Friday, June 25, 2010

FROM CITY PLANNER: Baseline Hillside Ordinance & Baseline Mansionization Ordinance Sunset Update

Greetings All:

You haven't heard from us in a while, so we wanted to make sure you are all brought up to up to speed. We have also included answers to our most frequently asked questions.

City Planning Commission Action
The City Planning Commission Determination Letter on it's May 27, 2010 recommendation for the Baseline Hillside Ordinance (CPC-2010-581-CA) was sent to the City Clerk's Office on June 8, 2010 for their processing and was assigned Council File Number of 10-1001. They have created the equivalent of an electronic case file. If you go to the following link, you can subscribe to receive direct email from the City Clerk whenever the "file" is updated (look for the envelope at the top of the webpage):

You can download the Planning Department documents listed below by following the links:
April 22, 2010 City Planning Commission Staff Report:

May 27, 2010 City Planning Commission Staff Report:

City Planning Commission Determination Letter:

What's Next?
We are still waiting to find out when the Baseline Hillside Ordinance will be heard by the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee. PLUM is a Subcommittee of the City Council that reviews all planning related matters. The Department of City Planning does not have any control over the timing/scheduling of PLUM agendas. From what we have heard, they are likely to hear this proposal sometime in mid- to late-July. When we are given a specific date, we will send an email to the interest list.

There are still at least 4 steps left to go before the Ordinance is officially adopted, which have been summarized below:

+ A PLUM Committee recommendation to the full City Council;

+ The preparation of the official Baseline Hillside Ordinance (a legal description of the changes to the Code that would incorporate the proposed hillside provisions) by the City Attorney's Office, among other City Charter mandated steps taken by their Office;

+ The adoption of the proposed Ordinance by the City Council; and

+ The signature of the Mayor.

Once these steps have been taken, the City Clerk's Office will post the adopted Ordinance for a period of 10 days and a 30-day effective date will begin after that.

It is important to note that the City Council goes into a recess period in August and is not likely to act on this Ordinance in that month. It is not likely that the Council will act on this item in the month of July, since the City Attorney's Office needs time to prepare the documents mandated by the City Charter. This means that we are possibly looking at sometime in September as the earliest date for an official City Council action.

Projects in Early Design Stages or Submitted for Discretionary Actions
For those of individuals working on projects which are currently in the early design stages or is waiting for a discretionary action of some sort, please use the information above to gauge whether you will be able to submit for plan check prior to the effective date of the proposed Baseline Hillside Ordinance. Just to clarify for all, any property zoned R1, RS, RE, or RA which is designated as Hillside Area pursuant to Section 12.03 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code (LAMC) will eventually be subject to the Baseline Hillside Ordinance if it is adopted by the City Council; please refer to ZIMAS ( under the "Planning and Zoning" tab to find your "Hillside Area (Zoning Code)" designation.

Pursuant to Section 12.26 A.3 of the LAMC, any project which is accepted by the Department of Building and Safety for plan check with a complete set of plans and for which the fees have been paid prior to the effective date of an Ordinance will be considered to be a Vested Development Plan; meaning that the applicable regulations in place prior to this change will continue to apply. However, there are some limitations to this provision that you should be aware of, but the more relevant ones are that you have 18 months after the fee is paid, and that you cannot make changes to those plans which increase or decrease the height, floor area, or occupant load of the proposed structure by more than 5%. Feel free to reference our online Municipal Code for more details (; go to Chapter 1, Article 2, Section 12.26, Subsection A, Subdivision 3.

The only way to "vest" a typical single-family development project under the current Code is through the Vested Development Plan provision summarized above. Applications for, or approval of discretionary actions (i.e. Zoning Administration Determinations, Adjustments, Variances, etc.) prior to the effective date does not confer vesting rights to a project. If you are not able to submit for plan check to the Department of Building & Safety prior to the effective date of the Baseline Hillside Ordinance, it is recommended that you consider the proposed hillside provision when making design choices or determining a course of action.

Baseline Mansionization Ordinance Sunset Extension
The June 29, 2010 sunset date for the Baseline Mansionization Ordinance (the "flats" Ordinance - does not apply to Hillside Area or Coastal Zone) was extended for a period of 90 days by the City Council on June 22, 2010. The new sunset date is September 27, 2010, which should give us enough time to get to the City Council if the August Recess scenario plays out; the Resolution left open the possibility of further extensions should they need more time.

The following link will take you directly to the City Council Resolution:

Feel free to forward this information to anyone you feel might be interested.

If you received this email via forwarded message from someone other than myself, and you want to obtain updates directly from the Department, please email and ask to be added to the interest list. Please type "Add Me To Hillside Notification List" in the subject line and provide your group/organization/company affiliations and contact information (please include at least your ZIP Code).

Facebook™ Users: Look for the Baseline Hillside Ordinance page; add the page and receive updates in your news feed. You can also view our events calendar and participate in discussion boards.

As always, if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact myself or Jennifer Driver at or at (818) 374-5034.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Erick Lopez
City Planner
Department of City Planning
Community Planning Bureau - West Coastal Division
200 N. Spring St., Room 621
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(213) 978-1243
(213) 978-1226 - fax