Archive for the ‘Case Processing’ Category

Annual CEQA Program – May 12

May 7th, 2012

SAVE the DATE
Saturday, May 12 10:00 a.m. -1:00p.m.

Annual CEQA Program
Update Current Issues in City Land Use and Planning

Networking with Citywide Neighborhood Council and Community Representatives

PlanCheckNC Programs are held at the
The Community Exchange*
114 W 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013

Mark your calendars and watch for more information
Please share with interested stakeholders.

Maggi Fajnor, Chair
maggi4f@gmail.com

Cindy Cleghorn, Communications & Outreach
PlanCheckNCLA@gmail.com

Russell Brown, Educational Programs
PlanCheckNCLA@gmail.com

*Parking available on Spring Street $5

CNC Reports Update

July 13th, 2011

Thank all of you who have sent emails to let us know that you have not been receiving your electronic NOTIFICATION OF NEW ENTITLEMENT APPLICATIONS – EARLY NOTIFICATION REPORTS from the Department of City Planning.

We have been in communication with Claudia and the problems are being worked on. There was an undiagnosed problem with the server. Accordingly the last report distributed was June 6. Planning is continuing to have glitches with the system and the problem persists.

We understand that many NCs rely on these reports which provide the earliest possible information about all applications for planning entitlements that have been filed in their NC area, even though not all applications are complete and some cases may eventually be withdrawn. Included in the report is contact information about the applicant so you can obtain more information about the project very early in the process.

To get you this information while the system is being worked on, the City Planning Department has generated the reports for June 21st and July 5th and has posted them on their website. Continuing problems resulted in posting of the July 5th report multiple times. As soon as the system is back on line you will be receiving an eblast.

Here are the direct links for the reports.

This is the direct link to the 6/21 report:
http://www.planning.lacity.org/CNCRpts/dsp_viewFileDetail.cfm?filename=209

and to the 7/05 report:
http://www.planning.lacity.org/CNCRpts/dsp_viewFileDetail.cfm?filename=213

Please also share with others who may be missing their reports.

Contacts:
Edward Hunt, PlanCheckNC City Planning Oversight Committee
EdVHunt@ earthlink.net

Claudia Rodriguez, Neighborhood Liaison, City Planning Department at (213) 978-1283 or Claudia.Rodriguez@lacity.org.

Maggi Fajnor, Chair, PlanCheckNC
Maggi4F@gmail.com

Thank you again to all who let us know about the problems in the system. We invite you to also let us know if you encounter problems in the future so that solutions may be identified expeditiously.

NC Case Tracking Workshop this Saturday

March 16th, 2011

Case Tracking System flyer 3.0

IMPORTANT: You are Invited to Help Reform the City’s Development Review Process

February 6th, 2011

Community Invitation

IMPORTANT:  Please share with your neighbors and invite their participation at these upcoming Community Meetings regarding Reforming the City’s Development process.  You can make a difference!

Dear Community Stakeholder:

The City of Los Angeles is committed to reforming the City’s Development Review Process. Once the Department of City Planning has determined that a homeowner’s remodeling project or a developer’s complex complies with the City’s General Plan, many complain that the design, permitting, and review processes are cumbersome.

Therefore, the goals of the reform effort are to reduce processing times, increase transparency, and make the process easier to understand for all stakeholders. The City has engaged KH Consulting Group (KH) to assist in the reform effort. As an important part of the reform process, we need to hear from our external stakeholders. We are therefore inviting key community leaders to provide us with input on what improvements are needed in moving forward versus rehashing the problems of the past.

The four following forums will be held specifically for the community:

Date: February 9, 2011
Time: 6:DO pm-8:00 pm
Place: Marvin Braude San Fernando
Valley Constituent Service Center
Conference Room lB (ln floor)
6262 Van Nuys Blvd
Van Nuys, CA 91401

Date: February 10, 2011
Time: 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Place: Glassell Senior Citizen Center
37S0 Verdugo Road
Los Angeles, CA 9006S

Date: February 16, 2011
Time: 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Place: Felicia Mahood Senior Center
11338 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Date: February 17, 2011
Time: 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
Place: Exposition Park
Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune
Regional Branch Library
3900 S. Western Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90028

We look forward to your participation and insights.

Please RSVP to Claudia Rodriguez at the ,Department of City Planning at 213-978-1283 or
claudia.rodriguez@lacity.org. or online at: http://www.surveymk.com/s/2RSVP

City Planning to host Informational Meetings

September 18th, 2010

Note: This notice arrived end of day Friday. The Oct. 9 date and time conflicts with PlanCheck’s already confirmed meeting. Also the deadline for comments is the day before the Oct. 9 meeting. We are working to reconfirm these meeting dates and times and will post here when we know. Thank you.

