Los Angeles County

 

California Needs ‘Minimum Housing’ to Go Along with Minimum Wage

Sexy-sporty clothing brand American Apparel has long been one of the Los Angeles’ most beloved, and most controversial, corporate citizens. It is known for paying decent wages and treating its workers well.
 
When it easily could have outsourced jobs to Asia, it has also resolutely kept its main factory in Los Angeles, occupying a muscular, seven-story industrial building on the southeast edge of downtown since 2000. American Apparel has proudly championed social-justice causes, including immigration reform and gay rights, and assured consumers that they are buying “sweatshop-free” garments made by well treated workers.
 
They’re just the sort of workers who might – might – benefit from the forthcoming increase in California’s minimum wage. If only they – and every other low-wage worker in Los Angeles – had decent roofs over their heads.

Cal Supremes Deny Rehearing In Newhall Ranch Case

The California Supreme Court has denied a rehearing in Center for Biological Diversity v. Los Angeles County, the major challenge to the environmental impact report on the Newhall Ranch project. 

In the ruling on November 30, the Supreme Court ruled that a lead agency could use the baseline statewide target of a 29% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a "business as usual" scenario in the EIR but, rather, had to use a more project-specific baseline instead. CEQA practitioners have been scratching their heads ever since about how to actually do this. 

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Ballot Initiative Takes Aim at Planning in Los Angeles

On the morning of Wednesday, November 9, while the nation takes stock of its future, its second-largest city will be doing the same. By then, the proposed Hollywood Palladium Residences may be one of two things: a proud testament to a progressive city's embrace of smart growth, or a 28-story symbol of the hubris of Los Angeles’ planning and development community.  

No Triable Issue of Fact in AirBNB-Related Eviction Case

A Venice tenant who was renting her attic or loft out through AirBNB does not have a “triable issue of fact” on an eviction case brought against her by her landlord, the appellate division of the Los Angeles County Superior Court has ruled.

The case highlights one of a myriad of legal issues created by the such online services as AirBNB, which facilitates occupants of regular housing to rent out their bedrooms as if they were hotels, often in violation of zoning ordinances and homeowner association rules.

The case involved Joella Kraft, who lived in a rent-controlled unit in the Venice neighborhood in Los Angeles pursuant to a written agreement with the property’s then-landlord dating back to 1997, which also permitted her two then-young sons to live there on a part-time basis.

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Sponsored Announcement: International Change Makers of the Built Environment Come Together in L.A. for FutureBuild

ULI Los Angeles, in partnership with VerdeXchange, announces FutureBuild 2016. This assembly of the land-use thinkers and innovators in business and government, local and worldwide, will be Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 7:30 am to 1:30 pm, at L.A. Downtown Hotel, 333 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071.

Can Bertoni Help Garcetti Run L.A. City Hall's Planning Gauntlet?

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Monday that he has selected Vince Bertoni as the city’s new planning director, replacing Michael Lo Grande. Bertoni is currently planning director of Pasadena and a former deputy director in Los Angeles. Bertoni must be confirmed by the L.A. City Council.

Lo Grande’s departure had been rumored for some time. He was selected as planning director by former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa in 2010 following the departure of Gail Goldberg. In contrast to Goldberg – a visionary long-range planner – Lo Grande was a nuts-and-bolts guy who had previously served as the city’s zoning administrator. 

Bertoni’s selection suggests that Garcetti wants to return to a more visionary approach. He has held top planning posts in such cities as Malibu, Beverly Hills, and Santa Clarita – and recently worked Pasadena through a general plan revision that included an innovative approach to traffic metrics similar to the switch called for in SB 743. He could play a key role in implementing Garcetti’s new transportation plan, Mobility 2035, which contains similar ideas

Legal Briefs: Cal Supremes Take Another Newhall Case

Another Newhall Ranch case goes to the Supreme Court. The winning environmentalists seek a rehearing in the big Newhall lvictorh -- mostly to clarify the nature of their win. And, on another front, an appellate court reheard a groundwater extraction fee case and didn’t budget.

Now that the California Supreme Court has given environmentalists a big win in the “main event” Newhall Ranch case, the court has accepted one of the ancillary cases, CA Native Plant Society v. County of Los Angeles, No. B258090. This case involves the Mission Village phase of Newhall Ranch, which received county approval for its January project-level EIR approval in 2012. It was challenged as of June 2012.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court will have to decide whether to grant a re-hearing in the main event, because the Center for Biological Diversity – which mostly won the case – wants a clarification that it cast as a request for a rehearing.  

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Is This The Right Meeting? Really?

If NIMBYs are, proverbially, planners’ worst enemies, then planners are sometimes their own second-worst enemies.  

Monday morning I attended one of a dozen or so workshops and listening sessions, this one in Los Angeles, put on by the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research to publicize and solicit input into the new draft General Plan Guidelines. It’s a momentous occasion for planners in California. Legislative, demographic, and cultural forces have forged a different world in the 12 years since OPR last updated the guidelines. 

Cities that update their general plans, usually to the tune of hundreds of pages, need all the help they can get. That’s why it’s so important for OPR to clearly explain what it has in mind and to hear what planners and citizens need to make the magic happen.  

Some citizens, though, see nothing magical about, well, anything that planners do.  

Supreme Court Gives Enviros Big Victory on Newhall Ranch

California's Supreme Court broke the Newhall Land & Farming Company's long winning streak November 30 in a victory for environmental and community groups over the Newhall Ranch megadevelopment. 

The plan to extend Los Angeles' urban growth into the Santa Clarita Valley, with a planned community of almost 58,000 people, has been persistently proposed and persistently litigated for two decades. Thanks to recent years' pro-development rulings, notably by the Second District Court of Appeal's Fifth Division, the project seemed to be well launched. Now quite a few bets are off.

The five-vote majority opinion by Justice Kathryn Werdegar sided with opponents of the development on the three major issues before the court. Justice Carol Corrigan filed a brief separate opinion concurring and dissenting, while Justice Ming W. Chin wrote an extensive dissent objecting to the likely delays in the project. 

Perhaps most significantly, the court said Newhall could not determine the significance of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) simply by applying the raw statewide regulatory goal of reducing GHG emissions 29 percent below "business as usual" levels by the year 2020, as set under the AB 32 Scoping Plan. The court held that an agency trying to apply the statewide goal locally should explain how the local situation related to the statewide goal.

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What Next For The Subway To The Sea?

The Second District Court of Appeal has upheld the environmental impact report for the extension of Los Angeles’s Purple Line, removing another hurdle for construction of the “Subway to the Sea” through Beverly Hills. Now we'll see whether the Beverly Hills city and school district will appeal to the California Supreme Court.

The subway extension has been consistently opposed by both the City of Beverly Hills and the Beverly Hills Unified School District, primarily because it would require tunneling under Beverly Hills High School. The Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority is planning to locate a station at Constellation Boulevard and Avenue of the Stars, in the middle of the Century City business district, which is located immediately west of Beverly Hills High School, rather than further north along Santa Monica Boulevard.

In ruling against the city and the school district, the appellate court emphasized the need to give great deference to the lead agency in reviewing decisions about whether to recirculate an EIR.

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