Planning During COVID-19

Over the course of the last month, all of us have been impacted by COVID-19. Recent events have altered our day-to-day lives and cast a spotlight on the importance of maintaining a sense of community as a nation, first and foremost, but also as Angelenos.

The integrity, commitment, and professionalism of our staff have helped us maintain our normal operations and, in the process, prepare Los Angeles for the economic recovery ahead. Now more than ever, we at City Planning are hoping to demonstrate what it truly means to be public servants and local leaders for our community.

At the citywide level, we’ve taken measures to protect the health and safety of Angelenos-ranging from our residents and business owners who frequent our public counters to our dedicated staff of over 400 employees. While many of the measures outlined below are intended to be temporary, they demonstrate our clear priorities: putting people first while continuing to provide important City services.

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April 17, 2020

Consistent with Mayor Eric Garcetti’s “Safer At Home” directives to help slow the spread of COVID-19, City Planning has implemented new procedures for the filing of appeals for non-applicants that eliminate or minimize in-person interaction. There are three options for filing appeals, described below.

Option 1: Online Appeal Portal

Non-applicant appeals of entitlements can now be submitted online and payment can be made by credit card. The online appeal portal allows non-applicants to fill out and submit the appeal application directly to the Development Services Center. Once the appeal is accepted, the portal allows for appellants to submit a credit card payment, enabling the appeal and payment to be submitted entirely electronically.

On the final day to file an appeal, the application must be submitted and paid for by 4:30PM (PT). Should the final day fall on a weekend or legal holiday, the time for filing an appeal shall be extended to 4:30PM (PT) on the next succeeding working day. 

Note: a 2.7% credit card processing service fee will be charged. CEQA appeals, Building and Safety appeals (LAMC Section 12.26K), and Applicant appeals can only be filed using Option 2 or 3 below.

Click here to access the online appeal portal

Option 2: Email Plus US Mail

This is a two-step process including pre-clearance by email of the appeal application followed by application and payment submittal via US Mail.

  • Step 1: Email planning.figcounter@lacity.org with the subject line: "Request to File Appeal."
    • In the email body provide: (1) the case number and (2) appellant contact information (name, email, telephone number). Include as individual attachments to the email: (1) Copy of Signed Appeal Application, (2) Justification, and (3) Letter of Determination.
    • City Planning staff will contact the appellant to confirm whether the appeal is complete and meets the applicable provisions of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC). The appellant will then be instructed to move forward with Step 2.
  • Step 2: Send appeal application via US Mail, postmarked no later than the last day of the appeal period. The package shall include: (1) Original Appeal Application (wet signatures), (2) copy of email correspondence with City Planning staff (from Step 1), and (3) appeal fee, check payable to the City of Los Angeles ($109.47 for an aggrieved party, not the Project Applicant.)
    • Mail the appeal application to: Department City Planning - Metro DSC 201 N. Figueroa St., 4th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012
    • City Planning staff will email and mail the appellant with a receipt for payment. Note: only the original application, email, and check need to be sent via US Mail. This ensures a standard envelope with standard postage is sufficient, and no trip to the Post Office is necessary.
    • Steps 1 and 2 must both be completed. An email alone is not sufficient to satisfy appeal requirements.

Option 3: Drop Off at Development Services Centers

  • An appellant may continue to submit an appeal application and payment at any of the three Development Services Center (DSC) locations. City Planning established drop off areas at the DSCs with physical boxes where appellants can drop off appeal applications and payment. Drop off areas are monitored in secure locations outside the three DSCs (Metro/Downtown, Van Nuys, and West Los Angeles) and are available during regular business hours.
  • City Planning staff will follow up with the appellant via email and phone to: (1) confirm that the appeal package is complete and meets the applicable provisions of the LAMC, and (2) provide a receipt for payment.

In an effort to minimize economic impacts of COVID-19, City Planning is continuing to review project applications, conduct environmental analysis, and publish CEQA documentation for project applications. City Planning is also continuing to enable public participation in the process. The public can continue to submit comments on these projects by email and phone to ensure an open and transparent process.  

In the days immediately following the Governor’s stay-at-home orders, public hearings were temporarily postponed in order to allow cities to develop protocols to conduct remote hearings. Since then, City Planning has held several publicly-accessible meetings such as the City Planning Commission via teleconferencing to provide key opportunities for all to participate in the important public comment process.

For the latest public meeting agendas, schedules, and information, visit https://planning.lacity.org/about/commissions-boards-hearings.

