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

AIA Los Angeles

Los Angeles Building and Safety

As part of our efforts with the AIA LA GO! Committee, working directly with officials at LADBS, we are trying to find common issues or snags when working with LADBS.  We have created a short survey to collect information and stories in hopes to find a pattern and make some progress.  Please fill out the 10 question survey below.

Please note that all responses are anonymous.

Los Angeles River Master Plan

The County of Los Angeles Department of Public Works has recently released a draft of the LA River Master Plan and it’s now available for public comment until May 13, 2021.

Architects and designers are encouraged to review the plan and share comments directly with the County. We’re also hosting a virtual forum on May 5th (10am) to hear details and share recommendations.

Join us here.

Bureau of Engineering // Streamlining Multi-Family Housing

Councilmembers Kevin De Leon, Bob Blumenfeld, and Curren D. Price, Jr. recently issued a motion directing BOE, LADBS, HCID, and LACP work together and develop a limited set of standard plans for modular multi-family homeless and affordable housing, bungalow courts, and Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

BOE is taking the lead to develop those standard plans and recently issued a task order of solicitation to their on-call list of architecture firms to develop those standard plans.

On Thursday, May 6 (8am) we are hosting a virtual forum to learn more about this opportunity from the Chief Deputy City Engineer Deborah Weintraub, AIA and Principal Architect Steven Fierce, AIA.

Now, are standard plans the best approach? If so, how to we ensure that this is an equitable, inclusive, and innovative process?  Or, are there better ways to streamline the permitting process for multi-family housing?

Join us on May 6th and let’s discuss.



Housing Element Update

The City of Los Angeles is presently in the process of updating the Housing Element of its General Plan, which will establish the City’s housing policy for the next ten years. To accommodate the number of housing units identified by the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA), this new housing element must identify the zoning capacity for the City to add 456,643 new units of housing, of which 184,721 will need to be designated for lower-income residents.

Angie Brooks, FAIA, Principal at Brooks + Scarpa Architects and a current member of the West Hollywood RHNA Advisory Group recently shared a letter with Los Angeles County Supervisors, LA Council Members, and Mayor Eric Garcetti. The letter has five smart, insightful, and effective strategies for how we all collectively need to address our housing affordability crisis and ensure more humane and livable outcomes for all, especially our houseless neighbors.

That is, the Housing Element Update is instrumental to making sure that we’re establishing a healthy path forward by updating our zoning capacity and ensuring that we’re able to create enough homes to achieve more equitable outcomes for our communities.

In addition to those five recommendations, I’ve also heard the following ideas for how we can address our housing crisis.

Let’s work together:

· To advocate for housing as a human right, repeal Article 34, and support SCA-2 to facilitate the financing and construction of more public housing projects.
· To support AB 115 (Bloom), which will allow as by-right projects with at least 20% affordable units to be built in all commercially zoned areas.
· To support AB 1401 (Friedman), which will remove parking minimums for projects near high-quality transit.
· To synchronize the multiple design guidelines specifications mandated by numerous levels of affordable housing funding sources so that architects follow one comprehensive set.
· To reform the site-plan review and the entitlement process with greater flexibility so that it correlates with the timeline for acquiring affordable housing project financing.
· To allow 100% multi-family housing in every commercial zone. We have an over-abundance of ground floor retail.
· To allow a minimum 3:1 FAR and 45 feet for every parcel zoned for multi-family projects wherever and whenever they’re permitted via a community plan.
· In zones where multi-family is permitted, to exempt multi-family housing from CEQA review, as well as from ‘discretionary’ review. To set planning and design standards in the community planning process and move compliance review to Building & Safety Departments.
· To let the market determine multi-family amenities such as parking, private open space, unit size and product diversity rather than through the regulatory processes.
· To end ‘exactions’ which will lower housing costs by separating political decisions about housing projects from decisions about land-use, open space, parks and transportation policy.
· To end project “mitigation” of transportation impacts, and instead, establish and fund transportation policy in a separate, regional process.
· To establish a statewide inclusionary housing policy, which will level the playing field and provide greater certainty for the funding and underwriting markets.
· To update Costa-Hawkins to establish a state-wide reasonable, rolling time-period for when older apartments may become rent-controlled while keeping vacancy de-control.
· To promote density-bonus incentives in order to encourage the development of workforce housing (80% to 120% AMI).

AIA National

The Blueprint for Better campaign

We can’t reverse the effects of climate change unless we change how we design and build, now. Show your commitment to this effort by joining AIA’s Blueprint for Better campaign. Together, we can transform the practice of architecture to achieve a zero-carbon, resilient, healthy, just, and equitable world.

Learn More Here.

Call to Action

Congress recognizes that architects are vital to crafting public policy solutions that impact their constituents. Use this Action Center to directly message your Member of Congress. The more architects who weigh in, the more effective our collective influence will be to positively impact these and other important issues facing the profession, our businesses, and the communities we serve.

Resilience – Support architects’ aiding in disaster recovery and community resilience.
Sustainability – Support sustainability in the built environment.
Affordable Housing – Take action to address America’s affordable housing crisis.
Student Loan Debt – Help architectural graduates to alleviate student loan debt.
Architecture Firms – Support creating new projects for architecture firms.
School Safety – Take a stand against school violence through the power of design.

CLICK HERE to send letters to Congress.

AIA California Climate Action via Code Change

AIA California recently shared details about pending bills introduced in the Legislature this year that is related to disaster assistance and prevention. Below you will find that legislation, each hyperlinked for more information, and the status of each legislation.

AB 9 — Fire safety: wildfires: fire adapted communities
Has not been heard and has no hearing scheduled as of April 27

AB 11 — Climate change: regional climate change authorities
Has not been heard and has no hearing scheduled as of April 27

AB 51 — Climate change: adaptation: regional climate adaptation planning groups: regional climate adaptation plans
Has not been heard and has no hearing scheduled as of April 27

AB 67 — Sea level rise: working group: economic analysis
Passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee with a 11-0 vote
Awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee

AB 284 — California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006: climate goal: natural and working lands
Passed the Assembly Natural Resources Committee with a 8-1 vote
Awaiting a hearing in the Assembly Appropriations Committee

SB 1 — Coastal resources: sea level rise
Passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee with a 7-2 vote
Passed the Senate Environmental Quality Committee with a 5-1 vote
Heard in the Senate Appropriations Committee and placed on Suspense File (will be voted on in May)

SB 12 — Local government: planning and zoning: wildfires
Passed the Senate Governance & Finance Committee with a 5-0 vote
Set for hearing in the Senate Housing Committee on April 29

SB 45 — Wildfire Prevention, Safe Drinking Water, Drought Preparation, and Flood Protection Bond Act of 2022
Passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee with a 7-2 vote.
Passed the Senate Governance and Finance Committee with a 5-0 vote.
Set for hearing in the Senate Appropriations Committee on May 3.

SB 55 — Very high fire hazard severity zone: state responsibility area: development prohibition
Information hearing held in Senate Governance & Finance Committee. No vote taken. Future hearing not yet scheduled.

SB 63 — Fire prevention: vegetation management
Passed the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee with a 8-0 vote.
Set for hearing in the Senate Housing Committee on April 29.

SB 72 – Property Insurance: Wildfire Risk Information
Passed the Senate Insurance Committee with a 12-0 vote.
Set for hearing in Senate Appropriations Committee on May 3.