Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Gensler, 500 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90071

A Roundtable Discussion on the Future of LA’s Zoning Code

When: Tuesday, April 28 (6pm - 8pm)

Where: Gensler, 500 S. Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA  90071

.  Limited Capacity.

During the last two months, the re:code LA team has been engaged in challenging and exciting work regarding the new Downtown Zoning Code. In collaboration with the downtown community planners, the re:code LA team has developed a preliminary new zoning system designed to more seamlessly translate the community’s future vision for the two downtown community plans, Central City and Central City North, into clear-cut standards readily understandable by would-be real estate developers and the stake-holding public. The new preliminary zoning system is comprised of a string of component standards that together would prescribe what can be built on a particular property. Key to this proposed system is a new emphasis on form, intended to guide the design of new structures towards a more Downtown-centric environment. This new system is still in the development stage and subject to change.

Downtown Zoning Code Anatomy
A zone in the new system will be comprised of a string of components, out of which three are mandatory and one is optional:

  • Context: Context is the organizing mechanism of the Zoning Code, grouping rules together in order to ensure that the right zoning rules apply in the right place. Contexts are distinguished from one another based on physical and functional characteristics such as: street patterns, building placement, intensity of development, access to mobility options, etc.
  • Form: Each form category establishes a scale of development and includes a particular set of appropriate building types based on building code thresholds for various construction types. Only appropriate form categories will be available in each context.
  • Frontage (optional): The optional frontage component sets standards for building facades that face street, ensuring that buildings address each street appropriately.
  • Use: Moving away from the old itemized list, permitted uses will be grouped together to form use packages. Only appropriate use packages will be available in each context and form combination.
  • The new code will accommodate existing overlays and site-specific conditions at the end of the strand.
  • What frontages do you see benefitting the mixed-use context?
  • In terms of the industrial zone located in the southeast area of downtown, what growth trends have you seen regarding adaptive reuse and maintaining the existing use?
  • Is there any component that could be added to the Zoning Anatomy to make it more applicable to the existing and future zones that are and will be found in the downtown area?
  • Will the addition of the “frontage type” component to the zoning anatomy encourage more pedestrian oriented design?
  • Is this a sufficient number of building types to account for flexibility in the downtown area?
  • Do the frontage types take into account all the potential design standards of the Downtown Design Guidelines?
  • Would you consider that changing the facade relationship to the street on the same building type can create a new type toad to the existing list?
  • Does the new zoning anatomy allow for maximum flexibility in terms of built form?
  • Is the new zoning code anatomy adequate to accommodate the fluctuating market?
  • Do you think the new zoning anatomy is too prescriptive? If so explain why? If your answer is no then explain the threshold where it crosses in to a prescriptive zoning code?
"The Los Angeles Department of City Planning is embarking on one of the City’s largest planning initiatives to date: re:code LA, a comprehensive revision of LA’s outdated zoning code. First adopted in 1946, the current Code has grown from a simple, 84-page pamphlet to an unwieldy, 600+ page book that inadequately realizes a 21st Century vision of a better Los Angeles for all residents.” 


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