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How Los Angeles Will Update its 1946 Zoning Code

Tom Rothmann explains how and why Los Angeles is updating antiquated language governing land use in the city.
March 13, 2015, 8am PDT | Molly M. Strauss | @mmstrauss
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Los Angeles' zoning code—the second-oldest in the country for a major city, dating back to 1946is known to be near-indiscernible, filled with confusing overlays, supplemental use districts, "Q Conditions," and "D limitations" added over the decades.

The city of Los Angeles is in the midst of a five-year process to clarify this complex language through its re:code LA effort, led by the Department of City Planning. Senior City Planner Tom Rothmann spoke with The Planning Report to provide an overview of re:code LA’s objectives, funding, timeframe, and challenges. He also details issues with zoning as-is and notes other municipalities' codes that can serve as examples for LA:

"The model we like is Raleigh, North Carolina. People say, 'That’s a completely different city!' But the ideas are the same, although obviously LA is going to be a little more complex. It’s a really great code. We all seem to like the way that it looks. It makes things simple, relying on charts, graphics, and simple language that helps get the point across of what we’re requiring—rather than pages-long columns of prose text that numbs the brain."

This is Part I in a TPR series on the Los Angeles Zoning Code, with the publication's March issue carrying the next installment.

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Published on Thursday, February 26, 2015 in The Planning Report
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