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Monday Morning Thinkage

An email going around the Planner circles gives an outline of new LA City Planning Principles/ Findings that are intended to create a better planned City. We shall see. Although this list does deal with some of our personal pet peeves such as "one size fits all" parking requirements and nonsensical street widenings. It also makes it a goal to put density near transit stations. We'll see how that plays out in the Valley, where we're seeing some push back already. Anywho, here are your City Planning guiding principles as unveiled April 19th by the Planning Dept./Commission:

LA new Urban Planning Principles/Findings (that will be utilized by Planning Staff and Commission and by all planning decisionmakers.)

· Demand a walkable city.
· Offer basic design standards, e.g. eschew blank walls and street front pkg lots.
· Require density around mass transit (and discourage new density where we anticipate no mass transit will be involved.) Question I think it raises is: will that standard (or ban) be applied to streets/areas that are only served by buses, and not light rail/subway...
· Eliminate Planning Dept bottlenecks (Increase staff).
· Advance homes for every income. Direct quote: "Every upzoning shall carry with it an obligation to provide, preferably through on-site units, but at least a monetary contribution."
· Locate jobs near housing; Include jobs and housing in the new mix (applicable to commercial only zones).
· Produce Green Buildings; Establish a menu of benefit to any developer who will commit to build a LEED certified bldg
· Landscape in abundance; Re-write landscape mitigation standards to create an urban forest.
· Arrest visual blight, e.g. Elimination of above-ground wires, controlled limitation of signage to appropriate districts, numbers and sizes, and emphasize historic preservation.
· Neutralize mansionization; Prevent out-of-scale residences.
· Nurture planning dept leadership; End Planning Dept's bending to political pressure in favor of advocacy of sound planning. Reward acts of courage (by Planning Staffers) i.e. encourage their not bending to council office pressure.
· ID smart parking requirements; Revisit one size fits all approach, w/ project and specific tools, e.g. Parking maximums, pooled parking, auto stacked parking and other emerging techniques.
· Narrow street widenings; Categorically reject nonsensical road widenings.
· Give project input early; Provide preliminary guidance or outright rejection of the case as incomplete w/ in 60 days after an application is filed.