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Los Angeles to Update Community Plans Every 6 Years

Los Angeles has approved new rules aimed at increasing accountability in the planning process—and at preempting a more severe approach promised by an upcoming ballot measure.
February 17, 2017, 9am PST | Elana Eden
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Sean Pavone

The centerpiece of the new rules approved by the Los Angeles City Council is a requirement that the city's 35 community plans be updated on a six-year cycle.

"The plans are so outdated that developers frequently seek permission to skirt the rules, allowing them to build bigger and taller than what the plans allow," explains Curbed LA. Since 2000, 90 percent of these exemptions have been granted, the Los Angeles Times recently found.

The new legislation restructures the review process for these exemptions—which can include height allowances, zoning changes, or General Plan Amendments—to help planning commissioners get a more holistic picture of their impact on the city.

The City Council also approved a plan to create a list of approved consultants from which developers can choose to prepare environmental impact reports.

Fast-tracking General and Community Plan updates was one demand presented to the mayor by backers of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, now called Measure S, which will appear before voters on the March 7 ballot. Measure S calls for a two-year moratorium on any such exemptions, during which the city would have to update its General and Community Plans. And it would ban developers from choosing their environmental consultants at all, potentially requiring the city to retain them directly.

City officials including Mayor Eric Garcetti have opposed the measure. PLUM Committee Chair José Huziar, whose district includes Downtown Los Angeles—an area in the midst of a development boom as well as a community plan updatetold KPCC that, all in all, the city’s new rules would "make Measure S unnecessary."

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Published on Thursday, February 9, 2017 in KPCC
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