AIA|LA Government & Public Affairs Report
From the desk of Will Wright - February 13, 2018


Please take a moment on Tuesday, February 13 to testify your support at Los Angeles City Hall for the PSH Ordinance.  

Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance - public hearing
Tuesday, February 13 (2:30pm - 5:00pm)
Los Angeles City Hall, Room 350

If you can not attend in person, please share a letter of support to and reference Council File 17-1422

Background Info:
We need to build at least 1,000+ units of permanent supportive housing annually for the next several years.  To facilitate that process, the Department of City Planning has introduced the Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance, which will amend the Los Angeles Municipal Code to facilitate the design and construction of more PSH units.  It will affect all parcels zoned for multi-family residential in High Quality Transit Areas, as well as, some parcels zoned for Public Facilities.  It also establishes regulations that define PSH and project eligibility criteria and establishes unique development standards.  The PSH will also facilitate administrative review and modify certain  regulations related to height and density, setbacks, transitional height and parking requirements.

Essentially, it will make it easier and less costly to building permanent supportive housing for those who need urgently need a place to call home.


1.  Testify at the PLUM public hearing.


(YOUR FIRM NAME) Supports the Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance = Council File 17-1422

As __(your title, firm name)__________, I am writing to share our strong support for the Permanent Supportive Housing Ordinance = Council File 17-1422 .

We strongly support:
  • The streamlined planning and entitlement process
  • The reduced parking requirements
  • The floor area exemption for areas used for supportive services
  • For the allowance of smaller, less expensive units of housing
  • Concessions and Incentives as listed in the ordinance
  • The design standards of facade transparency, landscaping, street orientation and building articulation — these standards will promote scale, visual interest, pedestrian orientation, and are clear and easy to follow but with enough room for design freedom 
Ideally, this ordinance will also create a specialized interdisciplinary team within Building and Safety that would also prioritize these projects, and help develop solutions to common issues with PSH,
Thank you for your leadership advancing this important ordinance.  Please feel free to reach out to me at anytime if we can be of any further assistance.

Yours truly,

If you’re available to attend on February 13th and/or write a letter of support, please let me know via email at

WHAT WE LEARNED:  Key Take-Aways

On behalf of the AIA Los Angeles chapter and its 4500+ members, I often attend lectures, roundtables and working groups to represent the professional interest of architects and designer.  This weekly column serves a forum to share some of the key take-aways that I observe at each of these events.

DESIGN FOR DIGNITY:  A Roundtable Discussion on Measure HHH
Thursday, February 8 (6pm - 8pm)
LA Community Action Network - 838 E. Sixth Street, Los Angeles, CA 90021

About the Event:

“With the first Measure HHH funded project under construction, efforts by the City of Los Angeles to alleviate homelessness is gaining momentum. The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Institute of Architects will co-host with Los Angeles Community Action Network a panel discussion with city officials and homeless housing providers to explore actionable steps to streamline future Measure HHH projects.”
Confirmed Speakers:

