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Just in Time For the Housing Bust, Mayor & Garcetti Make Building Easier

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Mayor Villairagosa and Council President Eric Garcetti have announced a bold new plan to streamline the building approval process and eliminate bureaucracy while protecting Community Plans and stimulating the economy. The new plan, known as "12 to 2," may also cure cancer. Via the presser: "The “12 to 2” Building Reform Plan will eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy by reducing the number of departments with which a builder must directly interact from 12 to two." A meeting has been scheduled for April 1st, where Mayor V will tell two departments he can make them a supermodel... of efficiency. The other ten departments will be sent home.

March 25, 2008

Gil Duran
(213) 978-0741


Streamlined building approval process will eliminate bureaucracy while protecting Community Plans and stimulating economy.

LOS ANGELES - Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Council President Eric Garcetti today announced a new plan to streamline the city’s building approval process by consolidating department functions and cutting red tape.

The “12 to 2” Building Reform Plan will eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy by reducing the number of departments with which a builder must directly interact from 12 to two. Designed with maximum efficiency in mind, “12 to 2” will also increase transparency and accountability while protecting the Community Plans in each neighborhood.

“At a time when businesses and workers face uncertain market shifts, we are seizing the opportunity to clear the weeds of bureaucracy that can slow economic growth and job creation,” Villaraigosa said. “By cutting the red tape and streamlining the permitting process, we can enhance the efforts of builders and businesses to create local jobs and strengthen LA’s economy.”

In a letter to the general managers of the 12 departments with jurisdiction over the entitlement and construction process, Mayor Villaraigosa scheduled an April 1 meeting to discuss implementation of the new plan, which is supported by City Council President Eric Garcetti.

"12 to 2 is an initiative that will help bring new jobs and economic opportunities to Los Angeles by streamlining the process for getting new projects approved,” said Council President Garcetti. “When 12 to 2 is implemented, business owners and builders will go to Planning for their entitlements and Building and Safety for their permits, and that’s it. We don’t need twelve departments managing paperwork when the review of business or construction plans can be coordinated by two.”

For years, builders, businesses and homeowners have faced costly delays and needless runarounds because of dueling bureaucratic procedures and conflicting rules.

When Planning Director Gail Goldberg came to the city in 2007, a backlog of over 800 case files were sitting on a shelf. Goldberg cleared the backlog within six months but recognized the need for a major change in the way the city departments approve entitlements and building permits.

The new reform effort drew applause from the Los Angeles business community.

"Streamlining project entitlement and permitting in the city of Los Angeles will lead to smarter development and more productive and efficient government,” said Russell Goldsmith, Chair of the Los Angeles Economy and Jobs Committee. “It will accelerate the creation of high-quality jobs and tax revenue in L.A. and eliminate many unnecessary costs, confusion and delays that discourage good development in L.A. In doing so, it will especially help small business - the backbone of our economy here in L.A. and throughout Southern California."

Combined with the New Community Plan Program, 12-to-2 will increase the transparency and accountability of the process by making it clear who is making the permitting decision, when the decision will be made and what factors determined the final decision.

Currently, permit applications can get caught in 12 different departments making it impossible for community members and developers alike to track the process. 12-2 will also give residents one point of contact to whom they can voice concerns on an application.

The New Community Plan Program - initiated by Mayor Villaraigosa, Council President Garcetti and Planning Director Goldberg - is working to update all 35 community plans to ensure that these plans are kept up-to-date so they can effectively guide growth and protect the City’s neighborhoods. Twelve of the plans are currently being updated.

Community Plans guide the physical development of neighborhoods by involving residents and then designating land use for such uses as housing, open space, business or job creation. Community Plans aim to encourage sustainable growth while balancing the unique character of individual neighborhoods.

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