LOS ANGELES Mayor Eric Garcetti on Thursday, March 9 signed a new executive directive that will streamline transformative infrastructure projects, reform the planning process, and improve transparency at City Hall.
Executive Directive 19 (ED 19) will help LA build the transportation infrastructure and affordable housing that voters funded through Measure M and Proposition HHH last fall, while bringing long-awaited improvements to the City’s development process.
During the election, Garcetti said residents of LA “sent a clear message” that they want more affordable housing and improved transportation.
“That is my vision for Los Angeles, and we can only realize it by working together in trust, transparency, and fairness. This executive directive is about making sure we put people before anything else — as we expand opportunity to families that need affordable places to live and better ways to get around, and deliver on our promise to get the most vulnerable off the streets as quickly as we can,” said Garcetti in a statement.
ED 19 will allow the city to build transit infrastructure and housing more quickly and efficiently by fostering collaboration among City departments, and with the MTA. Under the directive, city departments will each appoint a transportation infrastructure liaison to form a dedicated committee with the Mayor’s Office and the MTA. The Mayor’s Transportation Infrastructure Committee will work together to streamline the delivery of transportation projects across the City.
The directive also reforms the city’s planning process by directing the Department of City Planning to develop a specific program and timeline for updating all 35 of the city’s Community Plans — a process that will take place within six years. ED 19 also establishes a Mayoral Planning Task Force to make these Plan updates as efficient as possible.
In addition, ED 19 addresses long-standing concerns about transparency in the development process by prohibiting Planning Commissioners from holding any private meetings about projects under their consideration.
The directive is part of a broader series of planning improvements and affordable housing policies, which include:
• Directing the Department of City Planning (DCP) to Accelerate Community Plan Updates: DCP will prepare a schedule and program for the review and update of the General Plan, including Community Plans, and ensure the effective implementation of Measure M and Proposition HHH in preparing these updated plans.
• Banning Ex Parte Communications with Developers: Private communications with Planning Commissioners on quasi-judicial matters that are under their consideration will be prohibited.
• Establishing a Mayoral Task Force on Planning: Departments will designate a Planning Liaison to participate in and ensure interdepartmental coordination and cooperation in the development of the General Plan and Community Plans. This Task Force will ensure that plans for the future growth of the City are aligned with infrastructure improvements.
• Establishing a Measure M Steering Committee: Departments will establish a Measure M Steering Committee focused on improving transportation project delivery. This effort will accelerate project review times and permitting, and increase coordination and cooperation with MTA.
• Releasing a Transit Oriented Communities (TOC) Program: Mayor Garcetti will release a TOC program for consideration by the City Planning Commission. The TOC Program will expand development incentives for mixed-income housing projects located within one-half mile radius of major transit stops. These incentives are currently being drafted by DCP and are required by Measure JJJ.
• Reforming City Oversight of Environmental Impact Reports (EIRs): The City will expand its oversight of the EIR process by requiring developers to only hire environmental consultants that have been placed on a pre-qualified list by the City.
• Reforming the General Plan Amendment Process: DCP will implement procedures to batch General Plan Amendments for review together by Community Plan Area.
• Directing the Department of City Planning to Expedite the Preparation of a Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance: DCP will expedite the preparation of a Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) ordinance to reduce regulatory hurdles for PSH projects.
Calling on Council to Pass an Affordable Housing Linkage Fee: Mayor Garcetti is calling on the Los Angeles City Council to expeditiously pass the ordinance advanced last month by the City Planning Commission (CPC) to create a permanent stream of funding for affordable housing projects and to greatly expand affordable housing stock.
This new executive directive builds on the Mayor’s efforts to transform the built environment in a way that creates economic opportunity for all Angelenos. That agenda includes making planning reforms, strengthening the city’s stock of rent stabilized housing, expanding the safety net for homeless Angelenos, and fundamentally transforming how the city incentivizes developers to produce affordable housing.
In the next year, the mayor will roll out a series of new land use incentives, financial tools, and administrative reforms that will more than double the production and preservation of affordable housing, while making the development and planning process more transparent and predictable.