Archive for the ‘DBS’ Category

Meeting Report for May 8, 2010

May 16th, 2010

Simplification of the Zoning Code
Guest Speakers.

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

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This streamlining of the Zoning Code has been undertaken to update the outdated Zoning Code now in use.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

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 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:

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 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 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

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.

URGENT ISSUE Related to Increase in Appeal Fees (LA City Council, Supplemental Agenda Item No. 23, October 20 )

October 20th, 2009

An important note, the land use Appeal fee increase from August 2009 did not go into effect since a Brown Act Cure and Correct letter was sent in. If this new proposal fails, then the original fee structure (pre-August 2009) will be in effect.

* Link to Supplemental Council Agenda (Look for Item 23):

* Link to Report on this Item [See PDF page Nos. 4 & 5 for fee information]:


Summary of Issues:

This is an urgent item and it is important to submit objections to this and if possible show up in person to oppose Supplemental Agenda Item No. 23 for the LA City Council October 20, 2009.

An increase in fee structure including a tiered system (within short noticing distances) puts an increased price on the average citizens ability to petition their government on land use decisions.

1. Dramatic INCREASE in fees to COMMUNITY MEMBERS: The fees are dramatically being increased to community members seeking to appeal development projects.

2. A tiered structure is being implemented for the first time. Those outside a noticing area will be charged a dramatically higher rate. In many cases, the noticing area is adjacent property owners.

3. Dramatic DECREASE in fees to DEVELOPERS: The fee for applicant/Developers to appeal decisions has been capped dramatically reducing costs for developers with mid-size and large projects (it is currently not capped and is 85%). This would come into play if a developer was not happy with the decision of his/her project.

Typically in cases where the Developer is at odds with the community and the local Councilmember.

4. This even affects smaller local issues such as overheight fenses, etc.

Additional Information:

5. Appeal fees are going from $74 per appeal to $500 per appeal (almost 700% increase) for those outside the appeal area which may be as short as two properties away (for those notices required to be adjacent property owners). For those within the noticing area, the costs have doubled from $74 to $150.

6. In order to properly appeal a mixed use development an appellant would need to appeal all aspects of that project two times; one to appeal the commission decision and another time to appeal the City Council decision in order to preserve the record and to exhaust administrative remedies.

For example, a community group or community member just outside (1 property away) the “noticing area” wanting to challenge a mixed use project could have to pay $3,000 to appeal under the new plan compared to $444 under the old plan:

A. Tentative Tract Map appeal: $500 * 2 = $1,000
B. Entitlement Approval appeal: $500 * 2 = $1,000
C. Density Bonus Approval appeal: $500 * 2 = $1,000
TOTAL: $3,000 (New Proposed Plan)

OLD PLAN (Pre-August 2009):
A. Tentative Tract Map appeal: $74 * 2 = $148
B. Entitlement Approval appeal: $74 * 2 = $148
C. Density Bonus Approval appeal: $74 * 2 = $148
TOTAL: $444 (Old Plan)