Archive for April, 2010

Baseline Hillside Ordinance continued to May 13, 2010 City Planning Commission Meeting

April 23rd, 2010

The City Planning Commission received a lot of useful comments yesterday and has decided to continue the discussion at their Thursday, May 13, 2010 meeting.  The meeting is scheduled to start at 8:30 AM and will be located at:

City Hall, 10th Floor
200 N. Spring St.
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(Google Maps)

They have asked Planning staff to return with more information on the comparison of regulations of the other jurisdictions, as well as suggestions for possible changes to the guaranteed minimums, language dealing with minor additions, and to look into the issue of flat roof a little more.  The Commission also requested a possible approach to addressing the issues of ridgeline protection and retaining walls as a separate action.  The Commission also requested staff to look into the possibility of developing a user-friendly Single-Family Zone Manual that simplifies the existing regulations (including those established by the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance) and the Baseline Hillside Ordinance as a follow-up project.

You can download the following documents by following the links:
Staff Report: http://cityplanning.lacity.org/StaffRpt/InitialRpts/CPC-2010-581.pdf
CEQA Negative Declaration: http://cityplanning.lacity.org/staffrpt/mnd/ENV-2010-582.pdf

The Commission has adopted rules regarding written submissions to ensure that it has reasonable and appropriate opportunity to review your materials. The mailing and email addresses, deadlines, page limits, and required numbers of copies for your advance submissions may be found at www.planning.lacity.org under “Forms and Instructions”.  Day of hearing submissions (15 copies must be provided) are limited to 2 pages plus accompanying photographs, posters, and PowerPoint presentations of 5 minutes or less. Non-complying materials will NOT be distributed to the Commission.  [Direct Link: http://planning.lacity.org/Forms_Procedures/CpcPolicy.pdf]

If you cannot attend the meeting in person, you should be able to 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.
Feel free to forward this information to anyone you feel might be interested.

If you received this email via forwarded message from someone other than myself, and you want to obtain updates directly from the Department, please email erick.lopez@lacity.org and ask to be added to the interest list.  Please type “Add Me To Hillside Notification List” in the subject line and provide your group/organization/company affiliations and contact information (please include at least your ZIP Code).

Facebook™ Users: Look for the Baseline Hillside Ordinance page; add the page and receive updates in your news feed.  You can also view our events calendar and participate in discussion boards.

As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact myself or Jennifer Driver at jennifer.driver@lacity.org or at (818) 374-5034.

Thank you for your attention.

__________________________________________
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
erick.lopez@lacity.org

Baseline Hillside Ordinance at CPC on 4-22-10 – 8:30 a.m.

April 17th, 2010

Greeting All,
This is email to confirm that the Baseline Hillside Ordinance (CPC-2010-581-CA) will go before the City Planning Commission on Thursday, April 22, 2010 (Item No. 7).  The meeting will start at 8:30 AM and will he located at:
Van Nuys City Hall, Council Chamber, 2nd Floor
14410 Sylvan Street
Van Nuys, CA 91401
You can download the following documents by following the links:
If you cannot attend the meeting in person, you should be able to 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.
The Commission has adopted rules regarding written submissions to ensure that it has reasonable and appropriate opportunity to review your materials. The mailing and email addresses, deadlines, page limits, and required numbers of copies for your advance submissions may be found at www.planning.lacity.org under “Forms and Instructions”.  Day of hearing submissions (15 copies must be provided) are limited to 2 pages plus accompanying photographs, posters, and PowerPoint presentations of 5 minutes or less. Non-complying materials will NOT be distributed to the Commission.  [Direct Link: http://planning.lacity.org/Forms_Procedures/CpcPolicy.pdf]
Feel free to forward this information to anyone you feel might be interested.
If you received this email via forwarded message from someone other than myself, and you want to obtain updates directly from the Department, please email erick.lopez@lacity.org and ask to be added to the interest list.  Please type “Add Me To Hillside Notification List” in the subject line and provide your group/organization/company affiliations and contact information (please include at least your ZIP Code).
Facebook™ Users: Look for the Baseline Hillside Ordinance page; add the page and receive updates in your news feed.  You can also view our events calendar and participate in discussion boards.
As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact myself or Jennifer Driver at jennifer.driver@lacity.org or at (818) 374-5034.
Thank you for your attention.
__________________________________________
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

