from the desk of Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA

AIA|LA & BIA-LA Leadership Meeting w/ LADBS and Department of City Planning Management
AIA|LA Board Directors Tania Van Herle, FAIA, Lisa Mattheissen, FAIA, Rocky Rockefeller, AIA, Anne Williams and Leigh Chrisy, AIA joined me at our bi-monthly leadership meeting with LADBS and DCP management.  We had a chance to provide direct and constructive feedback on the proposed Transit Oriented Communities Program.  We are encouraged by DCP's leadership and diligence on this effort to ensure that Los Angeles evolves with smart density and housing affordability become opportunities for healthier lifestyles and ecosystems.

Our recommendations to make the program even more robust included:

  • Lower the parking minimum on Tier 2 from .5 per bedroom to .5 per unit.
  • Lower the parking minimum on Tier 3 from .5 per unit to .25 per unit.
  • Lower the parking minimum on Tier 4 from .5 per unit to 0 required parking.
  • For special need affordable units that requirement should be reduced to 0.3 stalls/unit.  (These requirements are part of AB 744).
The market will still provide the parking that they feel they will need to make sure the project is economically feasible.  However, if and when a project has the potential to be more affordable because of less burden to provide parking, then that will benefit Los Angeles with more flexibility and diversity in housing opportunities.

On Properties Zoned as Public Facilities:
If located within a half-mile of a Major-Transit Stop, the TOC program should allow PF parcels the same zoning provisions as those parcels immediately adjacent to the PF parcel and subject to the same density bonus incentives.

This will help re-develop under-utilized properties and allow public agencies such as METRO, LAUSD, et al a more streamlined approach to making sure they are delivering their services as expeditiously and as efficiently as possible.

To underscore our point, we need to encourage more housing for families and that by mandating a parking minimum per bedroom, that you were discouraging more 2 and 3 bedroom apartments - and that instead the minimums if there will be any at all should be per unit, not per bedroom.

Also, reasoned with Planning that ‘the market' is still going to build what it deems pragmatic to its business model, so even if they lowered the mins to zero, you’d not necessarily have all that many projects built to zero parking - and therefore their concern that communities would be impacted by overflow parking is a misnomer.

ZGF + 1 and Off The Wall Graffiti 
On Tuesday, I shared insight and critical feedback to help shape a program proposal that emerging professionals at ZGF Architects are developing along with a community non-profit Off The Wall Graffiti   The initiative is being supported by ZGF’s commitment to One Plus, which is when a firm dedicates pro-bono design services to help non-profits achieve their mission.

Off the Wall Graffiti helps to foster the self-expression of young street artists by engaging them collaborative programs to help elevate their self-esteem towards higher education.

The idea being jointly developed was to design and build ‘work out walls’ where youth can paint their graffiti in a safe and constructive manner, rather than vandalize the public realm.  These ‘work out walls’ also promote opportunities to mentor kids to take their art to the next level.

County of Los Angeles Leadership Conference, Quality & Productivity Commission
As a LA County Commissioner, I attended our annual leadership conference.  This year’s theme was embracing the change of LA County’s shifting demographics.  Michael Govan shared an inspiring presentation that emphasized the cultural asset of Los Angeles diverse population.  He also reflected on the fact that there are more people working in the arts and in the creative economy in Los Angeles at this point in time (and in any other place) than ever before in history.

Laura Zucker shared a presentation about the Los Angeles County Arts Commission’s “Cultural Equity & Inclusion Initiative”.  The final report shares  13 recommendations to the LA County Board of Supervisors to ensure that everyone in LA County has equitable access to arts and culture, and to improve inclusion in the wider arts ecology for all residents in every community. 

Laura Zucker, who has led the Los Angeles County Arts Commission for the past 25 years, will leave her role in July 2017.

To access the report, CLICK HERE.

As an LA County Commissioner, my general contribution on behalf of AIA|LA is to serve as that liaison between the architecture profession and the County departments in which we interact and to constantly re-iterate the value of design-thinking to all of the administrators and policy-makers in which I interact.  I also help amplify the values of AIA|LA members by advocating for programs and initiatives that help make the LA region more beautiful, livable and healthier.

Resilient Los Angeles Working Group Preview
As part of the working group that has been helping the Mayor’s Office develop a Resillience Plan for the City of Los Angeles, we had a chance to preview the cumulative report that reflects the past 18 months of community engagement.  The report will share 12 resilience goals in 5 chapters:

1.  Safe and Thriving Families
2.  Strong and Connected Neighborhoods
3.  A Healthy River and Watershed
4.  A Prepared & Responsive City
5.  Pioneering Collaborative Partners

At our meeting, we were allowed to comment on a draft of the report which will be made public in the next few weeks.  Once it has been finalized, then we can share with the membership.  We’ve been participating in these feedback session on the resilience report for the past 18 months - and it is now near completion.  About 30 others attended the meeting that represent various aspects of the City family.  Also, other organizations such as USGBC, Red Cross, Climate Resolve, etc are involved in these meetings.

Last updated: 06-Jun-2017 02:44 PM
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