JULY 5, 2018
PHOTO: Photo: Will Wright

From the desk of Will Wright, Honorary AIA|LA
Director of Government & Public Affairs


Expo Corridor Transit Neighborhood Plan

For those of you that have been following the multi-year progress of the EXPO TNC, which is City of LA’s effort to rezone land immediately adjacent to the Expo Line in West LA, you will be pleased to hear that LA City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee passed the Planning Department’s recommendations with amendments.  The plan will now be heard by the full City Council.

The Expo TNC is an important planning document that will allow for greater zoning capacity near the transit stations along the Expo Line, and will include important affordability provisions as well as, protective measures to enhance existing communities.  Matched in alignment with incentives offered by the City’s TOC provisions, which require a certain percentage of affordable units to be mixed into new

projects, the Expo TNC as a general plan amendment and zoning change will provide the planning guidance to ensure that we are adding more housing opportunities in an area of LA where jobs are abundant.

Although I have faith in the professional credibility of our Department of City Planning and trust that the 5+ years of community outreach will deliver a progressive plan to ensure greater zoning capacity for this area of West LA, I will be following this initiative quite closes as it makes its way through City Council.  It’s important that as we invest in transit, and as we invest in systems that will expand access and mobility for all Angelenos, that we also invest in smart planning for the inevitable changes to those neighborhoods that are impacted.

For an in depth analysis of this multi-year planning process, please explore Council File: 18-0437


Sustainability Tools

Last week, LA’s Chief Data Officer in the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Innovation launched two new open data tools, which will provide access to greater sustainability strategies for architects, designers, builders and contractors.  Included in the City’s Open Date Portal, these two new tools will help the City of Los Angeles implement its Sustainability Plan.

The Stormwater Dashboard provides metrics on spreading grounds, rain barrels & cisterns, green stormwater infrastructure and incidental capture.

The EBEWE Navigator will assist you in preparing for the 2020 Existing Buildings Energy and Water Efficiency ordinance, which will require certain buildings to achieve efficiency targets and perform audits and retro-commission on a five-year cycle.


AIA California Council June 2018 Advocacy Update

By Mark Christian and Melissa Barton


Live/Work Units
The AIACC Government Relations team provided an assist to Ric. Abramson, FAIA yesterday while he was in Sacramento testifying in support of AB 565.  This bill will require the building standards codes to have updated and more clarification of the definitions of live/work units.  The purpose of AB 565 is to create more certainty for those who design and develop these units.  Abramson realized the need for this clarification when he designed and developed his own live/work space, and approached his State Assemblyman, Richard Bloom (D – Santa Monica) with a proposed solution.  Bloom recently amended Abramson’s solution into AB 565, which was approved yesterday by the Senate Transportation and Housing Committee with a 12-0 vote.

You can read AB 565 here.

You can read the legislative analysis of AB 565 here (read the Senate Transportation and Housing analysis).

School Bonds
Even though the voters have approved several billion in school facility bonds, and there is a large backlog of projects awaiting funding, Governor Brown has proposed an insufficient sale of school facility bonds. The AIACC has joined the Coalition for Adequate School Housing (CASH), and several business organizations in calling for the release of enough bonds to meet the current needs. Both houses of the Legislature are considering requiring more bonds to be sold than the Governor has proposed, but the coalition is asking for more. CASH has created a site where you can ask your legislators to require to issuance of more bonds. Please go there and let your voice be heard.

Seismic Safety Building Codes
AB 1857 (Nazarian) is making its way through the legislative process. The bill requires the California Building Standards Commission to establish a working group to determine whether California’s building codes should reflect a functional recovery standard which would allow for the reoccupation of buildings after a seismic event. The coalition that has worked to amend the bill to its current form, and that will provide advice to the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Building Standards Commission for their consideration and possible action, includes the AIACC and groups that represent the building industry, property managers and building owners, and realtors.
You can read AB 1857 here, and the legislative analyses here.

Repeal of Gas Sales Tax
The November ballot will include an initiative to repeal the recently enacted gas tax increase.  The repeal of this tax would affect infrastructure, some of which would involve architects. Polls show that the gas tax repeal initiative may pass, which would impact the Governor’s plan to improve the state’s infrastructure.

Sales Tax on Services
In our May Advocacy Update we reported that the bill to impose a sales tax on services, including architectural services, would have another hearing in June.  The hearing date has been changed to August 8.  This will be an informational hearing only; no vote will be taken.  Even though there will be no vote on whether to impose that sales tax this year, we know this effort is a serious one and likely will return next year with a new legislation.

Limited Liability Partnerships
The good news continues. Our effort with American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), California to extend the sunset date on the law that allows architectural, engineering, and land surveying firms to organize as Limited Liability Partnerships.  SB 920 passed the Assembly Business and Professions Committee last week on a 17-0 vote. SB 920 only has a few more votes before it is sent to the Governor for his consideration.  We expect the Legislature to send it to Governor Brown in August.

Citizen Architect
The Citizen Architect program is underway. A working group has been assembled to identify the tools needed for architects who are in public service to identify one another. This program will serve as a resource to assist them in carrying out their public duties. Citizen Architect recommendations can be sent to Melissa Barton.

