Removing the Obstacles to Infilling Los Angeles

City leaders from the Mayor on down recognize that infill development is necessary to create a more livable Los Angeles. So why does the public sector allow so many obstacles to stand in the way of small-scale development?

The constraints of existing infrastructure and regulation mean that the bulk of L.A.’s future growth will not come from large-scale redevelopment projects, but rather, from “more targeted development of a smaller scope and scale,” says Casey Lynch.

However, a number of factors conspire to limit the opportunities for such projects to proceed. “The most challenging demands stem from the opacity of the entitlements process, the cost of doing business, and the response times of city agencies,” argues Lynch, co-founder of Los Angeles development firm LocalConstruct. Smaller developers lack the resources to shoulder these burdens, rendering their projects costly, inefficient, and at times, infeasible.

“[I]n light of the potential for small scale development to reshape LA for the better, the public sector must work harder to alleviate the bureaucracy and costs that stifle so many promising projects,” says Lynch, who addresses some of the ways to remove these obstacles.

With two of the improvements he suggests - CEQA reform and the consolidation of City Planning and LADBS - building momentum, the prognosis for small developers may be improving already.

Thanks to Melody Wu

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