What Are 'Processes and Procedures', and Why Are They Important?

What Are 'Processes and Procedures', and Why Are They Important?

The re:code LA team recently announced a public hearing on the "Processes and Procedures" Ordinance—an important example of how re:code LA is simplifying the Zoning Code for the City of Los Angeles. The public hearing will be held on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 (see below for details).

A Processes and Procedures Ordinance might seem like a subject only lawyers could care about, but the title actually describes the administrative tasks at the heart of the day-to-day operations of the Planning Department. In short, the Processes and Procedures Ordinance outlines workflows related to the various types of review required for projects to proceed. A trip to the Department of Building and Safety to check for Zoning Code compliance is probably the most common interaction many members of the public have with the Zoning Code. Processes and Procedures, therefore, end up being a very important factor in how the Department of City Planning does business and how the City serves the public.

Process and Procedures

As more evidence of the fundamental role of Processes and Procedures in the day-to-day business of operating the Planning Department, the details of the proposed Processes and Procedures Ordinance will form the body of the "Administration" article of the new Zoning Code (read more about the complete draft Zoning Code Outline here). After being officially adopted by  the City Council, the Administration article of the new Zoning Code will function as a kind of guidebook for how the Planning Department responds to various types of applications, such as requests for projects, relief, or clarification.

Depending on the nature of the request, the involvement level for both the city and property or business owner can vary quite a bit. Each potential workflow through the review process is determined by questions like whether special standards require extra levels of review or whether the property in question makes it difficult or impossible to comply with regulations. Under the current system, minor changes can result in confusing process changes, requiring guidance from Planning staff or hired consultants to navigate. The current system consists of about 120 different processes for project review.

The Processes and Procedures Ordinance provides changes that reduce the number of processes to about 60, cutting the number in half by eliminating redundancies, consolidating similar workflows, and assembling processes scattered throughout the current Zoning Code into one location—the Administration article in the new Zoning Code.

That reduction in unnecessary bureaucracy looks great on paper, but the real proof of the update's success will be evident when community members, property owners, business owners, and real estate developers all have a much clearer understanding of the different types of review processes. A much clearer administration system will make for a much more user-friendly Zoning Code.

"Anyone—regardless of their level of understanding—will now be able to pick up our Zoning Code and navigate from one section to the next. These changes are fundamentally about making our work more accessible and relatable to Angelenos,” according to Vince Bertoni, Director of the Department of City Planning, to explain the benefit of the Processes and Procedures update.

After the proposed ordinance is approved by the City Council, the improvements in Processes and Procedures will apply to projects subject to both the current Zoning Code and the new Zoning Code. (As explained in more detail by an earlier article, the current Zoning Code will still be in effect until a Community Plan process deploys the new Zoning Code.) Still, the re:code LA team will be holding the public hearing on Tuesday, June 26, 2018 on the Processes and Procedures Ordinance before the changes go to the City Planning Commission, City Council committee, and the full City Council for approval.


Join us online or in person and let us know what you think!

The revised version of our proposed processes & procedures overhaul is posted on our project website's MarkUp system and will be available for direct commenting from now until July 6, 2018. MarkUp lets you browse, download, and comment on draft documents, and provides a great opportunity to directly shape re:code LA. If this is your first time using MarkUp, we've prepared a quick walk-through on how it works. Let us know what you think.

Process and Procedure Mark-Up


City Planning will hold an open house and public hearing in June to gather feedback on the proposal, after which time a revised recommendation will be considered by the City Planning Commission and City Council for approval. Below are the details regarding the public hearing:

Open House & Public Hearing

Ronald F. Deaton Civic Auditorium
100 W. 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012

DATE: Tuesday, June 26, 2018

TIME: 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm


For more details on these meetings, please refer to the Public Hearing Notice.

You may submit comments on the draft ordinance in writing by mail or e-mail, in-person at the public hearing or online through MarkUp. Please note that comments on the draft ordinance must be submitted by Friday, July 6, 2018 to be considered for the staff report. Comments may be submitted after that date, but should be addressed directly to the City Planning Commission.

Process and Procedures Comment Period

re:code LA is a comprehensive revision of the City of Los Angeles’ Zoning Code, and is one of the City’s largest planning initiatives to date. First adopted in 1946, the Zoning Code’s overall structure has remained the same, while the needs of the City have changed drastically. The project will create a Zoning Code that provides a whole new set of land use and development regulations that realize the needs of a 21st Century Los Angeles for all stakeholders.

P&P Staff Hearing Notice 2018.pdf

P&P Questions and Answers_2018.pdf