Please share with your distribution lists:

The Department of City Planning invites you to attend one of four upcoming informational meetings about the proposed Core Findings and Community Care Facilities Code Amendments. For more information about both of these efforts including the staff report and draft ordinances, please see the “What’s New” section of the Planning Department’s homepage: * www.planning.lacity.org*

Meetings will be held on September 25th, and October 2nd, 6th and 9th at the
following times and locations:

SOUTH LA
September 25, 10 am – 2 pm
Betty Hill Senior Center
3570 S. Denker Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90018
(auditorium)

NORTHEAST LA
October 2, 10 am – 2 pm
El Sereno Recreation Center
4721 Klamath Street
Los Angeles, CA 90032
(community room)

WEST LA
October 6, 5-9 pm
Felicia Mahood Senior Center
11338 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(auditorium)

VALLEY
October 9, 10 am – 2 pm
Marvin Braude Center
6262 Van Nuys Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 91401
(1st floor meeting room)

Important Upcoming Dates to Remember:
10/7: Last day for formal written comments to Commission Secretariat on Core
Findings & Community Care (Please note that comments are also taken at CPC on these items both verbal and in writing) 10/14: CPC Meeting, Thursday, after 8:30am, City Hall, 200 N. Spring St., Room 1010, 10th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012

Please see the attached flyer for more information about these information sessions.

For questions, please contact Gabriela Juarez at
gabriela.juarez@lacity.org or (213) 978-1337.

Gabriela Juarez
Department of City Planning
Code Studies Section
200 N Spring St, Room #763
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Mailstop: 395
Ph: (213) 978-1337
Fax: (213) 978-1334

Zoning Code Simplification

August 26th, 2010

The Core Zoning Code case that is going before the Planning Commission on October 14, 2010, is the first of the six components of the Core Zoning Code Simplification work program that was laid out to PlanCheckNC at our June meeting. The original work program flyer is attached. This flyer identifies the six components. As you will note the schedule has been modified. In July were told that it would be late September or early October when the first of the six components would go before the Planning Commission.

The first component has now been scheduled for the October 14, 2010, Planning Commission Meeting. The staff report is attached for your review. This was originally scheduled for July 2010.

Multiple Entitlements/Approvals: Synchronize the expiration periods for projects with two or more discretionary land use approvals
Core Findings: Eliminate redundancy and update core findings to provide a better framework for analyzing the merits of proposed development projects

Alan Bell will be at PlanCheckNC on September 11 to present a status update and answer questions.

As we know from experience, the actual language of the changes can be critically important. We have been told that it is Planning Department policy to not release the actual document until it is given to the Planning Commission. Speakers at this meeting should request time to review the actual text as presented, in order to provide comment prior to the Commission vote. Also, attached is a resolution prepared by Jeff Jacobberger that provides a sample for requesting additional time to review the materials.

In terms of reviewing the content, Alan Bell will be invited to attend PlanCheckNC Programs through this work program and NCs may want to develop their own positions as well. Attached is a chart prepared by Sharon Commins that will provide some guidance in researching these issues.

PlanCheckNC will meet twice before the October Planning Commission meeting. There is also time to get this issue on the agenda’s of individual NCs. Hopefully many of you have already begun the discussions regarding this work program.and have a start on how to approach potential changes. We still have no assurances of when we will have the details of what is being proposed. The critical issue is getting time to review and react to the actual changes as proposed to the code. Sixty days should be requested. The clock on the review should not start until the proposed changes are available. There is no time to follow-up on the issues of review and comment if this moves through the system too quickly.

Also, in addition to sending a copy of your resolution/comments to Alan Bell, be sure to include copy to your Council Person and the Planning Deputy, PlanCheckNC (maggi4F@gmail.com) and any other alliances or groups you are working with on this issue.

Maggi Fajnor, Chair
PlanCheckNC
Please note my new e-mail address
maggi4f@gmail.com

2010 oct findingsreport_without_CEQA[1]

Code Simplificiation Work Program[1]

TIPS FOR RESEARCHING ZONING CODE (2)

Code Findings Draft Ordinance (CPC-2010-1572-CA)

August 19th, 2010

Dear Interested Parties, Please find attached the staff report and draft ordinance for the Core Findings Draft Ordinance (CPC-2010-1572-CA). Of the six code amendments comprising the Code Simplification Work Program, this is the first to be scheduled for CPC. Due to the size of the attachment, the environmental review has not been attached here, however, copies are available upon request. The draft ordinance updates the zoning code’s common findings for conditional uses, adjustments, and other quasi-judicial land use approvals to provide a better framework for analyzing the merits of proposed development projects and eliminate redundancy in case processing. Please contact Tom Rothmann by email at tom.rothmann@lacity.org or by phone at (213) 978-1370 for copies of the environmental review or other questions. Please feel free to share this with anyone you believe would also be interested.

Best regards, Gabriela — Gabriela Juarez Department of City Planning Code Studies Section 200 N Spring St, Room #763 Los Angeles, CA 90012 Mailstop: 395 Ph: (213) 978-1337 Fax: (213) 978-1334

CPC-2010-1572 w-out CEQA

Meeting Report for May 8, 2010

May 16th, 2010

Simplification of the Zoning Code
Guest Speakers.

