The AIA|LA Advocacy Report: May 5, 2020
Our Physical Distance, Our Social Connection.
As we begin our eighth week adhering to the “safer at home” guidelines, I’ve had an opportunity to gain perspective on our local environment and our shared vulnerabilities. With sincere gratitude, I want to thank our doctors, nurses, medical workers, our first responders, and our essential workers. I also want to thank the architecture community and the AIA|LA membership for the service they provide making Los Angeles a healthy, sustainable, and resilient place. I’m grateful to call Los Angeles home and extremely thankful for the strong sense of community working for AIA Los Angeles has provided me for these past 15+ years.
This sense of gratitude and perspective has a foundation of optimism, which helps to frame certain key initiatives that we can focus on moving forward as we flatten the curve of viral infections and begin the slow, steady process of rebuilding our economy.
The value of placemaking has never been more important.
Will Wright, Hon. AIA|LA
Director of Government & Public Affairs, AIA Los Angeles
Telecommuting Incentives (Council File 20-0498):
As we have all been following the “safer at home” guidelines, our City’s air-quality has improved vastly. Traffic impacts have been reduced substantially. To ensure that we can continue benefiting from these positive outcomes, Councilmember Mitch O’Farrell introduced a motion to explore ways to incentivize more ways to sustain working from home. The motion directs the CLA, CAO and the Economic & Workforce Development Department to develop incentives that they can offer businesses who continue to allow their employees to telecommute a certain percentage of their work schedule after our pandemic emergency order has been lifted.
Architecture and design firms are in a strong position to share best-practices and help guide this incentive package. The motion will next be heard at City Council’s Economic Development Committee, date to be scheduled.
Perhaps these incentives can include a reduction in the gross receipts business tax, or access to funds provided vis-a-vis the statewide carbon market.
If you have ideas for what incentives will make the most sense for your firm, please contact Will Wright for deeper engagement on this issue.
Los Angeles City Planning: Open for business.
Los Angeles City Planning has also issued new procedures for how to navigate the entitlement process. These new procedures include:
Public Counter: All visitors must wear protective face coverings when interacting with all city personnel. There’s a physical drop-off box for submitting project applications, plans, and documents.
Records Management: has been shifted to an appointments-only system.
Project Appeals: residents can file appeals electronically
Housing Element Update: As we begin the process of updating the Housing Element of our General Plan, LACP has created a series of virtual forums to further engage the public on how we can most effectively identify a way to ensure that we have zoned our city to accommodate an additional 400,000 units of housing between now and 2029.
Los Angeles Department of Building & Safety: Continuity of Operations
Development Services: Now more than ever it is vital that we keep our project pipeline healthy and moving forward. Our economic health will depend on our ability to keep shovel-ready projects alive and our entitlement and permitting process well-serviced and streamlined.
Los Angeles Building & Safety has issued new construction-activity guidelines, as well as, updates on how to navigate their permitting and plan-check process. These new guidelines include:
City of Los Angeles 2020-2021 Budget
Mayor Eric Garcetti released a budget proposal, which acknowledges a severe shortage in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our local economy. However, one area of commitment remains to our City’s most vulnerable: $229 million in housing, services, and safety for people experiencing homelessness.
Budget provisions include support for: Mass Shelter Expansion Program, Health & Hygiene Services, Project Roomkey, Emergency Senior Meals Response, Rental Assistance Programs, and the Bridge Home Program.
To read a summary of the 2020-2021 proposed budget, CLICK HERE.
As part of Small Business Week, METRO has organized a series of virtual seminars that will help small firms gain access to more jobs and contracts. The Metro Connect series features “Real Talk” with CEO Phil Washington, as well as, more info on certification and small business programs, best-practices, insight on common mistakes, and a roundtable with prime contractors.
For more information on these opportunities, CLICK HERE.
The Connect SoCal Plan
The Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) has released the final proposal for The Connect SoCal Plan and is expected to vote on it this week.
The long-range plan and its proposed final program environmental impact report sets the course towards a more sustainable and resilient region by connecting land-use to transportation systems and guiding development towards our urban cores, rather than towards our wilderness areas.
The plan also outlines $638 billion in transportation system investments for the six counties in the SCAG region.
AIA California continues to post updates for COVID-19 resources.
Some of those updates include:
The COVID-19 pandemic has reconfirmed the notion that if anyone of us is vulnerable, then we are all vulnerable. That’s why it’s important to support initiatives such as Project Room Key.
In Los Angeles County, Project Room Key is a coordinated effort to secure up to 15,000 hotel and motel rooms as temporary shelter for 65+ seniors, those suffering from chronic illness, and people experiencing homelessness.
This initiative is being led by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA).
To access the RFI, Click Here.
Do you have an innovative idea for how to reduce GHG emissions in our built environment?
The 2030 Climate Challenge will award $10 million in grants to solutions reducing GHG emissions in the United States in the transportation, buildings, and/or industry sectors.
For more details, Click Here.
AIA National continues to advocate for the health of the profession during these challenging times. Updates to their COVID-19 resources include: