Archive for July, 2010

BHO goes to City Attorney

July 27th, 2010

Greetings All:

The Planning & Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee of the City Council has officially recommended that the proposed Baseline Hillside Ordinance provisions be moved to the City Attorney’s Office for their review and preparation of an official Ordinance. The version that was moved forward essentially upholds the City Planning Commission recommendations with three technical changes as recommended by the Department of City Planning; two procedural changes that will enable the Department of Building & Safety to better implement the proposed regulations, and the other is a correction to a typographical error. The recommended changes should be available for download on the online Council File within the next day or two.

Useful Links
April 22, 2010 City Planning Commission Staff Report: http://planning.lacity.org/StaffRpt/InitialRpts/CPC-2010-581.pdf
May 27, 2010 City Planning Commission Staff Report: http://planning.lacity.org/Code_Studies/BaselineHillsideOrd/CPC-2010-581-CA052710SRpt.pdf
City Planning Commission Determination Letter: http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2010/10-1001_rpt_plan_6-8-10.pdf
Online Council File: http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=10-1001

What’s Next?
The PLUM Committee has referred the proposed Baseline Hillside Ordinance provisions to the City Attorney’s Office (with the recommended changes). The City Attorney will now review the proposal for both form and legality and will prepare the official Ordinance (a legal description of the changes to the Code that would incorporate the proposed hillside provisions), in addition to a few other City Charter mandated steps. Once everything is reviewed and prepared, the City Attorney will transmit a report to the City Clerk and will likely go back to the PLUM Committee for their final action on the matter and the proposal will then go before the full City Council.

At this point, Planning staff does not have an idea how long this review and preparation will take, but when we have any updates we will send an email to the interest list.

There are still at least 3 steps left to go before the Ordinance is officially adopted, which have been summarized below:
The preparation of the official Baseline Hillside Ordinance by the City Attorney’s Office;
The adoption of the proposed Ordinance by the City Council; and
The signature of the Mayor.
Once these steps have been taken, the City Clerk’s Office will post the adopted Ordinance for a period of 10 days and a 30-day effective date will begin after that.

Even if we have an official Ordinance quicker than expected, it is important to note that the City Council goes into a recess period in August and is not likely to act on it in that month. This means that we are possibly looking at sometime in September as the earliest date for an official City Council action. This means that the proposed Baseline Hillside Ordinance could be in effect as early as late-October/early-November, but this timeline is still subject to change depending on how long it takes to get through the next 3 steps.

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.

__________________________________________
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

Message from Vince Bertoni

July 20th, 2010

Greetings from the Los Angeles Department of City Planning.

In celebration of the ZIMAS (Zone Information and Map Access System) *10-year* anniversary, the Planning Department is rolling out a new version of the system on the Internet.

The new ZIMAS uses the latest GIS, mapping, and Internet technologies; features a brand new graphical user interface; and provides Internet users instant access to a wealth of planning, zoning, and property information for any property within the City of Los Angeles.

We welcome you to visit ZIMAS at www.zimas.lacity.org

Thank you.Internet ZIMAS 3 Flyer
Vincent P. Bertoni, AICP
Acting Director

Gail Goldberg retires

July 20th, 2010

PlanCheck steering committee members had the pleasure of meeting with Gail just a few days after Gail announced her retirement. Gail has always been warm and friendly to PlanCheck and neighborhood council representatives and this meeting was no different. She says she’s not going anywhere and is looking forward to helping us if called upon. Many feel that Gail was not given the latitude and support to do the things necessary in City Planning. She is gone officially as of the end of August. Vince Bertoni is the acting GM until he is either confirmed as the GM or a new one is brought in. Gail emphasized that we need to be aware of staying on top of our Community Plans, Specific Plans and the 12-2 Program. Upcoming plans to be released are Hollywood, Sylmar and Granada Hills. There are others but those are at the top of the list. 12-2 is a system where instead of the applicant going to 12 different departments, all they will do is go to two. Progress was made for the 12-2 program in that there are now “Project Managers” who will see applications from start to finish and City Planning will be releasing a new CDMS system which will track and monitor conditions placed on development approvals. It will be important for neighborhood councils to stay alert to who the next Planning Director will be and hopefully we will have a seat at the table when it comes time to make the choice. It will also continue to be important for neighborhood councils to stay informed and educated. PlanCheck will continue to be the resource for LA City planning issues.

