Archive for the ‘Guidelines’ Category

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.

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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: **

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

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

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

October 6, 5-9 pm
Felicia Mahood Senior Center
11338 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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 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 ( and any other alliances or groups you are working with on this issue.

Maggi Fajnor, Chair
Please note my new e-mail address

2010 oct findingsreport_without_CEQA[1]

Code Simplificiation Work Program[1]


Urban Design Guidelines DRAFT to be released

August 16th, 2010

Urban Design Guidelines
DRAFT to be released

Neighborhood Councils and community groups across the City should be alert to the release of the Citywide Urban Design Guidelines for the City of Los Angeles.  This has been a project of the Department of City Planning for some time but the first we’ve heard about its release for public comment and expected adoption by the City Planning Commission in 2010 is just this past week.  With the City’s budget cuts and especially the cut backs in City Planning staff, the process of the release of the environmental document (Negative Declaration) and draft guidelines are a big surprise.   We have an opportunity to get involved now but we must do so quickly and work together to get the word out.  The negative declaration document is out and has a comment deadline of Aug. 25.  Because of our efforts, this date is being extended to September 7, 2010. The draft guidelines will be released any day now along with the invitation to participate in public discussion meetings.   Its time for land use committees to agendize, review and comment.

The Citywide Design Guidelines have been a project of the Department of City Planning as directed by the City Planning Commission and part of their “Do Real Planning” policy.  They also tie in with the City’s Urban Design Studio that Emily Gabel-Luddy (now retired) and Simon Pastucha established.  You may recall that Emily and Simon presented their plans and projects at PlanCheck and several neighborhood council groups and coalitions a couple of years ago.  The Urban Design Studio is part of the City of Los Angeles Planning Department and has completed projects such as: Walkability Checklist, Downtown New Street Standards, Downtown Design Guide, Central City Community Plan: Urban Design Chapter, Placemaking Academy.  For more information on the Urban Design Studio see   Upon adoption of the new Citywide Urban Design Guidelines there will be a checklist for all projects.

We met with Michelle Sorkin (Project Lead) and Mindy Nguyen (Intern) at the Department of City Planning assigned to this project. The Citywide Urban Design Guidelines are for residential, commercial and industrial.  Lucille Saunders who is with the La Brea Coalition, arranged for our meeting.  Michelle said that Los Angeles does not have urban design guidelines like other jurisdictions do and that they are long overdue in the City of Los Angeles.  They have studied 20 or so other guidelines as part of their research.  The guidelines will be a tool in addition to Community Plans, Specific Plans and other existing design guidelines already in place.

The purpose of our meeting was to ask about the process of the release to the public of first the negative declaration that is currently out for public comment with a Aug. 25, 2010 comment deadline.  Without the guidelines, how can the public comment on that environmental document?   We learned that it is common for the City of Los Angeles to release a negative declaration (CEQA environmental document) prior to the guidelines. It is just how the city does it.   But, even though the published environmental notice has a Aug. 25, 2010 deadline for comments, anyone can comment up to the City Planning Commission hearing which appears to be a month or so away.  Date has not been set for that hearing.  The draft guidelines look to be ready and Lucille and I received copies.  I asked for a digital copy so we can get them distributed.  Michelle said that three public meetings are being scheduled for August 30 and 31.  No other details so far other than the dates and that they will be held in the evening. They are developing a brochure to go with the public notice.  With today’s date of August 13, 2010 we let her know that this is a short time window for scheduling as most of us have meetings scheduled six weeks ahead now.  A longer time should be considered.  Michelle said that even though the published environmental notice indicates the cut off time for comments as Aug. 25, it will be extended as a result of Lucille’s concern.  Michelle’s emphasis that Environmental notices are usually allowed comment up to and including the public hearing before the City Planning Commission met with surprise.

Where do we go from here?  This is part of a work plan that PlanCheck has not been in the loop on.  I’m not sure that we can ever get that information but that may be the missing link.  Had we known, we could publish a list of Citywide work projects that planners are working on so we can check in on their release from time to time.  By sending out this notice, we are alerting our Land Use Committees so they can be looking to agendize and discuss the guidelines.  Attend all public meetings and weigh in at that level, encourage participation by our land use committees and stakeholders.  PlanCheck continues to work to get in the communication loop sooner so we don’t find out about these types of projects and issues at this stage.  Our goals have always been “early notification”.  We need to make sure we are part of the process at the earliest possible stage just like any other project.

Cindy Cleghorn,