Merger of L.A.'s Planning Department Looking Increasingly Likely

Long rumored plans to merge L.A.'s Department of City Planning with Building and Safety to cut costs and streamline permitting are coming into focus, as the outgoing mayor tries to push through the reforms before he leaves office.
April 4, 2013, 1pm PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Ryan Vaillancourt outline the contours of the controversial merger of L.A.'s Department of City Planning and Department of Building and Safety that is beginning to take shape as Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa pushes to implement the reforms prior to leaving office on July 1.

"While certain details remain unclear, the latest version of the proposed plan imagines having the Planning Department and its current director, Michael LoGrande, sit atop a new development services hierarchy, said several business leaders who have been briefed on the draft plan."

"While the proposed merger is being pushed as a bold way to improve the development system, business leaders are not yet sold on the plan," notes Vaillancourt.

"Under the latest version of the merger proposal, the last word would go to LoGrande. That’s a shift that planning experts and architects would welcome, said Will Wright, director of Government Affairs for the American Institute of Architects, Los Angeles."

“Long-range planning and community planning and creating a vision for the future should be the priority,” Wright said. “If all they’re doing is entitling projects and expediting projects and reacting to the way developers are moving forward, we don’t have a system that encourages smart development.”

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Published on Wednesday, April 3, 2013 in Los Angeles Downtown News
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