Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Design Review Board Spring Training Recap

By Jane Choi and Michelle Levy

On Friday, May 11 and Friday, May 18, City Planning Staff from the Valley, Central and West-South Project Planning Geo Teams hosted the Citywide Design Review Board Member Trainings. Design Review Boards are comprised of citizen volunteers generally appointed by the City Council offices.
These all day events were attended by over 50 of the 90 Design Review Board Members that serve on one of 13 Design Review Boards representing communities from the North Valley to South Los Angeles.

The day began with a productive discussion led by Lisa Webber, Deputy Director, and Shana Bonstin, Principal City Planner, with the board chairs and vice chairs about the unique roles that chairs and vice chairs play in creating a welcoming and fair experience for all involved in the design review process. Discussion topics included ideas and guidelines for leading effective meetings and working with the DRB Project Planner as a resource in managing the multiple facets of a DRB meeting.

The rest of the board members joined the chairs and vice chairs after their session for the all-member training. The morning session was titled “Design Review Board Role, Authority, and Function,” and covered the important role of the DRBs as well as highlighted upcoming improvements to the function of the DRBs. Representatives from the City Attorney’s Office led the second session on the Brown Act, conflicts of interest, and code of conduct.

Ken Bernstein, Principal City Planner and Manager of the Office of Historic Resources and the Urban Design Studio gave an inspiring lunch keynote on how design shapes Los Angeles, providing a citywide context to the work done by each Design Review Board.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

City Planning Partners with Council Districts at Metro DSC

On Wednesday May 14, City Planning staff at the Metro Development Services Center, or DSC, opened its doors to Council District Planning Directors and Deputies.

The behind-the-scenes tour allowed Planners and Council staff to create better partnerships and strengthen communication! City Planning works more effectively and efficiently if community members know the ins and outs of project planning and processing. And no one knows each district of Los Angeles better than their Council District Planning Directors and Deputies.
Their input is vital to us staying informed and well versed in working on our shared vision.

As they work on the front lines each day with Angelenos, District Planning Directors feel the pulse of Los Angeles. At the same time, planners at our Metro DSC are getting that same first hand feedback from customers.

Naturally, the Department felt it critical to allow Council staff to witness a day in the life of a planner at the counter.

Some of our services, like housing, hit especially close to home for the work these offices do! Because of this, we wanted to give them the chance to see what happens once an applicant submits a proposed project.

The program began with Deputy Director Lisa Webber delivering opening remarks, before hearing a program overview from Senior City Planner Bob Duenas. The group got a tour of the fourth, fifth and tenth floors, and concluded with closing remarks again from Deputy Director Lisa Webber.

Together, the Council District Planning Directors and Deputies can build a team effort that makes Los Angeles the best version of itself!

Friday, May 11, 2018

DCP teams move to Figueroa Plaza

The city of Los Angeles might grow quickly, but the Department of City Planning grows even faster!

Due to the recent uptick in the size of the department’s staff, several units have made an exciting move to Figueroa Plaza - this is to accommodate space in City Hall for all the additional new staff members.

The Office of Historic Resources (OHR), the Historic Preservation Overlay Zones Office, the Urban Design Studio and Major Projects have made the move.

The OHR was first, taking the trip east to 221 N. Figueroa St., Suite 1350, on April 9th. Major Projects and Urban Design joined them on the same floor with additional staff on the 14th floor.

The OHR is now in the same complex as the City’s Development Services Center, which helps us group more of the department’s public-facing functions together.

As a heads up, all email addresses stay the same, but phone numbers have changed! Find the new numbers here. It’s a new building and a new environment, but with the same great employees doing the work they know best. We hope to see you soon!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Enhancing the LAX pedestrian experience

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), like a number of larger and older airports in the country, was not originally designed for the pedestrian experience – whether it’s a visitor or one of the thousands of employees who keep people and goods moving. Today, pedestrians find it simply challenging to navigate around the airport. That’s why the City Planning Department and Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) are working to address these issues through a variety of planning and infrastructure efforts.
As we try to create more sustainable and resilient communities, we look at ways to become more transit dependent to get around. Some would say that this future starts at LAX. The City has invested billions of dollars to modernize the airport. In fact, the City Council just approved a people mover. Thanks to Metro, more Angelenos will also soon have a direct connection to LAX through the Crenshaw Line, which will connect our southern Los Angeles neighborhoods to Inglewood and the airport. These investments will be transformative if we can address what’s called the “first/last mile”through roadway improvements and land use policies designed to encourage people to use active transportation to access transit.
City Planning and LAWA recently presented a pair of plans to create a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly corridor, along Century Boulevard, called the “Gateway to LA” to the City Planning Commission.
The Century Boulevard Streetscape Plan will improve sidewalks, and create a higher quality space for all users. The Westchester-Playa del Rey Community Plan Implementation Overlay will work hand in hand with that Plan. It will strengthen use and design of new structures. For example, pedestrians and motorists will have more access to a building through a number of entrances and there will be windows on the street level instead of walls. The Overlay also works to ensure buildings include pedestrian-friendly features like shops or restaurants with outdoor dining.
We are proud to collaborate with LAWA to ensure LAX continues to be a welcoming, safe, walkable, green, and memorable place of entry for a diverse, global set of visitors.

Written by Andrew Jorgensen, Planning Associate with Transit Neighborhood Plans

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Planning 101 2.0- Project Planning!

Have you ever wondered how your local restaurant, a nearby apartment building, or a housing development was given the green light?

You have an opportunity to learn a basic overview of how projects in the City get a stamp of approval.
Back by popular demand is the Department’s Planning 101 training!

This time, we will be back in your community talking about the basic elements of the City’s development process and key points for public participation.
We will also introduce you to our Project Planning Bureau – the team who receives, processes, reviews, and issues recommendations for various types of cases.

Last summer, City Planning hosted Planning 101’s in six regions to explain how policies and goals are developed.

From the Harbor to the Northeast San Fernando Valley, we were so thrilled to be able to meet and talk to nearly 400 fellow Angelenos who were both familiar with and new to planning.

We're excited to be teaming up once again with the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment on this effort. Please join us at any of the seven Project Planning 101's this spring!