Stakeholders Spoke, We Listened

on December 10, 2013

Soon after re:code LA’s official launch, the project team hosted a series of Listening Sessions throughout the City.  Over five evenings in early to mid-July, staff and consultants met with the public to introduce the project, answer questions, and gather initial feedback on what has and has not been working in the current Zoning Code.

Each event began with a brief PowerPoint presentation summarizing the history of the current 1946 Zoning Code and explaining why it needs to be updated.  Residents and other stakeholders were then invited to share their thoughts and experiences with the team during highly productive ‘open-mic’ discussions.  Staff and consultants responded to participant questions and concerns.

Valley Listening Session

The first Listening Session, geared toward San Fernando Valley residents, took place at 6 PM on Tuesday July 9th at the Van Nuys City Hall Council Chambers.  Fifty-five community members were present, and expressed a wide variety of concerns with the current Zoning Code ranging from the preservation of existing equine-keeping districts to the incompatibility of higher-density uses with adjacent single-family neighborhoods.

Metro Listening Session

The Metropolitan Area Listening Session took place at 6 PM the following evening at the Deaton Auditorium in Downtown LA.  It was the best-attended of the sessions, attracting 149 participants. Residents expressed desires to incentivize sustainable projects, to move beyond auto-oriented development, and to more fully encourage the adaptive reuse of existing buildings.

Harbor Listening Session

The staff and consultant teams introduce re:code at the Harbor Listening Session

On Thursday July 11th, the project team conducted a Listening Session for the Harbor area at San Pedro’s Peck Park Auditorium.  Twenty-five community members participated in the event, wondering how the new Code could be made small business-friendly, how growth can adequately be managed in an already densely-settled area, and how existing industrial lands can be preserved for future use.

Westside Listening Session

Westside Participants gather for the presentation

After a short break to recharge and compile notes from the previous meetings, the project team conducted the Westside Listening Session at 10 AM on Saturday July 13th, which was hosted by  PlanCheckNC.  One hundred twenty-five participants gathered at the Henry Medina Traffic Center, voicing interest in preserving those zoning policies that have proved effective, in cautiously evaluating future development in traffic-congested areas, and in moving away from a one-size-fits-all approach to zoning.

South LA Listening Session

The final meeting, geared toward South LA residents and stakeholders, was held at 6:30 PM on Thursday July 18th.  With the generous approval of the South Los Angeles Alliance of Neighborhood Councils, the Listening Session was held concurrently with their regularly-scheduled meeting.  The twenty-five participants expressed fears of eminent domain in and around new transit stations, as well as disappointment with the historic lack of symmetry between development and adopted community plans.  The participants also voiced the importance of including all stakeholders in the re:code LA process.

Virtual Listening Session

Knowing that not everyone was able to attend one of the previous Listening Sessions, the team hosted a Virtual Listening Session at 6 PM on Wednesday November 6th.  After introducing the project, lead consultant, Lee Einsweiler, and Senior Planner, Tom Rothmann responded to stakeholder comments via webcam. Participants were interested in learning more about  the scope of the project, and in finding out how re:code LA will create dynamic zones that can adapt to changing demographic and market forces.


Overall Feedback

Each of the sessions introduced unique perspectives and identified both positive and negative aspects of the existing Zoning Code.  With the valued contributions of residents and stakeholders, the re:code LA team will have much to consider as the project moves forward.

For a more detailed breakdown of the feedback we received, please review our notes for each of the Listening Sessions.

For more ways to get involved with re:code and to receive alerts for the upcoming Regional Public Forums in March, please sign up for our newsletter in the box to your left.

By Andrew Douglass

PDF icon Listening_Session_Notes.pdf475.5 KB