April 2010 – PlanCheckNC Meeting Report

April 17th, 2010
Tom Rothmann, LA City Planning Code Studies gave an update on the  following:
Zoning Code Simplification – City Planning has been doing an in-depth analysis to revise the Zoning Code.  They expect to have it to the City Planning Commission in the summer.  They are working on the 12.36 section of the Code that involves “multiple approvals”. There will be workshops on this long-in-process revision to the municipal code.  Tom Rothmann and Alan Bell will be at PlanCheckNCLA on May 8 to discuss this revision to the municipal code.
Joint Live-Work –aka Artist in Residence  (Council File: 09-1845):  City Council passed it mid-March and it is waiting for Coastal Commission review.  It was first established as 70% commercial and 30% residential, but now is 90% residential and 10% commercial.  The revision was made to assist with obtaining financing.  They are working on mixed-use Downtown to  incorporate FAR averaging for mixed use for commercial and residential  so as to transfer within unified developments.  Trying to streamline this to allow height in one area and a trade-off for open space in another.  Allows for flexibility.  The old report from 2008  is on the City Planning website.
Truck Garden Ordinance (CPC-2010-445) adopted by the CPC last week.  Itemizes between  truck gardening and farming making the guidelines clear.  Question  about pesticides and this is not a land use issue.  This does not  apply to any large scale agricultural use.  Home occupations rules  would still apply.  This applies to growing small garden items and  selling offsite (such as Farmers Markets).
Shopping Cart Ordinance – (Council File: 08-2070) to restrict carts to store lots (modeled after the  City of Glendale’s).  Report will be to PLUM in about two weeks.  Glendale has an ordinance for any business with 6 or more shopping carts that has been 100% effective.  This will accomplish the following: 1) Standards for any new developments and 2) Systematic program for onsite compliance.  See CF-08-207.
Sober living homes (Council File: 07-3427):  Community care facilities draft ordinance is being brought to the Commissions in the next few months.  Sober Living Homes – Cannot regulate families.  Transient occupancy does not allow occupancies less than 30 day stay.  Dept. Building and Safety can monitor who lives in a facility.
Accessory Dwelling Units (Council File: 09-2589) – With no local policy, the default is the state guidelines which are less restrictive than the interim guidelines under which the City had been operating.  A memo will be issued after it is reviewed by the City Attorney.  The limit will be a 1200 sq. ft. size   Results of the PlanCheckNCLA Survey have been posted on PlanCheckNCLA at IN THE NEWS.
SB1818 – City of L.A. has modified to match to the State of California.  Some modifications because of lawsuit.
Contact information for Tom Rothmann:   Tom.Rothmann@lacity.org
PlanCheckNCLA Contact information:  Maggi Fajnor – maggi4f@gmail.com
                                           Cindy Cleghorn – cindycleghorn@me.com

