The Los Angeles City Council’s amendment to the 2012 Hollywood Community Plan Update is being filtered through the city’s Planning Commission, and opponents of the update have expressed concern that the city is looking to circumvent the court decision that struck down the plan update.
At the end of 2013, Judge Allan Goodman ruled that the plan update was “fatally flawed,” which prompted the council to adopt a motion that rescinds the plan and restores its predecessor from 1988.
Some opponents took issue with some of the language in the amendment. One section proclaimed, “Whereas, this amendment is intended to overrule and supersede the trial court’s decision in Fix This City v. City of Los Angeles.”
“The city is, in effect, thumbing its collective nose at the court, telling the court that the court’s decision was wrong and that the city will ignore it in favor of its own, different interpretation,” attorney Robert P. Silverstein, who is representing some opponents of the plan update, wrote in a letter addressed to the planning commission.
City planner Conni Pallini-Tipton said that language has since been removed from the amendment. She said the city is working to move forward on the update while addressing the court’s concerns.
“We are trying to comply,” Pallini-Tipton said.
Since the court decision, the planning department has not issued permits for projects that are looking to utilize elements of the new plan, she said. The amendment is, in part, working to address that issue.
However, some opponents of the update have also denounced the amendment. Dick Platkin, a member of the East Hollywood Neighborhood Council and former planning department staffer, said the city may be trying to fight the court decision in an indirect way.
The amendment instructs city departments to clarify that the city’s General Plan Framework Element, which is a long-term growth strategy, never included mandatory monitoring.
“I think this is really silly for a number of different reasons,” Platkin said.
He said he was involved in the creation of the Framework Element, and that at no time was there discussion about the monitoring programs being discretionary. Platkin said the city is supposed to monitor three things — infrastructure, demographic assumptions in the plan and the unfolding of policies and programs in the framework.
He said the city has conducted three partial monitoring reports, but that officials only looked at L.A.’s infrastructure. The reports were compiled in 1997, 1998 and 1999, Platkin said.
Subsequent community plans contained language related to monitoring, he said. Platkin said it is important to analyze how effective community plans have been.
“The Wilshire Community Plan has a little section on monitoring and it says the plan will be monitored every five years [as intended by the Framework Element],” he added.
Platkin said the state has guidelines on how to prepare, utilize and maintain a general plan, but Los Angeles was exempted because the city is not considered a general law city — rather it is a charter city. He said the city has a long-term, systematic opposition to monitoring plans.
“From the standpoint of being a city planner, it doesn’t make any sense,” Platkin said. He asked why the city would go through all the trouble to create a plan, which includes millions of dollars and thousands of residents, to never see if it is working. “There are seriously problems when you don’t monitor a plan.”
To remedy the situation correctly, the city should redo the Framework Element and other elements of the General Plan, then proceed in updating the community plans, Platkin said.
“It’s better to do it right than to do an inadequate job and have it thrown it out by the courts,” he added.
Pallini-Tipton said a court case — Saunders v. City of Los Angeles — held that the monitoring programs were discretionary and dependent on resources. She said the city is monitoring the plans, though some residents may disagree with how staff members are doing it.
“But it is being done,” Pallini-Tipton said.
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.