What We Learned:
  1. On February 6th, HCIDLA issued their 2017-2018 Measure HHH Call For Projects (Round Two) and Developers are encourages to apply HERE.  Deadline is March 5th.
  2. In April 2018, HCIDLA is expecting to release their second round of bonds for sale and are actively seeking letters of commitments from City Councilmembers for sites throughout the City of Los Angeles.  It’s important that we we distribute the develop Permanent Supportive Housing in each of the fifteen council districts.
  3. LA CAN issued two community reports as critical observations at the end of 2017:  “Dirty Divide: Out of Service” address the urgent need to have more bathrooms, showers and hygiene stations throughout skid-row.  “All Show and No Substance: Proposition HHH First Year Performance Assessment” spells out seven important recommendations to mitigate the housing crisis.
    1. Preserve the existing affordable housing stock.
    2. Utilize city-owned property for low-income housing (even look at adaptively re-using certain existing public facilities)
    3. Embrace the Unconventional.  
    4. Expand access to public sanitation.
    5. Stop the cripminilaztion of homelessness.
    6. Include the community more often in the decision-making process.
    7. Make public education a key priority.  And build support for greater acceptance of affordable housing in all parts of the city.
  4. Amy Anderson underscored the importance of saying YES TO EVERY SINGLE SOLUTION.  We need it all.
  5. Lise Bornstein, AIA emphasized the need to remove the regulatory and procedural impediments to deliver affordable housing more quickly to the market.  We need to further streamline the process.  As importantly:  The elephant in the room continues to be NIMBYism.  We need to demystify the community impacts of affordable housing and build more political support.  She referenced the CSH program “Speak Up” as an important tool that we need to utilize more often.
  6. Peter Lynn reminded the audience:  “Mental illness doesn’t cause homelessness.  Lack of affordability and a lack of social services causes homelessness.”  Also, the degree of institutional racism and the legacy of mass incarceration, which is one of the root-causes of homelessness, needs to be rectified immediately. 
  7. Rushmore Cervantes pointed out one of the challenging paradoxes inherent in delivering more affordable housing to the market:  There is a need to preserve the existing affordable housing stock, and at the same time, there is a need to densify the city so that we’re able to build more units of housing so that we have a greater supply of housing availability.  The Ellis Act challenge needs to be solved - and since there are relatively few places available to build the amount of housing that we need, we need to think more strategically about how to balance all of this so that we’re building complete and inclusive communities.
  8. There is the opportunity to define our housing crisis as a "state of emergency" so that we’re able to implement immediate solutions such temporary structures, modular container homes on parking lots (or vacant lots).  These habitable arrangements would then move from site to site as more permanent development comes into play.

Strategic Plan:  Advocacy = Building Collaborative Relationships with other organizations and appointing architects as experts in affordable housing


AIA|LA Political Outreach Committee 
Tuesday, February 20 (6pm - 8pm)
724 South Spring Street
Suite 1002
Los Angeles, California 90014


POC Leadership:
2018 Chair = Douglas Hanson, AIA, ASID - President, Hanson LA
Past-Chair = D. Rocky Rockefeller, AIA - Senior Partner, Rockefeller Partners Architects
Vice-Chair/ Chair-elect = to be determined (Open to 2018 AIA|LA Board Members….)

AIA|LA Presents…..
a roundtable discussion w/ The LA Dept. of City Planning

Do you have ideas for how to improve the City of LA’s zoning code?

Please join us at our upcoming roundtable discussion to further examine the proposed changes to the zoning code that will be implemented via the  Process and Procedures Amendment Ordinance.  This is your chance to review the proposed changes in advance and come prepared share your ideas with the Department of City Planning.

Presented by:  Tom Rothmann - Principal City Planner, Los Angeles Department of City Planning
Friday, February 23 (12:00pm - 1:30pm)
Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring St., Room 501
Los Angeles, CA. 90012

BRING YOUR OWN LUNCH. You can order take-out from Home Boy Cafe on the 2nd Floor of City Hall.


Please review the draft ordinance in advance.  CLICK HERE to read the ordinance.

The objectives of this roundtable will be to allow AIA members to share critical and constructive feedback and ideas on how to improved the draft ordinance.  The proposed ordinance will cut in half the number of project review processes for gaining entitlements and permits for development projects across the city.  It will streamline and clarify the process and consolidate the decision-making pathway for how the City reviews development project proposals, etc.  The proposed changes will enable a more consistent standard of review and help save the City and the project applicant time and money.

Tom Rothmann - Principal City Planner, Los Angeles Department of City Planning
Tom has worked at the Los Angeles Department of City Planning since 1999 and is currently the Principal City Planner for the comprehensive Zoning Code rewrite project – re:code LA.  In addition to re:code LA, Tom supervises the Code Studies Section and has drafted citywide zoning ordinances on a variety of topics including mixed-use zoning, affordable housing, urban farming, development reform, murals, and parking. 

For more information, please contact:

Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director, Government & Public Affairs
American Institute of Architects/ Los Angeles Chapter
3780 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 701
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(o) (213) 639-0764
Last updated: 13-Feb-2018 10:44 AM
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