PRESENTERS — Creating Community Partnerships –Development and CUPs with

Ira Handelman
Kate Bartolo
Elizabeth Peterson
Ira Handelman – Who is the community ?  Who represents the community ?  Even NCs can’t  say they represent the community, nor neighborhood groups and organizations.  Who makes the deal with the adjacent neighbors?  Even Chambers of Commerce because their focus is “business friendly” no matter what business it is.  We are in a crisis in the City of Los Angeles and we need to understand the consequences of saying “no”.  It’s really about talking and listening.  Things are not enforced by the City now.  A project in your neighborhood may affect other neighborhoods.  In the future we won’t be getting the City services.  Developers aren’t bad guys.  Its understood and expected that people want things closer to where they live.  If you really want something done, a lot of trust is needed and to be realistic.  There are lots of empty spaces to fill.
Kate Bartolo – In the City of L.A. projects are reviewed individually and this makes existing problems worse.  There are bad developers out there.  There’s a new breed of developers and consultants and we need to find out who they are.  She tells her clients that if you lie to her or to the City, you’re fired!  She impressed upon us that working early is key.   Its key because of the needed funding and a lot of details can be worked out early on.  She looks for developments with articulation and forward residential with lowered heights next to existing residential.  Much coordination is done by phone, 7 meetings and 20 conversations.  Suggests “always” to use materials that are similar in the neighborhood, distinctive but common.  Count the ways to “love” the project is based on the upfront time spent on it.  You never get another chance to make a good first impression.  Develop a live, drive and walk in a neighborhood to understand what they want.  It’s all in direct relation to job creation and tax revenue.  The perception to delay increases costs in the long run.  Bring in architects on a pro bono basis.  Ask planners what we can do better.  Don’t judge a project according to the sins of the father.  An example of a dog park created with a dual use of an alley gives the ability to close off the alley for events and created opportunities for first time homebuyers Program.
Elizabeth –  built jazz clubs.  Broken window syndrome, one block at a time, one window at a time.  NCs need to look at infill and support.  Timing is everything.  Have to have a positive impact.  Developments need to be light, bright and airy.  Toy Factory building had only 3  employees and it now has over 500.  Wally’s in Westwood has been challenged by a Homeowners Assn objecting to their new development.   She’s been working on the Magnolia Bakery on 3rd Street with the “universal valet” program which i
s a shared parking program.  Bud Ovrum, Michael LoGrande involved.  Councilmembers have to get out in  front of a project and speak to their likeness for it.  Mixed uses should be horizontal.  What do you want in your area?  Cohesive way.  Place where people will come “can walk anywhere”. What will these  mixtures of uses mean?  DLANC has a list of questions they ask of projects.  For mixed uses, are they pedestrian traffic, landscape  plan, jobs bringing in.  Bring in the naysayers.  Consultants feel powerless and NCs can help a great deal. City is broken and dysfunctional.  How you manage your people and make it all run more smoothly is key.  Go in with solutions.  Marshal own people and get them to agree.  Manage your own meetings.   If compatible with community a project will be successful.  The “its my property” is in the way you present it.   Define CUP, ZC, ZV.  Peet’s Cafe in Downtown LA became a “community center”.  Hold Qimby funds accountable.  Unify around a project:  the benefits and get the problems fixed.  Specific Plan updates are not going to happen.  We are spot zoned and we must look at things block by block.  NCs that actually visit sites are better.  It is the responsibility of the developer to teach how they can have a positive impact on the community.  Proactive development, good uses.  Sr. Leads can be a good resource as well as the Captain — good partners.  A partnership to being good neighbors. Commercial amenities, the centers: represent the neighborhood, needs and services.  Light industrial is not doing well 




Bud Ovrom & Gail Goldberg Together May 12 – Studio City

April 17th, 2010


Hello all – I’m proud to let you know that the new Director of the Department of Building & Safety and Gail Goldberg, Department of City Planning have agreed to participate at the next Land Use Committee Meeting of the SCNC.

May 12, 2010     7:00 PM

CBS Studio Center  4024 Radford Avenue, Studio City
I’ll issue the agenda in about two weeks, but I wanted everyone to have a heads up with plenty of time to make arrangements to attend.
See you soon.

Lisa Sarkin
Studio City Neighborhood Council Board Member
Corresponding Secretary
Chair – Land Use Committee
SCNC (818) 655-5400 home office (818) 980-1010
fax (818) 980-1011 cell (818) 439-1674

City Controller – $10.3 Million City Housing Loan Mishandling

April 17th, 2010

MEDIA ADVISORY                                                                          Contact:        Ben Golombek
April 7th, 2010                                                                                                            (213) 595-2650
CONTROLLER GREUEL TO RELEASE AUDIT SHOWING $10.3 MILLION CITY HOUSING LOAN WAS MISHANDLED
Department Proceeded With Project, Knowing That a Development Partner Was Under Federal Investigation
(Los Angeles) – City Controller Wendy Greuel will release her Waste, Fraud and Abuse team’s audit of how the Los Angeles Housing Department (LAHD) managed a $10.3 million City loan to a developer, which had a major financial partner under federal investigation for misusing public funds, on Thursday, April 8th, at 10:30 AM, OUTSIDE OF CITY HALL EAST (on Main St., between 1st St. and Temple), 200 N. Spring St., Los AngelesCA 90012.
In 2008, the LAHD awarded a Permanent Supportive Housing Program loan of $10.3 million to Bonnie Brae Village Partners (BBVP) to build a 92-unit project to provide housing to previously homeless seniors.  The Controller’s audit, which was requested by the new leadership of LAHD, evaluated whether proper policies and procedures were followed in awarding this loan. 
Some of the audit’s findings included:
    • On the developer’s application to the Housing Department they explicitly failed to disclose that one of their major partners was under federal investigation.  However they did disclose this on a separate application to the State of California, which they gave to the Housing Department. 
    • The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles, which was to provide Section 8 vouchers to operate the project, requires that an “Agreement to enter into a Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) Contract” must be executed before construction can begin.  LAHD issued a “Notice to Proceed” to the developer, which allowed them to begin construction without the required HAP contract being signed.  LAHD blatantly ignored federal regulations in allowing the developer to begin construction.  
WHO:         City Controller Wendy Greuel
                   Los Angeles Housing Department GM Doug Guthrie
                   HACLA GM Rudolf Montiel
                      &nb
sp;                   
WHAT:      Release of Controller’s audit, which shows $10.3 million City Housing loan was mishandled.  
WHEN:      Thursday, April 8th, 10:30 AM
WHERE:   CITY HALL – OUTSIDE OF CITY HALL EAST
                   (on Main St., between 1st St. and Temple
                   200 N. Spring St.
                   Los AngelesCA 90012
###