Capitol Annex Remodel
Governor Brown has plans to renovate an antiquated portion of the State Capitol Building. Assembly Rules Committee Chair, Ken Cooley, is spearheading the process and argues that the 66-year-old Annex is not cohesive with the historic building and restricts access to the disabled, and poses other safety hazards. The AIACC discussed this project with Assemblyman Cooley in May, at his request.

An architectural firm was hired to create a planning study for the possible renovations. The report, prepared by CHSQA, states “The new Capitol Annex should strive to be an icon of sustainable design and amongst the most energy efficient Capitol buildings in the nation.” The report encourages lawmakers to consider building a larger structure that would improve safety, expand the workspaces, and offer visitors an educational experience about California government. The report can be viewed here: The website for the Capitol Annex Project is available here.

Governor’s Budget
Governor Brown will sign the State Budget June 27. This will be his final budget. The May Budget Revision included funds for infrastructure. We will not know if the line items in the Budget Proposal will survive the Governor’s blue pen until after June 27. An update will soon be posted.


Adoption of Emergency Housing Regulations

The California Building Standards Commission approved emergency housing building standards that were adopted by Housing and Community Development (HCD). The emergency building standards became effective April 2018 and were created to expedite the development of homeless shelters that provide minimum health and safety standards. The emergency standards allow local jurisdictions to expedite the approval emergency housing ordinances. They will be effective until October 15, 2018 and must be

readopted to remain in effect after that date. HCD anticipates at least one more 90-day re-adoption. HCD will be revisiting these regulations as part of the 2018 Triennial Building Standards Code Adoption Cycle for incorporation into the 2019 California Building Code and California Regulatory Code.

More information is available here: http://www.hcd.ca.gov/docs/IB2018-01.pdf

For more details, contact Melissa Barton, Government Relations Program Coordinator, 916-642-1711/mbarton@aiacc.org


Housing and Homelessness Funding (2018-2019 State Budget)

The California Legislature passed SB 840 last week and it’s currently awaiting the Governor’s signature.  As the 2018-2019 State Budget, SB 840 is a massive $199 Billion expenditure plan for the State of California.  Smartly, it includes a ‘rainy day’ fund of $13.8 Billion in anticipation for inevitable economic downturns. Also in this year’s budget is a one-time allocation of $500 million in

Homeless Emergency Aid Block Grants, which will be distributed statewide via the Continuum of Care network.  And $150 million of that amount has been especially reserved for cities of 330,000 or more, i.e., the State’s largest cities have 50% of the homeless population.

An additional $50 million was dedicated to the Department of Health Care Services to fund outreach, treatment and supportive services for homeless people in need of mental health services, as well.


New Resolutions Recommit AIA To Equity and Diversity

Delegates at the 2018 AIA Annual Meeting voted to make the Institute more supportive of difference, more steadfast in inclusiveness, and more explicit in justice.

AIA’s 161st annual meeting agenda prioritized several key resolutions centered on equity, the vital roles that ethnically diverse women and emerging professionals play in transforming the profession, and calling for amendments to the Institute’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct to more explicitly address sexual harassment. Resolutions adopted at the annual meeting will not become effective unless ratified by the Board of Directors later this year. To the degree resolutions call for amendments to the Institute Bylaws, the actions they seek would not become effective unless delegates at a future annual meeting adopt the appropriate Bylaws amendments.

To read the new resolutions in full, please CLICK HERE.

  • Resolution 18-1: Recognition of the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Whitney M. Young Jr.’s Speech at the 1968 AIA Convention
  • Resolution 18-2: Titling of Allied Members
  • Resolution 18-3: Diversity Pipeline and National Representation
  • Resolution 18-4: Clarifying and Reconciling AIA Policy Statements on Codes and Sustainability / Resilience
  • Resolution 18-5: Blueprint for Better Communities: Implementation of the New Urban Agenda in the Architectural Profession
  • Resolution 18-6: Supporting Emerging Professionals, sponsored by AIA California Council
  • Resolution 18-7: Repositioning, Member Value, and a Study of AIA Regions
  • Resolution 18-16: Amendment to the Code of Ethics Professional Conduct to require the equitable treatment of design professionals and staff of diverse backgrounds and identities, and to prohibit abuse and harassment within our professional community


The AIA National ArchiPAC Investor Monthly Report

Architects promote safe school design
In the wake of tragic school shootings across the country, AIA has been working overtime on the school safety/design issue, lobbying both the White House, Departments of Education and Homeland Security as well as Capitol Hill regarding the positive impact architects can have on this issue. With the insights of select architects who are experts in how design can be used to mitigate mass shootings, AIA is quickly solidifying architects as experts that must be at the table when lawmakers craft legislation to address this issue.

AIA secures amendment in Disaster Recovery Reform Act 
In May, AIA hosted a reception for lawmakers and their staff to promote its’ support of the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA)  and to educate them about how architects are skilled

in designing communities to be resilient to climate change and recover quickly from disasters.

AIA’s efforts lead to favorable QBS Amendment 
The Institute lobbied members of the US House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee to add an amendment to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reauthorization bill that clarifies existing rules to ensure that a uniform QBS process is followed for airport procurement projects that utilize Airport Improvement Program (AIP) funds. AIA’s federal team’s efforts were a success and the amendment was added before the bill passed the House in April.

The ArchiPAC Investor Monthly Report is a brief snapshot on how ArchiPAC donations are being used and how your investment is making a difference. If you wish to learn more, please email wendyperezyoung@aia.org.


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
email:  will@aialosangeles.org