L.A.'s Planning Director Trying to Do More with Less
In this Q&A, LoGrande, a former zoning administrator, discusses tight budgets, a proposal for a downtown stadium, and how the zoning process and code needs to change.
"Q: As the ZA, did you ever get to a point where you lost faith in the document you were enforcing?
A: No. I don't think we've lost faith in it. I think we've definitely come to the point where we've overhauled the engine a number of times and it's time to get a new car. Maybe don't use that quote because we're getting away from the car in Los Angeles, right? But it's time to kind of rethink just a piecemeal approach to updating the zoning code and really completely rewriting it. We're working on getting support to take on a comprehensive rewrite of the 1946 code and are looking for funding to do that, but are also trying to figure out what it would take to actually take on a multi-year multi-million dollar effort like that. We'd be able to go to a more form-based code as opposed to a code based off exceptions. Currently everything that you want to do, we say: "Here's what you can do and anything that requires a deviation, here's the process for it." So for projects that we want, we basically put in a lot of bureaucratic hurdles to come up with a good design rather than having the kind of projects that make neighborhoods, and having them be built in a by-right fashion."