LANI Conference is May 13

April 17th, 2010


Join us at LANI’s 8th Annual Community Forum!
 May 13, 2010 at USC Davidson Conference Center
Register Now 


                              Los Angeles Neighborhood Initiative (LANI) 
 900 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1128
Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 627-1822

Office of Historic Resources

April 17th, 2010

Office of Historic Resources

April Preservation E-Newsletter Now Available

Email Newsletter


The City of Los Angeles’ Office of Historic Resources is pleased to send you the April 2010 issue of our quarterly E-Newsletter. Click below to read this month’s issue.
The E-Newsletter is available directly on the Office of Historic Resources web site, at:http://www.preservation.lacity.org/files/April%202010%20Newsletter.pdf.
Please help us spread the word to others who are interested in historic preservation. New subscribers may sign up to receive future issues by visiting our web site, http://www.preservation.lacity.org, where you may also learn more about the City’s historic preservation programs.
We hope that you enjoy receiving these periodic updates, and we welcome your feedback.

Inside this issue:

  • SurveyLA Public Participation Program Wins Conservancy Preservation Award
  • Citywide HPOZ Preservation Plan Workshop Scheduled for May 3
  • SurveyLA Pilot Surveys Completed
  • Westlake Theatre Gains National Register Status
  • Thank You, Rita Moreno!
  • Los Angeles’ Newest Historic-Cultural Monuments
Subscription Information

This e-mail was sent to: J. Russell Brown DLANC.JR2BROWN@GMAIL.COM

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Contact Information
Office of Historic Resources, Department of City Planning 200 N. Spring Street Room 620 Los Angeles, CA 90012
Phone: (213) 978-1200
Fax: (213) 978-0017
Website: http://preservation.lacity.org

CONTROLLER GREUEL RELEASES FOLLOW-UP AUDIT OF CITY'S PLANNING DEPARTMENT

April 2nd, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                              
April 2nd, 2010                                                       

CONTROLLER GREUEL RELEASES FOLLOW-UP AUDIT OF CITY’S PLANNING
DEPARTMENT
Majority of Recommendations From 2005 Audit Found to be Unimplemented

(Los Angeles) –City Controller Wendy Greuel released a follow-up audit today of how the City’s Planning Department handles case processing.  The audit was a follow-up from a 2005 audit which looked at time and efficiency that the Planning Department handles land-use applications from Angelenos.

“Out of all of the audits I have done so far, this is among the most disappointing, because it appears that the City’s Planning Department was unable to implement the previous audit’s recommendations,” Greuel said.  “While the Department has used some of their resources to update community plans and zoning regulations in order to increase projects that can be built by-right, which reduce case processing times, this is not acceptable four and a half years after the original audit came out.”

The audit found that while the time it takes for a case to be processed has improved, it is still far short of the Department’s own goals and the timeframe recommended in the previous audit.

Controller Greuel also called on the City Council and Mayor to implement the “12 to 2” proposal, which was designed to help streamline the permitting process, but has languished for two years.  “It is symbolic of the City’s stagnant decision making process that little to no action has been taken on this proposal, which was intended to speed up the permitting process,” Greuel said.

Some of the audits findings included:   The Planning Department has not implemented the prior audit’s recommendations to streamline the case processing function

The prior audit recommended a “cradle to grave” approach whereby one planner handles a case from the beginning to the very end, which has not been done.  In 2008, two streamlined teams were created in the San Fernando Valley, however management has not yet implemented the planned reorganization Citywide.