Public Order Under City of Los Angeles Emergency Authority Issue Date: March 23, 2020 (Revised March 24, 2020)

On March 23, 2020, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued a public order under the City of Los Angeles’s Emergency Authority to modify City regulations governing the sale of alcoholic beverages. The modified regulations allow:

  • restaurants and bars that prepare and serve food for off-site consumption to sell alcoholic beverages together with food for delivery and take-out; and,
  • sales by retail stores of alcoholic beverages for off-site consumption, including deliveries and extended sales hours, from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily.

Alcoholic beverages sold under this public order must be sold in containers that are fully sealed in a manner designed to prevent consumption without removal of the lid or cap.

The public order does not waive, suspend, or amend any regulations promulgated by the State, including those under the authority of the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC). Furthermore, it does not suspend or supersede existing prohibitions against drinking in public and similar regulations pertaining to public consumption and possession of alcohol. This public order is currently in effect until the end of the local emergency period.

  • While this order provides existing alcohol-serving establishments with the temporary ability to deliver alcohol and conduct sales from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m., it does not permanently modify existing Conditional Use Permits that have been granted to these businesses by Los Angeles City Planning.
  • Businesses seeking to temporarily expand alcohol sales under this public order are not required to request approval from Los Angeles City Planning, as this order has been granted by the Mayor and is already in effect.
  • The State of California’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) remains responsible for establishing and enforcing alcohol sales and distribution.
  • Once the public order is lifted, existing grants approved through Conditional Use Permits for the sale and consumption of alcohol will revert back into effect, as will the specific conditions that were granted for each establishment.

City Planning greatly appreciates your help as we all work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. We have modified our Development Services Center (DSC) operations to help protect the public and our employees who serve you. Consistent with Mayor Garcetti’s directives to help slow the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to deliver important City services, City Planning is minimizing in-person interaction throughout its offices.

Effective March 23, 2020, City Planning established physical drop off areas at all three DSCs with physical boxes for applicants to drop off plans and applications. This drop off system allows applicants to file project applications and provide plans without visiting the public counter or needing an initial filing appointment.

The drop off areas are available at the Metro/Downtown, Van Nuys, and West Los Angeles DSCs during regular business hours. The areas are monitored in a secure location outside the three DSCs. No appointments will be scheduled at this time. City Planning personnel will continue to be available to the public by telephone and email. Please check back regularly for updates.

Click here to access the announcement.

Planning has implemented new procedures for public hearings and outreach meetings in order to practice proper physical distancing protocols.

City Planning commission meetings will now be held virtually in order to provide continued service to communities and businesses across Los Angeles, including the review of housing applications and other policies that facilitate the City’s short- and long-term economic growth.

Directions on how to listen-in, and/or provide comment will be sent to the public in advance of each meeting. Using remote meeting technology, all presentations and materials related to any agenda item will be uploaded onto a public Google drive folder prior to each meeting, providing participants with greater transparency and ease in accessing relevant planning documents.

In the ensuing weeks, City Planning will also be holding additional public meetings remotely, including Area Planning Commission, as well as certain Design Review Board meetings. Public meetings for project and policy applications will follow shortly thereafter.

While these measures are temporary, they are intended to allow for City Planning’s operations to fully resume in order to facilitate Los Angeles’s future economic recovery.

For more information, please consult the individual agendas on the Commissions, Boards, and Hearings webpage.

Icon link to Virtual Meetings press release

In response to COVID-19, City Planning has revised its current procedures to allow project applications that qualify under Senate Bill 330: Housing Crisis Act of 2019 to submit their referral forms electronically. This shift to accepting referral forms via email has shortened the turnaround time, allowing applicants to file remotely without requiring an appointment.

Email planning.PARP@lacity.org to initiate the Preliminary Zoning Assessment review. Submit the optional vesting SB330 Preliminary Application through the Department’s Online Application System.

Icon link to Step by step instructions

A signed Tier Verification by City Planning  is required to submit a plan check application for a ministerial TOC project with “base incentives” to the Department of Building and Safety. A Transit-Oriented Communities – Tier Verification Form (CP- 4051) may be filed online via the Online Application System. Applicants will be required to submit a simple radius map demonstrating the distance from the project site to the nearest Major Transit Stop, with clearly marked rail station entrances or bus intersections, and applicable bus route timetables demonstrating a minimum of 15 minute headways during peak hours for two intersecting routes.

Email DCPPHP@lacity.org for questions regarding the Transit Oriented Communities Affordable Incentive Program.