercial adaptive reuse, historic preservation including tools such as Mills Act and facade easements and sign districts. Major projects underway include LA Live, Bringing Back Broadway, Grand Ave Project. Parks projects include Civic Center Park, Parks master plan, Park 101 Freeway Cap Park and LA River Master Plan. Transportation projects moving forward include the regional connector, Gold Line extension, Expo Line, downtown streetcar and High speed bullet train.

This seminar will be followed by a one hour walking tour of historic Downtown including Gallery Row, Historic Broadway and Old Bank District

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

Mark your calendars and watch for more information on future PlanCheckNC Programs

Saturday, January 9—Land Use and Planning Policies, Ordinances and Enforcement–Landscape Ordinance with Guest Speaker — Tom Rothman of the City Planning Department

The January Program will be based around the Landscape Ordinance other “quality of life” issues such as front yard parking, variances and non-enforcement of conditions that allows too little open space on the lot, fences etc. Also, where are the areas that we can still influence on the City Policy for landscaping, setbacks, parking requirements, etc? Discuss what are the current issues being considered and what does this mean for your community with a representative of the City Planning Department

Please share with interested stakeholders.

Maggi Fajnor Cindy Cleghorn
Chair Communications & Outreach Administrator

Update on Bicycle Plan

December 3rd, 2009

The Department of City Planning (DCP) is the lead on the City’s proposed Bicycle Plan. DCP is sharing information about the next steps so that you can continue to participate in the development of the Plan. LADOT is assisting in outreach on the Plan.

City staff will take comments on the draft Bicycle Plan (which can be read on line at until January 8th, 2010. After January 8th, staff will begin to prepare a revised Plan (including the maps) based on all of the input that has been received through the website, at workshops, in letters, e-mails, and on comment cards. DCP anticipates releasing a staff report and a revised Draft Bicycle Plan in February 2010 and giving all interested parties two months to review the revised plan. DCP will then hold 2 public hearings on behalf of the City Planning Commission (one in the Valley and one near downtown) to hear your comments on the revised Plan.

Following the 2 hearings, the City Planning Commission will hold a public meeting (Spring 2010) to act on the revised plan. Staff will provide the Commission with information about the comments made at the two public hearings and any additional proposed modifications based on input received.

Following the City Planning Commission’s action, two City Council committees will act on the City Planning Commission’s recommendation for the Bicycle Plan: the Planning and Land Use Management Committee (PLUM) and the Transportation Committee. Their recommendations will then be considered by the full City Council at a later date.

If you have any questions about the Bicycle Plan or the public hearing process, please contact Mr. Jordann Turner, City Planning Associate, Department of City Planning, at 213 978-1379.

Jane Blumenfeld
Acting Deputy Director
Los Angeles Department of City Planning