Angelenos had many city planning wins in 2022. From the Oil and Gas Drilling Ordinance to the Plan to House LA, Los Angeles City Planning turned plans into action in order to balance the diverse needs of Angeleno’s communities. Here are a few highlights from the past year.
Sustainable Planning: Oil and Gas Ban
On September 22, 2022, the Los Angeles City Planning Commission (CPC) unanimously recommended approval of the city’s Oil and Gas Drilling Ordinance that would prohibit new oil and gas extractions as well as phase out existing operations within 20 years.
The ordinance is a win for both environmental justice and climate change prevention, as many oil wells have been located in residential neighborhoods, putting the health of Angelenos at risk. Oil wells being situated in these neighborhoods, as well as parks and schools, has led to years of reports of adverse health effects on predominantly working-class communities of color. The Ordinance was unanimously approved by the Los Angeles City Council in December of 2022.
Housing First: Housing Element Update
The City’s 2021-2029 Housing Element, known as the Plan to House LA (Housing Element) was adopted this year to strengthen fair housing implementation programs at the citywide level as well as to streamline and increase future housing production across the entire City. The Plan to House LA is widely regarded as a model for other jurisdictions to follow, with the most ambitious rezoning plan of its kind in California, allowing for the accommodation of nearly 500,000 housing units by 2029—200,000 of which are reserved for lower-income residents.
The plan includes a core strategy to focus housing in areas that improve the lives of Angelenos, by creating the majority of the new housing capacity in areas linked to critical life outcomes, such as educational attainment, job opportunities, and access to transportation options. By expanding where housing can be built in the City, the Plan will create more opportunities to live near jobs, transit, and parks while also expanding the availability of affordable units.
Technology in the Workplace: Virtual Counter
Since the global pandemic, there has been increased access to vital City services like the Virtual Counter Queue and online options at the Development Services Center (DSC) that allow users to ask and receive same-day questions virtually, increasing access to basic City services.
In addition, City Planning expanded its Online Application System (OAS), which allows users to file and pay for services remotely, and connected its online portal to make it possible for customers to frequent BuildLA—the City’s secure, online “one-stop shop” for development services—to coordinate across City departments and reduce the bottlenecks in the process.
Improving Client Services: 100% Affordable Housing
This December, the City Council endorsed City Planning's recommendations to streamline the production of 100% affordable housing projects. The report provides policy recommendations on streamlining measures and staffing recommendations for six citywide departments [City Planning, Building and Safety (LADBS), the Housing Department (LAHD), the Fire Department (LAFD), the Bureau of Engineering (BOE), the City Administrative Officer (CAO)].
Along with implementing new staffing plans, City Planning developed procedural changes that aim to streamline timelines for 100% deed restricted affordable projects, in part through a new case management concierge services that would guide projects through the approval process.
Cutting Red Tape: Restaurant Beverage Program
In 2022, The Restaurant Beverage Program (RBP) streamlined the process for bona fide restaurants to apply for their alcohol license through an administrative process. The program is intended to shorten the processing time and costs associated with City approvals.
Though the program was initiated before the COVID-19 pandemic, its adoption was welcomed as a much-needed boost for local restaurants, many of them facing financial challenges and the threat of closure. RBP lowers barriers to small businesses and offers long-term financial relief to support local economic growth through a streamlined approval process.
Leading the City through a housing crisis during a global pandemic has been a demanding challenge, but Los Angeles City Planning has been front and center at moving forward bold, equitable and sustainable solutions. From housing to economic development, we are working hard to ensure that our community members and small businesses have the tools to weather these turbulent economic times and thrive in the years ahead.