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Usher's Exit Follows City's Loss in Density Bonus Case

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Why did Jane Usher resign from the Planning Commission? Apparently she wrote a "multi-page letter" today that could explain why (it may be circulating, but we haven't seen it yet), but it's important to point out that this week the city lost its first lawsuit resulting from handling of the SB1818 Density Bonus issue, an topic that Usher had been extremely vocal about. This was the case of Louise Apartments, which sued the city for blocking its project, alleging that the City Planning Commission ignored the Density Bonus law by essentially invoking CEQA and killing the project through mitigation measures. In his decision (dated December 8th) Judge David Yaffe writes that the "action taken by the Planning Commission is arbitrary, capricious, and is not justified by any evidence. It is an abuse of discretion because it constitutes a refuse to comply with the literal wording and the legislative intent of Government Code section 65915 (d) (i)." According to the reader who forwarded us the court decision, the next step is that the court will take written arguments about any penalties that should be levied against the city and the city automatically has to pay the developer's attorney fees. Download the court order here. Over at the Ron Kaye LA blog, Kaye writes in defense of the Usher, stating "it doesn't pay to stand up for a greater Los Angeles -- not with City Hall committed to a poorer, denser, more congested and uglier Los Angeles...Usher is resigning today as head of the Planning Commission after running afoul of those same forces that have done such disservice to the city." Image via Ron Kaye
· City of LA, You Got Served: The First Density Bonus Lawsuit [Curbed LA]
· Jane Usher Out as Planning Commission Head [Ron Kaye]