Southeast Valley Community Plan Update
About This Project
The City of Los Angeles is currently updating the Community Plans for the three Community Plan Areas of the Southeast San Fernando Valley: North Hollywood – Valley Village, Sherman Oaks – Studio City – Toluca Lake – Cahuenga Pass, and Van Nuys – North Sherman Oaks.
The State of California requires every city to adopt a General Plan that covers certain topics in sections called Elements (such as the Land Use Element, the Housing Element, and the Safety Element). The Land Use Element of the City’s General Plan consists of 35 Community Plans. Their purpose is to guide future growth in the City’s communities, based on knowledge of current conditions, projected demographic changes, and the priorities of residents and other stakeholders.
Through the Community Plan update process, the Los Angeles City Planning Department works with community stakeholders to develop a vision for future growth in each area, based on current and anticipated conditions related to land use, housing, jobs, transportation, environmental protection, and other factors. When finished, each Community Plan consists of both a long-range policy document and a zoning map.
The multi-year update process began in July 2018. It will culminate in the City Council’s adoption of the Community Plans. For the latest project timeline, see the project's FAQ here.
Click the button to watch a short video about Community Plans.
The Southeast Valley has changed since the area’s Community Plans were last updated in the mid to late 1990s. Housing affordability has become an even greater challenge for many residents. Meanwhile, state-mandated greenhouse gas reduction targets underscore the need to address climate change through the planning process, particularly given the extreme heat familiar to residents of the Valley. At the same time, the Southeast Valley has benefited from significant investment in public transit over the past 20 years. The Metro Red and Orange Lines are complete, and plans are in progress for the future East San Fernando Valley and Sepulveda transit corridors. These projects will not only integrate the Southeast Valley more closely with the City’s transit network and employment hubs, but will open up new opportunities for housing that is highly accessible to transit.
Residents’ participation and input are essential to ensuring the quality and effectiveness of the Community Plans. Visit the Get Involved page to contact us, connect on social media, and sign up for email news. Find accomplishments and upcoming events on the News page.
The City is currently updating three Community Plans in the Southeast Valley: North Hollywood – Valley Village, Sherman Oaks – Studio City – Toluca Lake –Cahuenga Pass, and Van Nuys – North Sherman Oaks.
Scroll down for more information about each Plan, including policy documents and land use maps. Click here to look up the Community Plan Area for any street address in Los Angeles.
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The North Hollywood – Valley Village Community Plan Area is located in the southeastern portion of the San Fernando Valley. It is generally bounded by the Metrolink right-of-way to the north, the City of Burbank to the east, the 101 and the 134 freeways to the south, and the Tujunga Wash Channel to the west.
North Hollywood, developed with a mix of single-family and multi-family residential units, comprises most of the Plan Area. The neighborhood also includes the NoHo Arts District and a significant industrial core in the north along the Metrolink right-of-way.
Valley Village is located in the southwestern portion of the Plan Area. The majority of the community is developed with single-family homes. It also includes commercial developments, mainly along Laurel Canyon Boulevard.
The area also includes part of the Valley Glen neighborhood, located just west of the 170 freeway, which is developed with primarily single-family neighborhoods. Multi-family and commercial uses are located along major corridors and there are industrial uses along the northern boundary.
The Plan Area is surrounded by City of Los Angeles communities of Sun Valley, Panorama City, Van Nuys, Sherman Oaks, and Studio City, as well as portions of Toluca Lake and the City of Burbank.
The Sherman Oaks – Studio City – Toluca Lake – Cahuenga Pass Community Plan Area is located in the southeastern portion of the San Fernando Valley. It is generally bounded by the 405 freeway to the west, the 101 and the 134 freeways to the north, the City of Burbank to the east, and Mulholland Drive to the south.
Sherman Oaks, located in the western portion of the Plan Area, is primarily comprised of residential neighborhoods where single-family homes predominate.
Studio City is bounded by Lankershim Boulevard to the east and Fulton Avenue to the west and includes a significant segment of the Los Angeles River. In addition to single-family neighborhoods, there are multi-family uses concentrated along Moorpark Street and commercial uses along Laurel Canyon Boulevard near Ventura Boulevard. The area is also home to CBS Studios.
Toluca Lake is located in the eastern portion of the Plan Area bordering the City of Burbank and consists mainly of single-family neighborhoods and low-rise, pedestrian-friendly commercial development.
Cahuenga Pass has historically served as a transitional area between the urbanized core of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. The area has several single-family neighborhoods in the hills, as well as commercial development along the 101 freeway.
The Plan Area is surrounded by City of Los Angeles communities of Encino, Van Nuys, North Hollywood, Valley Village, Hollywood, and Bel Air-Beverly Crest as well as the City of Burbank and Universal City, a portion of land governed and planned by Los Angeles County.
