Land Use

In City Policy, Land Use, SB 1818 on January 22, 2009 at 8:29 pm

The video below, which I came across at Curbed LA, is a great visual example of the impact that the City Attorney can have on the city.

12449 Louise Ave.

This street could be any of the thousands of streets in Los Angeles, where the character of neighborhoods have been adversely impacted over the last 8 years.

Growth is a fact of life, but growth needs to be pursued in a manner that does not destroy our neighborhoods for the sake of development, and the process by which growth is allowed to occur is transparent, with the discussion taking place in full view of the public. All parties – developers, city officials, and constituents – should have an equal opportunity to participate.

One of the roles of the City Attorney is to advise the Planning Department and the Council in all legal matters. In matters of land use, my approach would be to develop a public dialogue with counsel on both sides of these land use questions. By debating these land use issues thoroughly and thoughtfully in advance with all stakeholders, we can create productive land use policy that respects the character of our neighborhoods, addresses growth in a positive, proactive manner. The result of this apporach would be land use policy that both the community and developers can respect. In situations where there is disagreement and litigation does arise, the litigation would be more focused, instead of today’s environtment, where there is litigation for litigations sake. Litigation should be the last result, not the first.

The era of policy making by litigation in LA needs to end. In these tough economic times, it is better to make policy right the first time, than waste taxpayer dollars attending to lawsuits that could have been avoided in the first place.

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  1. The solution to this problem already exists. What’s lacking is the will to get it done.

    The best way to deal with this issue is for Los Angeles to switch from Euclidian Land Use Zoning to a Form-Based Code such as the free SmartCode™ template to get more specific outcomes. Check the term “SmartCode” on Wikipedia for details.

    Many cities in California are already working to adopt this type of code. LA City Planning staff believe its too hard for LA to switch, so we keep going down the same old path. Once in place, form-based codes can greatly reduce the case work, because it is more clear what can and cannot be done. Community residents and developers both know what can and should be done when reading a form-based code.

    The least we can do is to try to do it one community plan at a time in phases. I would hope that Noel investigates this further. If Miami can do it, why can’t Los Angeles?

    • Hi August – I will definitly investigate your suggestion further.

      Part of the problem is that the City of Los Angeles has always fought (and in some cases neglected to enforce) laws that sought to make their Zoning Ordinances consistent with it’s general plan. This link might provide you with some background on this issue: http://www.rneighborhoodsare1.org/resources/Assembly+Bill+212+Shot+Down+by+City+Council.pdf

      As City Attorney, I will continue my fight to get AB 283 (Thomas – passed 1978) enforced by the Planning Department so that the zoning laws are in sync with the General Plan, Community Plans, and Specific Plans.

  2. Do not need 5 stories housing (1 parking space per unit is not good any thing In L. A. City) in 1 to 2 story houses are then the street is short of parking spaces all ready like 12449 Lousie Ave. if use the density bonus, development, SB 1818 plan!

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