L.A. Planning Department Adjusts to State Housing Laws

Los Angeles Director of Planning Vince Bertoni was recently interviewed the effects of new state planning and housing laws in the state’s most populous city.

2 minute read

January 3, 2023, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


The Planning Report recently interviewed Los Angeles Director of City Planning Vince Bertoni, allowing the planning director of the country’s second-most populous city a chance to explain the state of planning in the city as it responds to a paradigm-shifting series of years in the State Legislature.

To summarize, Bertoni makes the case that the city of Los Angeles was on the cutting edge of zoning and planning reforms before the state stepped in.

When asked how the Los Angeles Department of City Planning is adapting its policies and plans to the host of state housing bills that have been passed over the last few years by the legislature, Bertoni specifically addresses AB 2097, which removed parking minimum near transit, and AB 2011, which legalized the construction of affordable housing on lots zoned for commercial uses:

In Los Angeles, those impacts are going to probably be indirect because, quite frankly, LA has already led the way on these two issues. For example, utilizing commercial land for residential uses has been allowed in Los Angeles for decades, but that’s not the same in the rest of the state of California. When the Terner Center looked at the 50 most populous cities in California, 40 percent of them prohibited it, so this is going to be big throughout the state.

And:

When it comes to the issue of parking and parking minimums, we have already reduced parking in many areas of the City through our Transit-Oriented Communities incentives. But this is a bold move for the State. Don Shoup, a UCLA professor, has written multiple books about how we need to look at parking as sometimes a barrier to vital cities. The bill’s author, Assemblymember Laura Friedman, was visionary in bringing this legislation forward.

Other planning-specific details covered in the interview include the city’s consideration of an Affordable Housing Housing Overlay Zone and the city’s brief trouble with state regulators earlier in 2022 during the city’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment process.

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