The Department’s current case processing goals may not be realistic and it has not yet established targets, as recommended in the prior audit

Despite having approved case processing timeframe goals, they are consistently not met. Management indicates these goals were developed by previous management without any meaningful process analysis. Management should consider whether the current goals are realistic measures of performance.

Case processing timeframes have improved but fall far short of the Department’s current goals and the timeframes recommended in the prior audit

Commission and Division of Land case processing timeframes have improved since the prior audit, which is not surprising given the number of applications has fallen by 46% and 90%, respectively between FYs 04-05 and 08-09 because of the economic downturn. Zoning Administration case processing timeframes worsened, despite the fact that case filings fell by 40% between FYs 04-05 and 08-09.

Below, you will find the Controller’s cover letter. A copy of the entire audit will be available here: http://controller.lacity.org/Audits_and_Reports/index.htm

April 2, 2010

The Honorable Antonio Villaraigosa
The Honorable Carmen Trutanich
Honorable Members of the City Council

With the local unemployment rate over 12%, it is critical that City government do everything possible to revive our local economy.  One area that has long kept the City from being more “business-friendly”, is that Angelenos spend months and sometimes years awaiting approval for zoning and land-use permits.  These delays stall development in the City, slowing the creation of critical construction jobs.  The Departments responsible – primarily Planning and Building & Safety, need to find ways to work more efficiently in processing these applications.  

My office recently conducted the attached follow-up audit of the Department of City Planning’s case processing activities.  While small improvements have been made in a few areas since our original October 2005 audit, the Department has been unable to take necessary steps to become more efficient.

Out of all of the audits I have done so far, this is among the most dissapointing, because it appears that the City’s Planning Department was unable to implement the previous audit’s recommendations.  The Department gave the reason that budget deficits and other reorganizations have hampered their ability to make the necessary changes.  While the Department has used some of their resources to update community plans and zoning regulations in order to increase projects that can be built by-right, which reduce case processing times, this is not acceptable four and a half years after the original audit came out.

It has now been more than two years since the “12 to 2” plan was introduced to help streamline the permitting process and yet little progress has been made to the reduce the time and number of departments Angelenos must deal with to obtain a permit.  It is symbolic of the City’s stagnant decision making process that little to no action has been taken on this proposal, which was intended to speed up the permitting process.  I urge you to implement the entire 12 to 2 proposal immediately to help cut the bureaucracy and put Angelenos back to work.

I am disturbed by the fact that the City recently implemented higher fees for land-use applications with the expectation that additional staff would be hired to reduce wait times, yet even the Department admits that Angelenos will not see an increase in service.  While the City is facing a massive budget deficit, I find it disingenuous to charge higher fees while the public receives fewer services.  

While audits shine necessary light on the work our City does, we must also ensure that proper follow-up is done and recommendations that are made within these audits are implemented.

The prior audit found that the Department was organized around specialized, isolated functions that relied on redundant use of staff to process land-use cases.  This approach is both inefficient—because multiple people must become familiar with each case—and frustrating to Angelenos applying for permits—because they have no single point of contact.  Additionally, the prior audit found that the Department had not consistently met internal case processing goals. Our follow-up audit found that many of the previous findings remain unresolved and previous recommendations remain unimplemented.

Some of the follow-up audit findings include:  The Department has not implemented the prior audit’s recommendations to streamline the case processing function

The prior audit recommended a “cradle to grave” approach whereby one planner handles a case from the beginning to the very end, which has not been done.  In 2008, two streamlined teams were created in the San Fernando Valley, however management has not yet implemented the planned reorganization Citywide.

The Department’s current case processing goals may not be realistic and it has not yet established targets, as recommended in the prior audit

Despite having approved case processing timeframe goals, they are consistently not met. Management indicates these goals were developed by previous management without any meaningful process analysis. Management should consider whether the current goals are realistic measures of performance.

Case processing timeframes have improved but fall far short of the Department’s current goals and the timeframes recommended in the prior audit

Commission and Division of Land case processing timeframes have improved since the prior audit, which is not surprising given the number of applications has fallen by 46% and 90%, respectively between FYs 04-05 and 08-09 because of the economic downturn. Zoning Administration case processing timeframes worsened, despite the fact that case filings fell by 40% between FYs 04-05 and 08-09.

Given our current economic situation, reforming the Planning Department must become a high priority.  I hope you will join me in ensuring this audit’s recommendations are swiftly implemented.  

Sincerely,

Wendy Greuel
City Controller