What Happened at the Last PlanCheckNC meeting?

PlanCheckNC – Los Angeles


Minutes: Aug. 13, 2016

Chair: Cindy Cleghorn – CindyCleghorn@Mac.com

1. General


2. Presentation: Ron Ziff, MTA’s bond ballot measure

Proposal: Extend existing $.05 sales tax (enacted by Measure R in 2008, ends in 2039) and new $.05 sales tax in perpetuity.

“Moral” issue with indefinite sales that future generations must pay (converse is that future generations may appreciate that their ancestors created a good funding mechanism), and that government may get complacent and fail to spend if efficiently.

MTA proposes 87 transportation projects, including Sepulveda Pass, Orange Line rail conversion, East Valley corridor.

Valley has 20% of population but only 3-6% of funding (although in 2000 Valley voted against subway).

Sepulveda Pass will have toll lane – can build new one by 2024 or narrow lanes and re-stripe them right now. Can also convert an existing regular lane to carpool lane.


Purple Line subway will be built by 2024-2035 (quicker if LA gets Olympics).


East Valley (Van Nuys) corridor to LAX by 2059. A tram over the hill may be able to be built quicker, Europe runs trams up similar steep grades. Malaysia built subway in four years with advanced tunneling technology.

Van Nuys will have bus, tram or light-rail, and will reduce car lanes through Van Nuys downtown area. Urban areas should have slower traffic and less cars to promote walking, and travelers can take the light rail instead of driving. Businesses that are transit-oriented can move into these locations, and the ROW can be widened as the area is redeveloped.

The goal of mass transit is to give people the option of gridlock-free travel. If people want to drive still and be stuck in traffic, that is their choice. Also, handicapped, elderly and poor people who can’t afford cars deserve a fast, efficient and inexpensive transit system.


Orange Line conversion will have grade separation by 2024 and rail installation by 2059, a very long time (may be difficult to find enough good subcontractors for complex public works projects).

Car barn/maintenance yard will be needed (plenty of industrial and underutilized parcels are available). Not an excuse – should we have 30,000 polluting cars instead?


MTA allows itself to change projects and order of construction. This may provide flexibility as needs and technology changes in the next 40 years.


17% of funds will be returned to cities, and can be used for maintenance/ operations.


No citizen oversight. A taxpayer oversight committee will be established, but will include political appointees who own their jobs to politicians and won’t put residents of L.A. first.


Possible other projects in Valley: Loop around Valley, subway on Ventura Blvd.

MTA also needs to take care of its riders: Add bathrooms and drinking fountains at stations, or condition developers to build public bathrooms at its new projects.


Complaints about lack of grade separations, above-ground rail and busways – everyone wants everything but that will increase cost by 100%. Best overall plan with trade-offs.


General comments about upzoning:

L.A. is already zoned for 5,000,000, so no upzones needed, unless you want to target population increase around rail stations, to reduce car traffic and reduce sprawl/ environmental harm.

SCAG population growth formulas are questionable. They have been wrong for the past 20 years.


Possible actions:

NCs should withhold support unless regular citizens get a seats on the Independent Taxpayers Advisory Committee (all political appointees as proposed). Downtown/Regional Connectors has a Citizens Advisory Board.



  1. AB1373 would exempt 13 blocks of downtown Los Angeles from the Sign Ordinance. This is a give-away to developer and will harm the community. Call your Assemblyman and Senator to oppose it.
  2. DWP infrastructure EIR comments due on 9/7. This will prompt development.


Questions for Vince Bertoni (Planning Director):

  1. If the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative fails, what are your plans and schedule to update the Community Plans?
  2. Some of the Station Area Plans by the Expo Line recommend the highest density options. Have you considered medium density options and the other options to preserve R1 zones?
  3. Many large projects are upzoned when the Community Plans do not call for it. Why?
  4. Can more open space be zoned/conditioned, especially in urban areas?
  5. Can Quimby fees be increased and applicable to all new units (not just condos, zone changes, subdivisions)? Can the radius be expanded?
  6. Can more DIRs be open to public participation and schedule hearings?
  7. Can Design Guidelines (Small Lot Subdivision, Citywide) become mandatory and encoded?
  8. For the Small Lot Subdivision Ordinance, can the underlying setbacks be mandated, instead of decreased if adjacent to R3/R4? Why should R3/R4 get a reduced rear setback?
  9. Can voluntary conditions be made enforceable?
  10. Can a Planning Dept. representative attend PlancheckNC (Haydee Urita attended in the past)?
  11. Can the Dept. create a matrix of all citywide policy initiatives and clearly list the schedule of hearings, comment deadlines, etc.?
  12. NCs need more time to review policy initiatives. Stop scheduling hearings on 10 days notice.
  13. DBS does not give good planning analysis on by-right projects. Can a Planning Dept. staffer replace the DBS staffer who analyzes zoning? Community character is never taken into consideration by DBS.
  14. The Landscape Ordinance is not enforced. Can you educate staff to enforce on all projects?


Next meeting: Sept. 10 – Vincent Bertoni, Planning Director. Location – Hollenbeck Police Station (Boyle Heights).

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