The steering committee plans to meet with Acting GM, Vince Bertoni in early August.

-Cindy Cleghorn
Co-Chair, PPP-OSC

Baseline Hillside Ordinance continued to 7-27-10 at PLUM

July 20th, 2010

Greetings All:

The Baseline Hillside Ordinance (CPC-2010-581-CA; Council File No. 10-1001) has been continued to the Tuesday, July 27, 2010 Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee Meeting. The agendas are typically released on the Friday before the meeting (in this case 7/23/10) via the online City Council Calendar (http://lacity.org/YourGovernment/CityCouncil/CouncilCalendar/index.htm).

Please refer to the official agenda for a time and location, but PLUM Meetings typically start at 2:30 PM and are held at:

Board of Public Works Edward R. Roybal Hearing Room
200 N. Spring St., Room 350
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(Google Maps)

We currently don’t know how many other times there will be and what item number this project will be given; please take the official agenda into consideration when determining your arrival time. We also don’t know if the PLUM Committee will be taking additional testimony beyond what was already given at this afternoon’s meeting, but if they do it is most likely to be no more than 1 to 2 minutes per person. [Advice: Always be prepared to give your most important points quickly and at the beginning of your time.]

A special thanks goes out to all who took time out of their day to attend this afternoon and participate in the discussion.

Useful Links
April 22, 2010 City Planning Commission Staff Report: http://planning.lacity.org/StaffRpt/InitialRpts/CPC-2010-581.pdf
May 27, 2010 City Planning Commission Staff Report: http://planning.lacity.org/Code_Studies/BaselineHillsideOrd/CPC-2010-581-CA052710SRpt.pdf
City Planning Commission Determination Letter: http://clkrep.lacity.org/onlinedocs/2010/10-1001_rpt_plan_6-8-10.pdf
Online Council File: http://cityclerk.lacity.org/lacityclerkconnect/index.cfm?fa=ccfi.viewrecord&cfnumber=10-1001

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.

__________________________________________
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

LA City 2010 Bicycle Plan Webinars-July 22, 2010

July 17th, 2010

We’re very pleased to announce that the Department of City Planning is hosting its first-ever citywide “webinars” on Thursday, July 22, to give you the opportunity to learn more and ask questions about the City’s new Draft Bicycle Plan and Five-Year Implementation Strategy. From San Pedro to Chatsworth, Venice to Boyle Heights, bicyclists and community members will be coming together on-line, from their own homes, to learn about the steps Los Angeles is taking to become a bicycle-friendly city. We hope that you’ll help spread the word about these pioneering web-based public meetings to your membership/readership.

Session #1: 2010 Bicycle Plan
Thu, Jul 22, 2010 6:00 PM – 7:00 PM PDT
Registration:https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/272965491
The 2010 Bicycle Plan serves as the City*s blueprint for meeting the needs of all bicyclists and is intended to increase, improve and enhance bicycling in the City as a safe, healthy, and enjoyable means of transportation and recreation. The 2010 Plan designates over 1,600 miles
of bikeways and creates a blueprint for the development of the Citywide and Neighborhood Bikeway Networks. The pair of bicycle networks use designated city streets and bicycle paths to provide continuous bicycle access across the entire City.

Session #2: Five-Year Implementation Strategy
Thu, Jul 22, 2010 7:30 PM – 8:30 PM PDT
Registration:https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/355002387
The implementation of physical improvements will be coordinated through the Five-Year Implementation Strategy identified in Program 1.1.2 C within the 2010 Plan. The Five-Year Implementation Strategy calls for
the implementation of 200 miles of bikeways every five years. The 200 miles will be determined through input from the public, Council Offices, and City Departments, focusing on closing the gaps in the Citywide and
Neighborhood Bikeway Networks. This webinar will present an overview of the Five-Year Implementation Strategy and introduce the 200 miles which are proposed for the first five years and in particular identify the
approximately 40 miles that will be built in each of the five
consecutive years.
The Department will also be holding regional public workshop/hearings on the Plan in September. For more information, visit http://www.labikeplan.org.

