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L.A.'s New Planning Framework Starts Now
The momentum on planning reform in Los Angeles has come to a head, and now—between an accelerated program for community plan updates, a new mayoral task force on city planning, and new incentives for transit-oriented and affordable development—the Planning Department is humming with activity.
In an exclusive interview with The Planning Report, Planning Director Vince Bertoni shares how he anticipates these reforms will help shape the city’s future.
Bertoni envisions a comprehensive new General Plan for Los Angeles that combines strategies for smart growth, mobility, and economic vitality. Noting that opposition to density is largely motivated by concern over traffic, he explains, "If we're going to accommodate change and growth, we're going to have to get around the city in a different way."
This approach is grounded in experience: Bertoni joined the city in early 2016 after directing planning and community development in Pasadena, where he led a widely praised General Plan Update that included a shift from Level of Service to Vehicle Miles Traveled.
Pasadena's plan was also notable for its extensive community outreach and consensus-building efforts, promoting a climate of interest and confidence in the plans. As a result, while Los Angeles grants 90 percent of plan amendment requests, Bertoni says:
In the five years I was planning director of Pasadena, we had a lot of development—that was five years of economic expansion, and a lot of projects went through the process. And I don’t recall ever once amending the General Plan, a specific plan, or the zoning code to accommodate a project.
More from Bertoni in The Planning Report.