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 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 they play in creating a welcoming and fair experience for all involved in the design review process. 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.