Tom Rothmann, City Planning Department. Contact Information: Tom.Rothmann@lacity.org
Alan Bell, City Planning Department. Contact Information: Alan.Bell@lacity.org

Tom Rothmann and Alan Bell of the City Planning Department provided an update on the four-Phase Code Simplification Program that is presently underway. The goal is to complete this program in September 2010.

This streamlining of the Zoning Code has been undertaken to update the outdated Zoning Code now in use. Further, the simplification of the Code is seen as an opportunity to make the process more efficient. This is a particularly relevant issue as the City Planning Department staff has been reduced from approximately 400 to 240 employees. Further, the remaining staffers are being furloughed 10 per cent of the time.

The Projected Schedule for this Program will run from April through September 2010 as shown below:

The CPC/Approvals Phase Goal Dates as presented by the Planning Department are as follows:
June 2010. CPC Study Session Presentation – Overview of upcoming 6 ordinances.
July 2010. Multiple Entitlements/Approvals: Synchronize the expiration periods for projects with two or more discretionary land use approvals
Core Findings: Eliminate redundancy and update core findings to provide a better framework for analyzing the merits of proposed development projects
August 2010. Planned Unit Developments (PUDs): Provide opportunities for innovative, high quality master planned projects
1st Half of September 2010. Administrative Exceptions: Provide an abbreviated review process for minor deviations from the zoning code
Plan Approvals Process: Consolidate and make procedures for reviewing proposed modifications to existing projects clear and consistent
2nd Half of September 2010. Specific Plan/Supplemental Use District Streamlining: Create Administrative Clearance’ as an enabling tool in §11.5.7 and §12.32
On June 10, 2010, the City Planning Commission meeting will include a Presentation of an Overview of upcoming six ordinances. This implementation of the CPC Study Session Presentation will be the opportunity for stakeholders to become acquainted with more specific information of the goals of the simplification program.
An update on the Code Simplification will be included at each of the monthly PlanCheckNC Program through the tenure of the Code Simplification Program.

The PlanCheckNC Task Force Zoning Code Simplification Program will be collecting information on the concerns and suggestions regarding the Simplification Program and the proposed changes to the Zoning Code. For further information about this Task Force, contact: Maggi Fajnor, Chair, PlanCheckNC at maggi4f@gmail.com

An electronic copy of the handout for the update presented to PlanCheckNC is available upon request by sending an email to Maggi Fajnor, Chair, PlanCheckNC at maggi4f@gmail.com or to the Planning Department.

L.A.’s Planning Crisis and What Should be Done About it.
Guest Speaker — Dick Platkin, Senior Planner and Policy Analyst with Tierra Concepts. Mr. Platkin is retired from the City Planning Department and now is a consultant in the private sector. Contact information: rhplatkin@yahoo.com

The City’s current General Plan Framework was prepared in 1995 and is based on the 1990 census. The General Plan is in need of an up date to reflect present day population patterns and stakeholder needs. Any plan reviews should use 2010 census data because the city’s situation has changed since 1990. The Infrastructure Elements of the General Plan were written in the 1960s and have not been updated. Further, there have been no data gathered to prove that density bonuses have produced more affordable housing.

Most Neighborhood Councils focus on discretionary actions, not planning. What is needed is for communities to be proactive and initiate “bottoms-up” plans. With 80 per cent of all projects granted by right, one should focus on reviewing the overall Community Plan, rather than on specific projects. The redone plans for Granada Hills and Hollywood both allowed increased density, which meant that more projects will be built “by right.” The Capital Improvement Plan for public agencies’ sectoral budgeting should have been submitted to the City Planning Commission for review and approval, but that never happened, so there has been no review of public development projects.

Retired planner Gary Speth gave one example of this bottoms-up planning. The Northeast Community Plan was community initiated and prepared and was adopted by the City Council on June 15, 1999. Specific Plans and HPOZs are other models for grass-roots initiated planning.

An electronic copy of the PowerPoint for this program presented to PlanCheckNC is available upon request by sending an email to Maggi Fajnor, Chair, PlanCheckNC at maggi4f@gmail.com or request directly from Dick Platkin.

Other Opportunities for Involvement and Contact Information.

Neighborhood Councils that are not receiving the ENS Electronic Reports and/or Project Packets or are noting errors in these reports should contact: Ed Hunt, Area Representative, PlanCheckNC at EdVHunt@earthlink.net. Ed will be collecting data and assisting with problem solving on these issues.

Adrienne O’Niell, Vice Chair PlanCheckNC is coordinating a Task Force addressing issues related to SB1818 ordinance, density bonuses, and other related issues. To be part of that effort contact Adrienne O’Niell at aoniellh@dslextreme.com.

PlanCheckNCLA Programs are held on the Second Saturday of the month from 10:00 am- 12 noon at the Historic Downtown Outreach Center, 114 W 5th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90013. The next PlanCheckNCLA Program will be on Saturday, June 12.

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