New Specific Plan a Model for L.A.'s Land Use Future

An editorial in the Los Angeles Times praises the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan as a model for how the city can break free of outdated zoning laws that force residents into obsolete living, working and commuting patterns.
January 31, 2013, 2pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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After more than a decade of trying to "turn neglected neighborhoods and underused industrial properties next to the former Southern Pacific rail yard north of downtown — known as the Cornfield — into a collection of new urban zones," the Cornfield Arroyo Seco Specific Plan moved one step closer to passage this week with the approval of the City Council's planning committee.

As Los Angeles embarks on a long-overdue update to its 1946 zoning code, the Times points to the "smart land use model" and its four zoning types as worthy of emulating city-wide.

"There is a greenway zone, oriented toward enhancing the river as the neighborhood's frontyard. There is an urban village zone, focused on housing and other residential use, with some ground-floor retail. There is a denser urban center zone, close to rail stations, geared for job-creating uses but with residential space included. And there is an urban innovation zone, with flexible space geared toward anything from artists' studios to light manufacturing."

"The market has for years been demanding just those types of development in Los Angeles, and builders have been trying to respond — but have been getting stuck in variance hearings, lawsuits and community protests, development by development."

"The new zones and the new specific plan cut through that process. They bring that rarest of commodities to the Los Angeles land-use process: certainty."

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Published on Thursday, January 31, 2013 in Los Angeles Times
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