Growth in L.A. and ‘Vigilante Planning’


In response to “Vigilante Planning,” editorial, March 7:

In this day of sound bites, story “spin” and media imagery, city planning issues are frequently cast in a manner reminiscent of Hollywood Westerns, complete with good guys, bad guys and horseback justice. Whether the context is an OK Corral or a Lonesome Dove, the flickering image of planning is still the same--that of a community obsessed with conflicts, past and present, and having little interest in looking ahead to positive solutions for the future.

The real fact is that the curtain has not opened on the next major scene. Planning initiatives are already under way, though not yet before the public eye, which seek to resolve differing public perspectives, compel creative thinking and require effective long-term solutions in fashioning a city for the 21st Century. Heralded in November by the LA 2000 report, a series of major actions are now being taken to set the stage for effective long-term solutions.

--A long-range growth management plan is being fashioned which will look beyond current infrastructure shortages and answer the basic questions: How much should we grow? By when? In which areas of Los Angeles?


--The rezoning of the city to match the adopted community plans is nearly complete. This makes community plans, not zoning, the guiding land use documents to be implemented.

--An ambitious citizen participation program is being put into place. During 1989, 10 community plan advisory committees will be formed to help formulate revisions to community plans and to monitor the implementation of these revisions. Within five years, all 35 community plan areas in the city will have citizen committees.

--A site plan ordinance will soon be before the City Council for approval. This will assure public hearings and careful decision-making on major projects which previously only required a building permit without public hearings.

--Public notice is being extended on public hearings to residents and property owners within 500 feet of a proposed development instead of 300 feet.

--Design workshops are being held and specific plans prepared to protect and enhance the quality of life in our neighborhoods.

--New air quality planning under way will bring jobs and housing closer together, and provide new ride-sharing and transit opportunities so that people can participate directly in cleaning up the air they breathe.


--A new transportation plan is being prepared, and a parking ordinance being forwarded for City Council approval. Together, these will, over a period of time, help lessen traffic congestion.

--A child-care ordinance recently approved by the city Planning Commission will provide incentives for developers to build child-care facilities on-site at the parents’ places of employment.

--An open space zone will be placed on all publicly owned open space, such as parks, to guard against their conversion to inappropriate uses.

We are turning the corner on city planning--demolishing the makeshift stage on which these dramas have been played out for the media and formulating a new vision of what this community can become with the help and involvement of its citizens.

What we are fashioning now is a way to plan our city and communicate with one another which will serve us well into the 21st Century, offering the hope that our most cherished dreams can be realized, while the past dramas are relegated to the old film library.


Los Angeles