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Impediments in the Housing Approval Process

May 21, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT

Free – $10.00


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AIA|LA Political Outreach Committee presents…

Impediments in the Approval Process for Timely Delivery of Housing Projects    

PHOTO CREDIT:  Panic Studio LA “Anchor Place in Long Beach, CA” designed by The Architects Collective

On May 21st, please join us for panel discussion about how the approval process could be improved for delivery of housing projects in a reasonable time frame. 

In response to the urgent need for housing in the City of Los Angeles, and taking advantage of the political support and momentum in the housing discussion, AIA Los Angeles has the opportunity to identify ways in which the approval process could be improved for the timely delivery of housing projects.

AIA|LA in support of its members would like to engage city officials in addressing some of the recurring issues we run into during the approval process for housing projects of all types and scales.

This panel discussion will serve as an opportunity to discuss answers to the following questions:

1. What are the most common & prevalent  issues in the approval process that architects repeatedly run into that delay delivery of housing projects?
2. Which of these issues have the greater impact on delays and costs?
3. What are some of the specific rules & regulations from Planning, LADBS, LADOT, BOE and/or County & State laws that render otherwise developable lots unbuildable?
4. Are there any foreseeable programs or policies, such as Measure JJJ’s Transit Oriented Communities incentive program, that can be implemented in the future to provide more housing at a faster rate?

Lauren K. Chang – Associate, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP
Donna Shen Tripp – Vice President, Craig Lawson & Co., LLC

Moderated by:  Jose Herrasti, AIA – Principal, MUTUO & Vice-Chair, AIA|LA Political Outreach Committee

Lauren K. Chang – Associate, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP

Lauren K. Chang is an associate in the Real Estate, Land Use and Environmental practice group in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Lauren’s practice focuses on land use planning and obtaining project approvals for developers, property owners and private clients in California. She advises clients at every step of the process from initial due diligence to crafting successful entitlement strategies to compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and National Environmental Policy Act and through final project approval. Lauren has worked on a variety of complex development projects, including multi-family residential, affordable housing, mixed-use, hospitality and park projects. Prior to joining Sheppard Mullin, Lauren worked for a firm in Los Angeles that represents only public agency clients. There she obtained extensive experience preparing CEQA administrative records, responding to Public Records Act requests and ensuring compliance with the Brown Act. That experience has given her a unique perspective on CEQA compliance and informs her practice on a daily basis.

Donna Shen Tripp – Vice President, Craig Lawson & Co., LLC

Donna Tripp has more than 20 years of experience in community planning and development and land use entitlements. Since joining Craig Lawson & Co., LLC at the end of 2012, Donna has successfully advised and represented a wide range of developers on discretionary entitlement requests for projects ranging from large residential subdivisions to affordable housing projects, and from mixed-use and hotel projects to educational/institutional projects throughout the greater Los Angeles area. These projects typically include complex entitlements and processes, including General Plan Amendments, Zone Changes, Height District Changes, Subdivisions, Conditional Use Permits, Variances, Density Bonus, Transit Oriented Communities, and Specific Plan and CPIO Exceptions. Donna also assists her clients through conducting land use feasibility analyses of potential project sites, project team management, community outreach, and hearing representation.

Prior to joining Craig Lawson & Co., LLC, Donna was the Regional Manager at Schmitz & Associates, Inc., a land use consulting firm headquartered in Malibu, CA with a regional office in Agoura Hills, CA, which specializes in coastal development projects throughout Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange County. During her over 10 years at Schmitz & Associates, she not only managed all operational functions of the company and a team of between 10 and 20 associates, she also prepared development feasibility analyses for hundreds of sites, as well as successfully represented and secured discretionary approvals for dozens of complex, multi-jurisdictional development projects. These projects ranged from high-end residential estate homes in the Santa Monica Mountains to agricultural and equestrian facilities, and from municipal park projects to urban commercial projects.

Donna served for several years as a Special Assistant and Presidential Management Fellow at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in the Office of Community Planning and Development in Washington, DC. She has a Juris Doctor Degree from the University of San Diego School of Law, a Master of Science Degree in Public Policy and Management from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.A. Degree from Georgetown University. She was a former member of the LA Family Housing Board of Directors, is a current member of the LAUSD Dual Language Programs Parent Advisory Committee, is a Georgetown University Alumni Admissions Program member, and is active in the Land Use Committees of the Central City Association and VICA.

Jose Herrasti, AIA – Principal, MUTUO

Jose is one of the principals at M u t u o, established in Los Angeles in 2014. Jose’s professional experience includes work in small studios & large corporate firms both in Mexico & the United States, including the office of Roberto Sheinberg in Mexico City, HOK in Mexico City & San Francisco, and Eric Owen Moss Architects in Los Angeles. Jose moved to Los Angeles in 2001 to work at Eric Owen Moss Architects where he participated in several international cutting-edge projects, competitions & exhibits.

Jose is interested in blurring the lines of our profession’s boundaries to proactively create meaningful impact through architecture. Through M u t u o, he has been searching for opportunities to foster collaborations and expand the traditional roles of the architecture firm into a more dynamic role with bigger influence on creating built environments and solving complex city challenges.

One of Jose’s interests is to use design as catalyst for social impact, believing that small, organic interventions have the potential to alleviate big social challenges.

Jose graduated with a Master in Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University, New York in 1997 and Bachelors of Architecture from Universidad Cristobal Colon, Veracruz, Mexico in 1993.

Jose is a registered architect in Mexico, California and Texas and taught at Cal Poly Pomona from 2015 to 2017.

Douglas Hanson, AIA, ASID – Chair, AIA|LA Political Outreach Committee & President, Hanson LA

Douglas Hanson has nearly two decades of experience working with some of the world’s leading architects and architectural firms. He has gained a broad depth and range of experience designing major projects in Asia, Europe, and North America. Mr. Hanson is equally accomplished in all aspects of project development, from predesign and design work to construction and project management. His experience includes cultural, multidisciplinary collaborations, large-scale residential and mixed-use projects, as well as more modestly scaled commercial and retail projects.

POC Leadership:
Douglas Hanson, AIA, ASIDPresident, Hanson LA (Chair)
Jose Herrasti, AIAPrincipal, M U T U O (Vice-Chair)
D. Rocky Rockefeller, AIASenior Partner, ROCKEFELLER KEMPEL ARCHITECTS (Past-Chair)


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
(213) 639-0764


May 21, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm PDT
Free – $10.00
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TOLO Architecture
1024 Wilde Street
Los Angeles, CA 90021
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