L.A.'s Planning Director Trying to Do More with Less

Despite a budget significantly smaller than his predecessors had, Los Angeles Planning Director Michael LoGrande is hoping to bring about major changes in the way the city gets things done.
July 13, 2011, 5am PDT | Nate Berg
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In this Q&A, LoGrande, a former zoning administrator, discusses tight budgets, a proposal for a downtown stadium, and how the zoning process and code needs to change.

"Q: As the ZA, did you ever get to a point where you lost faith in the document you were enforcing?

A: No. I don't think we've lost faith in it. I think we've definitely come to the point where we've overhauled the engine a number of times and it's time to get a new car. Maybe don't use that quote because we're getting away from the car in Los Angeles, right? But it's time to kind of rethink just a piecemeal approach to updating the zoning code and really completely rewriting it. We're working on getting support to take on a comprehensive rewrite of the 1946 code and are looking for funding to do that, but are also trying to figure out what it would take to actually take on a multi-year multi-million dollar effort like that. We'd be able to go to a more form-based code as opposed to a code based off exceptions. Currently everything that you want to do, we say: "Here's what you can do and anything that requires a deviation, here's the process for it." So for projects that we want, we basically put in a lot of bureaucratic hurdles to come up with a good design rather than having the kind of projects that make neighborhoods, and having them be built in a by-right fashion."

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Published on Friday, July 8, 2011 in LA Downtown News
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