The Van Nuys – North Sherman Oaks Community Plan Area is generally bounded by the Metrolink right-of-way to the north, the Tujunga Wash to the east, the 101 freeway to the south, and Gloria Avenue, Valjean Avenue, and the 405 freeway to the west.
Van Nuys is located north of Burbank Boulevard and comprises the majority of the Plan Area. The area is home to the Valley's Civic Center, with commercial uses concentrated largely on Van Nuys and Sepulveda Boulevards. Most of the area's residential neighborhoods consist of single-family homes with multi-family development in the Civic Center area and along the larger boulevards. Van Nuys also has two significant industrially zoned areas: flanking the Orange Line between Van Nuys and Sepulveda, and along the Metrolink right-of-way to the north.
North Sherman Oaks comprises the southern portion of the Plan Area bordering the 101 freeway. The neighborhood primarily consists of pockets of single-family neighborhoods with multi-family housing on corridors and commercial uses concentrated on Van Nuys and Sepulveda Boulevards, at key intersections, and along Riverside Drive.
The area also includes part of the Valley Glen neighborhood, located just west of the 170 freeway, which is developed with primarily single-family neighborhoods. Multi-family and commercial uses are located along major corridors and there are industrial uses along the northern boundary. Landmarks include Los Angeles Valley College and the Tujunga Wash.
Neighboring communities include Lake Balboa, North Hills, Panorama City, North Hollywood, Valley Village, Studio City, and Sherman Oaks.
What is the goal of the project?
The Los Angeles City Planning Department's mission is "to create and implement plans, policies, and programs that realize a vision of Los Angeles as a collection of healthy and sustainable neighborhoods, each with a distinct sense of place, based on a foundation of mobility, economic vitality, and improved quality of life for all residents."
To effectively plan for future growth and development in the Southeast San Fernando Valley, the Department is concurrently updating the Community Plans for three Community Plan Areas: North Hollywood – Valley Village, Sherman Oaks – Studio City – Toluca Lake – Cahuenga Pass, and Van Nuys – North Sherman Oaks.
Although each area is unique, the project team will work together to create a holistic vision for the future of the Southeast San Fernando Valley.
How will we get there?
The new plans will be the result of a multi-year process with extensive public input to ensure that everyone who lives, works, and plays in the Southeast San Fernando Valley has the chance to make their voice heard. Participants in this process will identify key issues and opportunities facing their neighborhoods, and will then establish an organized list of goals, policies, and strategies to address these concerns throughout the Plan Area. A zoning and land-use map will accompany each plan to identify where jobs, housing, and open space may be located.
Why are these Community Plans being updated?
1. To reflect current and anticipated conditions in the Southeast Valley.
The Southeast Valley Community Plans have not been updated in about 20 years, during which time the City and Valley have undergone significant changes. Updated priorities and rules are needed to:
- Account for changes in demographics and the built environment;
- Plan for accommodating growth in a sensible and sustainable way; and
- Guide the approval process for new development to ensure consistency with the community’s vision.
2. To match other recently updated citywide plans.
State law requires the Community Plans to be consistent with all Elements of the City’s General Plan. Many of the General Plan's Elements have been approved since the Southeast Valley Community Plans were last updated. Ensuring consistency across these documents is one of the Department's key responsibilities. (For more information on the City's General Plan Elements, see the Resources page.)
3. To help plan for growth and enhance quality of life.
The Department is responsible for ensuring that Los Angeles is able to accommodate the coming decade's anticipated growth in housing, population, and employment. Updating the Community Plans allows each community to assess how much growth it can accommodate in a systematic, thoughtful, and environmentally sustainable way.
What is the Process?
The update process is expected to take multiple years. During this time, the Department will:
- Research land-use and demographic patterns throughout the Southeast Valley.
- Hold regular public events throughout the Southeast Valley to identify issues and opportunities, request feedback to develop a vision for the community, and keep stakeholders updated on our progress.
- Update land-use and zoning policies to reflect the community’s vision and accommodate expected growth.
- Implement new zoning categories through re:code LA, the City’s comprehensive Zoning Code update.
- Prepare an Environmental Impact Report that assesses the environmental impacts of the proposed changes. (Note: one EIR will be prepared for all three plans.)
- Present the proposed changes to the City Planning Commission and City Council for approval.
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Many existing policy documents envision and guide investment, growth, design, and development in the Southeast San Fernando Valley. This document library compiles some of the plans, policies, and proposals that the Los Angeles City Planning Department will review and consider throughout the Community Plan Update process.
The Department has developed a number of policy documents for the Southeast Valley. These documents regulate the look and feel of specific areas, preserve historic resources, and incentivize particular uses in designated areas. The Department will consider these existing documents during the update process. In some cases, these documents will continue to exist as complements to the updated Community Plans, and in other cases, their regulations will be incorporated into the new plans.
