Urban Fold

Despite Recent Progress, L.A. Leaders Clamor for More Permitting Reform

Efforts to reform L.A.'s permitting process are proceeding slower than many had hoped, reports Ryan Vaillancourt, and city leaders are looking to make more drastic changes. Could the city's planning department be consolidated as part of the effort?

"Eighteen months after the city adopted a $600,000 plan to reform its notoriously Byzantine development permitting process, implementation has been slow," says Vaillancourt. "Now, city leaders are considering more radical changes, though they may sound familiar to veterans of City Hall."

"In July 2011, consultants KH-Woolpert delivered a slate of proposed reforms, including long-term initiatives such as a five-year plan to overhaul the city’s 1946 zoning code. It also established a case management office that many say has improved coordination among staffers from the city departments involved in planning, permitting and inspections."

"However, the plan’s long list of action items has not yet resulted in the major changes that many hoped would occur."

"With the KH-Woolpert plan yielding only modest results so far, officials are now essentially turning back to consolidation," writes Vaillancourt. "Last month, the City Council directed various departments to propose structural changes that could streamline the system. A report is due by March 14."

"Despite the call for more streamlining, many developers and architects say that the system has seen important progress over the past two years."

Full Story: A New Tack on Development Reform

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