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Getting to Know Building & Safety (All About Bud!)

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The Building & Safety Department--which is located on Figueroa Street in downtown--is covered in this week’s Downtown News, which profiles Bud Ovrom, the former CRA head who took over the department after Andrew Adelman resigned. Among other things, Ovrom’s push for 12-2, the mayor’s call to streamline the development approval process in the city, is explained. For the uninitiated: “Currently, developers in Los Angeles have to ferry their projects back and forth among the 12 city departments involved in the entitlement process. Along the way, projects get delayed when different departments want different changes.

The Department of Transportation, for example, may press for narrow sidewalks to improve traffic flow. But the Community Redevelopment Agency may argue for wider sidewalks for enhanced pedestrian activity. The developer often doesn’t care, but has to wait for months as the clashing agencies reach a solution, Ovrom said.

The new model Ovrom is charged with implementing would have developers interface with only two departments, Building and Safety and Planning, which would then communicate with the other 10 entities involved.”

Other facts from the story: Los Angeles’ construction dollars dropped from $5.2 billion in fiscal year 2006/2007 to $2.5 billion this year. And the department has nearly 900 employees, and more layoffs are likely coming.
· The Ovrom Factor [Downtown News]