Planning Pilot Program PlanCheckNC Letter

(PDF Format)

October 1, 2008

Neighborhood Council Board Members and Stakeholders,

It has been more than a year since Certified Neighborhood Councils began receiving electronic Early Notification Reports as part of the Planning Pilot Program. These electronic reports, providing Certified Neighborhood Councils the earliest possible information about all applications for planning entitlements that have been filed in their neighborhood, are perhaps the most well known part of the Planning Pilot Program. To be sure that all board members have access to this information, the distribution for the Early Notification Report now includes all Certified Neighborhood Council Board members for whom the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (DONE) has an email address. It is important that your Neighborhood Council database information is up to date so that you continue to receive notifications. If your neighborhood council information needs updating, please be sure to discuss the need for any changes with your DONE Field Representative. Furthermore, if any of your board members spamprotect their e-mail accounts; please ask them to open their e-mail addresses to receive e-mails from the City.

When submitting a project application, all entitlement applicants are required to provide a duplicate hard copy file of the application for the Certified Neighborhood Council. These are mailed to the appropriate Neighborhood Council by the Planning Department. The DONE database has been revised to provide fields for each Certified Neighborhood Council to designate a mailing address to receive these reports separate from the Neighborhood Council general mailing address. Each NC should designate one person to act as the NC’s contact with the Planning Department. It is totally within the discretion of each NC Board to determine these designations. Some NC Boards have found it best for their needs to have these packets go directly to their Planning and Land Use Committee Chair at a separate mailing address. Other NCs have all materials sent to their general mailing address. In order to ensure that your Certified Neighborhood Council receives all mailed notices and packets, please be sure that your Neighborhood Council provides your DONE field representative with the correct, up-to-date information for one contact name and mailing address. Your designating a contact for these materials will also provide a demonstration of your NCs support for the Pilot Program. A copy of the Planning Pilot Program points is at right.

The oversight of the Planning Department Pilot Program is only one part of the mission of PlanCheckNC. The members of the Oversight Committee also began to answer the need for opportunities for all stakeholders to educate themselves in the tools and basic planning and zoning vocabulary. In recognition of its expanding mission to provide Educational Programs, the name PlanCheckNC was adopted. PlanCheckNC began to expand its efforts to include providing educational opportunities about planning and land use to NCs and the stakeholders of the City. Everyone is invited to participate in PlanCheckNC Educational Programs. Members of the Steering Committee of PlanCheckNC will be available at the Congress of Neighborhood Councils on October 11. Please let me know if you have questions or are having problems with receiving your reports []. If you would like to be added to our database to receive notices of PlanCheckNC assemblies and educational programs send an email to Cindy Cleghorn at

Sincerely yours,
Maggi Fajnor, Chair

Planning Department Pilot Program

(PDF Format)

City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning and PlanCheckNC Planning Pilot Program

June 14, 2008

  1. The Department of City Planning (Planning Department) will identify a Neighborhood Council Liaison as the main contact for the Certified NCs (NCs). Communication may be via telephone, e-mail, fax or U.S. mail, but it will be timely.
  2. All Certified NCs may designate a person as the contact with the Planning Department for the Pilot Program. An alternate contact may also be designated for PlanCheckNC representation.
  3. The DONE contact list for Certified NCs will be used for Planning Department distribution notifications to the Certified NCs including the bi-weekly Early Notification Reports. The DONE contact list for Certified NCs will be modified to include the name and contact information for the Certified NC Planning Contact.
  4. Each Certified NC will notify the DONE Database Administrator, NC Project Coordinator and PlanCheckNC of changes to their DONE contact list in a timely manner. PlanCheckNC will assist Certified NCs in identifying the appropriate notifications for maintaining current information on the DONE contact list. Once notified, DONE will update the contact list in a timely manner.
  5. Each applicant will provide an envelope addressed to the applicable Certified NC planning contact (as identified on the DONE contact list) containing a copy of the application filing package (MLU, EAF, Plot Plan, Floor Plan, justifications, etc) as soon as the case is filed. After verifying that the file packet is complete, the envelope is appropriately addressed and mailing costs have been paid; the envelope will be mailed by the Planning Department. The Certified NC may initiate discussions with the project applicant any time after the project is identified.
  6. Certified NC comment on a specific project should be submitted in accordance with the procedure for submittal as outlined in the Notice of Public Hearing and submitted to the contact identified in the notice. Certified NCs may advise Planning via mail, fax, e-mail or in person at the public hearing of NC Board decisions regarding the approval or disapproval of specific cases, citing the reasons. If the NC does not communicate with the decision maker identified on the Public Hearing Notice at or before the time of the public hearing, the NC will be deemed to have “no position” on the issue and the case will not be delayed pending NC action. However, if an NC and the applicant are involved in on-going discussions on the project, it is valid to request that the case be taken “under advisement” or otherwise request that there be a delay in the decision.
  7. Using the DONE contact list, the Planning Department will give Certified NCs advance notification of the work program for proposed City initiated cases; i.e., Changes to the Master Plan, Code Changes, Community Plans, Specific Plans, Zone Overlays, ICO, etc.
  8. Planning will establish a schedule for Community Plan updates for all Community Plans and publish the schedule on the Planning Department website. Planning will e-blast this schedule and notice of its posting on the Planning Department website using the DONE contact list. Note that this schedule may be influenced by budget constraints and other considerations.
  9. Planning will work with PlanCheckNC (aka Planning Pilot Program Oversight Committee) to help provide a venue, personnel and materials for cooperative instruction interpreting and understanding the Planning Department operations e.g., Plans, Planning and Zoning Codes, overlay zones and other planning tools, ZIMAS and information tools, nvironmental Review documentation, etc. The Planning Department and PlanCheckNC will work cooperatively to provide stakeholders with instruction at a departmental level and from the neighborhood standpoint, such as learning how to negotiate conditions and other project changes with the applicant.
  10. The Planning Department will assist Certified NCs with discussions about issues important to the community and with planning related educational programs. However, the Planning Department cannot discuss specific cases. For specific cases, Certified NCs must use the public comment process to address their concerns.
  11. PlanCheckNC will provide the Planning Department with feedback at a minimum of once a year. The PlanCheckNC Oversight Committee Governing Board will solicit and compile comments from the Certified NCs on the Pilot Program and will prepare reports. These reports will also be distributed to DONE, Certified NCs and other interested parties