North Hollywood - Valley Village
Sherman Oaks - Studio City - Toluca Lake - Cahuenga Pass
Van Nuys-North Sherman Oaks
The Mayor’s Office also guides citywide planning efforts. Though these programs and plans do not originate in the Department, but they are often related to its work. The update process for the Southeast Valley Community Plans will take the Mayor's Office's efforts into consideration.
A number of citywide efforts affect the goals and vision of Community Plans. The Department creates some of these policy and planning documents as stand-alone documents or as Elements of the City’s General Plan. The Mayor's Office also engages in citywide placemaking and sustainability efforts. The Southeast Valley Community Plan Update team will consult these documents throughout the update process.
The Department periodically adopts new policies, regulations, and guidelines that address citywide issues. The Community Planning process in the Southeast Valley will incorporate many of these into the zoning for the area, making them more permanent.
Land use is only one factor in determining where people live, work, and play. The City’s Community Plans make up an Element of its General Plan, a document that the State of California requires every city to prepare. Other Elements of Los Angeles’s General Plan that are especially relevant to the Community Plan process appear below.
The Department is one of many public agencies whose planning and policy decisions that impact the Southeast Valley. Key documents from other public agencies appear below.
Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA)
The CRA was created in 1945 as a tool to revitalize communities. The agency was dissolved in 2011, but the CRA's plans have lived on and continue to shape development in the City of Los Angeles. In July 2018, the CRA's website went offline, but its plans are still in effect in North Hollywood. The CRA plans that impact the Southeast Valley appear below.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Agency (Metro)
LA Metro is responsible for planning, building, and maintaining the County's transportation system. Through Metro's Transit Oriented Communities program, the agency promotes integration of land use, transportation, and community development, with several efforts underway in the San Fernando Valley. Additionally, Metro has a number of pending transit projects in the Valley.
A number of Metro projects in the San Fernando Valley impact the Southeast Valley. These projects include:
- The East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor
- Sepulveda Transit Corridor Project
- NoHo to Pasadena Corridor
- North SFV BRT
- Orange Line Improvements
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG)
SCAG is a regional association of governments for six Southern California counties (Imperial, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, and Ventura) and 191 cities. The SCAG Regional Transportation Plan/Sustainable Communities Strategy charts a course for closely integrating land use and transportation so the region can grow smartly and sustainably.
LA County Department of Regional Planning
Although the County of Los Angeles' Department of Regional Planning does not have land use authority within the City of Los Angeles, it is responsible for planning in unincorporated areas. This includes Universal Studios, which is adjacent to the Studio City – Sherman Oaks – Toluca Lake – Cahuenga Pass community plan area. The Universal Studios Specific Plan, as well as the department’s Spanish Planning Glossary, are included here for reference.
Community groups have also created a number of reports, plans, and visioning documents for the Southeast Valley. (If a resource is missing, please let us know.)
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
A state law requiring state and local agencies to analyze the potential impacts of their actions on the environment, disclose their findings to the public, and to mitigate impacts where feasible.
The Land Use Element of the General Plan consists of 35 Community Plans. Each focuses on a particular area or community in the City (e.g., North Hollywood – Valley Village Community Plan).
The number of residential units permitted per acre of land.
Environmental Impact Report (EIR)
Type of environmental review prepared when the City determines that a project may potentially have significant environmental impacts.
Floor Area Ratio (FAR)
The ratio of the gross floor area of a building to the area of the lot where it is located. (This video explains FAR.)
The General Plan is the City's guide for its future growth and development. The State of California requires every city to adopt a General Plan. General Plans have a typical lifespan of 20 to 30 years and must be updated periodically.
Each General Plan must cover certain topics in sections called Elements (such as the Land Use Element, the Housing Element, and the Safety Element).
General Plan Framework
The Framework Element of the General Plan lays out goals and policies for topics related to growth and services. All General Plan Elements adopted by the City need to be consistent with the Framework.
Establishes a zone’s height and Floor Area Ratio limitations.
Zones or regulations included in the Community Plan that supplement basic zoning regulations and help realize the Plan’s goals for new development.
Development of vacant or underutilized land within urbanized areas.
The public and quasi-public facilities required in order to serve the development and operational needs of a community, such as roads, public transportation, water, and sewer systems.
Land Use Designation
Examples of land use designations include residential, industrial, commercial, and open space. Each land use designation has a list of corresponding zones.
A project that combines compatible uses within the same structure, such as a building with residential uses above ground-floor commercial space.
A law or statute enacted by a city government. Zoning is established by ordinance.
A committee of five or more citizens who are appointed by the City to review matters related to planning and development.
Transit Oriented Development (TOD)
Development located near transit. The City’s General Plan encourages locating new housing and businesses near transit to provide convenient alternatives to car travel (e.g., walking, bicycling, taking public transportation).
Zoning determines the uses permitted on a parcel and provides regulations for development, including height, bulk, and setbacks.
Contact the Southeast Valley Community Plan Updates Team for general questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.