Gail Goldberg Retirement Comments

July 5th, 2010

The recent resignation of Gail Goldberg, the City’s Planning Director, is a great loss for Los Angeles. I hope the Mayor and his new team appreciates what she has accomplished and recognizes the transformation she has set in motion for city planning in Los Angeles. As we look toward the selection of the next Director, we need to assure that neighborhood council and civic leaders across the city are actively involved in the selection process to help insure the continuation of what Ms. Goldberg has started.

From the beginning, Ms Goldberg came out to neighborhoods throughout the city and engaged the residents. She listened and conveyed a sense of respect for the differences and an optimism that a high level of professionalism could help forge consensus, even in controversial land use discussions.

I had an opportunity to work closely with Ms. Goldberg’s team as Chair of PlanCheckNC, a grass-roots alliance to promote local stakeholder participation in planning issues. Recognizing the role neighborhood councils as part of the city structure, she took the lead in creating a successful “Planning Department Pilot Program” with neighborhood councils citywide. This program has provided greater transparency and opened new channels of communication on neighborhood concerns by providing a liaison with the Planning Department, giving neighborhood councils early access to all project entitlement applications and helping to train neighborhood council leaders on land-use planning.

I saw first-hand the progress she made in transforming a highly political and unpredictable land use and development environment into a more participatory process, with real planning for communities that both residents and developers can count on. She is a leader whose professionalism, intelligence, and willingness to embrace change in order to accomplish clearly articulated goals set the right direction for city planning in Los Angeles.

And she is delivering–there are now four communities with new draft plans that will be brought to the City Planning Commission later this year. She has insisted upon creating “real” plans — plans that are comprehensive and detailed, that include all of the zoning and other measures that implement those plans so they won’t just sit on a shelf, but provide a consistent guide for implementing the vision of the community. And that, for the first time, identify the infrastructure needs of each community. Continuing this work must be a priority for our city to develop confidently forward into the future.

At the same time, she began an ambitious and far-reaching reorganization of the entire department in order to better serve communities, better handle development project applications, and more effectively deploy the severely reduced staff. Some observers have called the reorganization “a game changer,” and it is. Entitlement projects will be handled by a single staff member from beginning to end. And all case processing will no longer take place in functional “silos,” but, instead, in geographic divisions in order to allow staff members to develop closer relationships with the communities they serve.

I personally participated in a unique and unprecedented outreach effort by the Planning Department which speaks volumes about the direction the department has been taking under Ms Goldberg’s leadership. The Planning Department sought a grant to take 17 South LA residents to Portland, Oregon to see first-hand what good Transit Oriented Development can be, as our community grapples with potential development proposals around the new Exposition line stations. We all learned a great deal and what we experienced opened our eyes to what is possible in South LA. This was meaningful outreach by a department that clearly values it.

Beyond even her specific accomplishments, Ms. Goldberg has made real strides in changing the often-poisonous and politicized culture of planning in Los Angeles. She insisted that Planning Department staff recommendations and decisions be guided by sound professional planning principles, not by political whims or bullying. As the Director, Ms. Goldberg sometimes disagreed with elected officials, with developers, and with neighborhood representatives, but she always did so with the utmost respect and her disagreements were based on planning principles, not personalities or politics.

In all of these ways, the Department of City Planning has changed quite meaningfully over the past four years. What will her resignation bode for the future of planning in our city, and the Planning Department? Will Mayor Villaraigosa choose to build upon this recent progress, or do the hints in press accounts about frustration in the development community mean that he will select a new director who focuses on speedy case processing, to the exclusion of policy planning and real community engagement?

Until the answers to these questions become clearer, neighborhood and civic leaders need to be especially vigilant in the coming weeks, and loudly reassert the value of “doing real planning” with transparency and an open door.

Maggi Fajnor, Chair
PlanCheckNC