January 17, 2019
PHOTO: Photo: Will Wright

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


2019: Advocacy & The Year Ahead

2019 is off to a swift and tumultuous beginning.  In the context of the partial federal government shutdown and the LAUSD Teacher’s strike, our deepest regards go out to everyone who is personally and/or professionally impacted.  During this period of tension and intense negotiation, AIA|LA is sensitive to the demands of the profession to deliver the design services that ensure the establishment of safe, healthy and resilient communities.

In the next three months, with the leadership of the AIA|LA Political Outreach Committee (POC), we will organize a series of roundtables and presentations to take a deeper look at the following initiatives:

  1.  Governor Newsom’s CA Budget Proposal and what means for architects & architecture
  2. SB 50 (Weiner) – Planning and zoning: housing development: equitable communities incentive
  3. The  Purple Line Transit Neighborhood Plan & Inclusive Community Engagement
  4. The Housing Innovation Ordinance (Affordable Housing Fast Track Program)

In early February at Hanson LA, we will have our first POC meeting to further discuss the connection between Governor Newsom’s budget proposal and our advocacy platform “Design For Dignity & Housing For All”.  Details are still pending and will be shared ASAP.

Likewise, if  you’re interested in hosting a roundtable on any of the other items listed above, please contact me at will[@]aialosangeles.org

We will also be focused on the specific follow-up actions that have resulted from the meetings we had with city officials at our recent Legislative Day at City Hall. 

Those actions include:

  1.  The creation of a rapid contracting & small business inclusion program initiative w/ Department of Recreation and Parks.
  2. Programming a series of workshops w/ Bureau of Engineering to highlight best-practices in responding to RFQ/ RFP opportunities
  3. Programming a series of roundtables with civic leaders to discuss the direct correlation between density, design, climate change & preparing the region for the 2028 Olympics & Paralympics.
  4. Scheduling a series of quarterly meetings with LADBS to discuss building code interpretation challenges
  5. Placing more Architects on HPOZ, Design Review Boards & Neighborhood Councils
  6. Advocating for a healthier urban tree canopy

And much more….

Design For Dignity & Housing For All

AIA|LA encourages architects and designers to participate as volunteers for the annual LA County Homeless Count, which will be on Thursday, January 24. An accurate count helps foster a better understanding of the impact of homelessness in our region and helps direct resources to areas most in need. For more information and to sign-up as a volunteer, CLICK HERE.

Transit-Oriented Communities, the CRA/LA & The Transfer of Land-Use Authority

Are you currently working on a housing or mixed-use development project and is that project proposal taking advantage of some of the RFA, FAR and density-bonuses offered by the recently adopted Transit Oriented Communities guidelines?

If so, read on.  This may help shed some light on all the layers of complexity.

On January 9, 2019 the Executive Office of the Los Angeles Department of Planning (DCP) issued an advisory memo on the applicability of certain TOC incentives in CRA/LA redevelopment plan areas.  In short, the memo is advising project applicants to consult with their assigned project planners because the TOC incentives, as recognized under Measure JJJ, may not be able to receive clearance by CRA/LA staff at this time.  Redevelopment project areas of LA that may be especially effected include the following:   City Center, Central Industrial, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Wilshire Center/ Koreatown, and Pacific Corridor.  Which are six of the twenty unexpired redevelopment project areas where the CRA/LA still has land-use authority.

Citywide, the 20 unexpired Redevelopment Project Areas include: East Hollywood/Beverly-Normandie; North Hollywood; Chinatown; Broadway/Manchester; Wilshire/Koreatown; Crenshaw; Crenshaw/Slauson; Watts Corridor; Council District 9; Hollywood; Mid-City; Western Slauson; Vermont/Manchester; Laurel Canyon; Westlake; Exposition/University Park; Adelante Eastside; Pacific Corridor; City Center; and Central Industrial.

On June 27, 2018 CRA/LA issued a memo to remind us that they do indeed still have land-use authority.  In the meantime,  on December 20, 2018 the City Planning Commission vote 6 to 0 to adopt a DCP staff report and approve and recommend the Resolution transferring land-use authority from the CRA/LA to the City of Los Angeles, as well as, approve and recommend the Ordinance to implement the Redevelopment Plans.   

DCP staff is working with potentially impacted applicants that are currently in the entitlement pipeline. If you think your project may be impacted because it falls under one of the areas above, then your advised to contact your project planner or the City of LA development services center.  Please connect with me, as well at will@aialosangeles.org — I’d like to begin tracking these projects to identify ways to be more supportive of the process.

This matter will next be heard by City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management committee, hopefully within the next month or so.  Once the hearing has been confirmed, I will be engaging the AIA|LA membership to share support for the land-use authority transfer.  In the meantime, I will be working with my contacts at City Hall to determine what density bonus provisions will be finalized once City of LA assumes land-use authority.

Essentially, the complexity is triggered when a locally-adopted ordinance intersects with state authorized density bonus, etc. and too often this intersection is riddled with complexity, conflict and unintended consequences.

What we need to do most, as a City, is dedicate more funding to long-term, meaningful and inclusive community planning.  Let’s invest in our future by spending real money on these plans, which will more adequately prepare us for the challenges were facing regarding housing, public health and climate change.  The return on investment is vast and it allows us to solve tomorrow’s problems today.


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