Adopted Positions

Motions passed by a 2/3 majority of WRAC Councils

On May 15, 2019, WRAC member councils voted to take a position in opposition to SB50, reflecting a super-majority of 14 member councils having voted to oppose the state bill mandating development in transit hub zones, reducing local control and city planning in the growth and development of our neighborhoods. See the letter below.

SB 50 2019 letter

SB 50 – opposition to Senate Bill

Formally adopted by WRAC in January 1970
Passed by
  • Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council (modified version)
  • Brentwood Community Council (modified version)
  • Del Rey Neighborhood Council (modified version)
  • Mar Vista Community Council (modified version)
  • Pacific Palisades Community Council
  • Venice Neighborhood Council
  • West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council
  • Westside Neighborhood Council
  • Westwood Community Council

Motion

PROPOSED WRAC LUPC MOTION OPPOSING SB 50 DRAFT 4 [WIENER]

Whereas California neighborhoods depend upon high quality, citizen driven, local community planning for justice and equity and balanced development, and

Whereas State Senate Bill 50 [Scott Wiener] weaponizes state government code to eviscerate local planning statewide and thereby increases financialization of land use; intensifies inequality; encourages predatory speculative activity; and masks massive wealth transfer by shifting property ownership opportunities away from small owners to corporate investors, and

Whereas the City Charter-mandated Neighborhood Council system of Los Angeles, and the Community Councils of the City of Los Angeles, represent grass roots democracy, and

Whereas California State Senate Bill 50 [Scott Wiener] establishes “one size fits all” development criteria–based on changeable municipal structures such as bus stops and employment locations–to be determined, without democratic due process or public scrutiny, by the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Planning and Research, and

Whereas the lack of analysis of infrastructure and other costs associated with this pen stroke planning creates grave uncertainty that any local agency would be able to “levy enough service charges, fees or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code”, and given the aforementioned lack of fiscal analysis, Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution “No reimbursement” clause is wrongfully applied to this legislation,

Whereas reform is needed for the present state legislative system which allows sweeping, ideological blunt instrument legislation such as SB 50 to be introduced without extensive vetting in local public hearings prior to consideration in the State Legislature, and

Whereas this wholesale removal of all land use authority to the State clearly abolishes all meaningful local input into land use planning and therefore constitutes an attack upon local democracy, upon neighborhoods, and upon the Neighborhood Councils and Community Councils in the City of Los Angeles,

Therefore,  ____________ Neighborhood/Community Council opposes SB 50 and urges our City Councilmembers to

introduce a resolution in Council forthwith, opposing SB50.

 

TALKING POINTS: SB 50 CHAPTER 4.35. Equitable Communities Incentives 65918.50:

Essentially the same fatal flaws as 827 with huge impacts upon local planning.

Reason to oppose now rather than wait until April: Important to register strong objections immediately in January/February as the bill’s author has control of the State Senate Housing Committee which has been split off from Transportation.

Weaponizing of state code: FAR, or floor area ratio, is a city’s basic tool to control height and bulk of buildings. Use is a city’s basic tool to determine what goes in those buildings. Moving FAR and use to Sacramento guts local planning processes.

The density bonuses in this bill become the required base level, and stacking of bonuses is allowed

The bill forces cities to permit over the counter larger multi-family residential structures in “transit-rich” zones, regardless of limitations imposed by local community plans, specific plans, zoning restrictions or jurisdiction boundaries; it also forces cities to allow such structures near “jobs-rich projects,” to be determined not on the local level but by State agencies in Sacramento. NCs and CCs would not get an opportunity to review or comment. This state control could be expanded without warning.

The potential for increased financialization of land use, and for predatory speculative activity, should be fairly obvious considering ongoing FBI investigations into LA’s CC PLUM process as well as the rise of short-term rentals.

Porting land use decision making to Sacramento, where there is arguably less public scrutiny than local municipalities, is not a particularly good idea for open, transparent, responsive government.

California should be looking to increase ownership opportunities for communities of concern.

SB 50 seeks to impose community plan time limits raising this potential scenario: All Los Angeles’ Community Plan updates might not be finished–and legally approved–in time. Moving thousands of projects to by-right status means no community benefits exchanged for these concessions as benefits are typically written into LA’s plans. A community plan with community benefits imposed after the fact could well be tossed out in court. State law trumps local.

Bottom line: with the housing packages previously approved by the state legislature, there is no need for this bill.

NOTE: Gov. Newsom seeks to withhold gas tax revenues from cities which do not meet their RHNA goals. There exists some agreement that RHNA needs to be equitably applied, and that therefore RHNA is the more appropriate vehicle for legislative adjustments increasing housing production in California.

 

References to current provisions in the draft bill are in red:

  • Ignores infrastructure by setting statewide, inflexible “minimum performance standards for community plans, such as minimum overall residential development capacity” without any CEQA analysis: 55 (b)(3)

 

  • Allows an “equitable communities incentive” automatic base of 5 concessions, including waivers from maximum density controls, for the new “Jobs-rich housing project” definition: 53 (a)(1) and 6 concessions for Major Transit Stops 65918.53 (2) and (3)

 

 

  • Enables “bonus stacking” through connecting the existing concessions in state density bonus law [SB 1818, now Section 65915] which presently enables reductions relative to “…site development standards; modification of zoning code requirements; architectural design requirements that exceed the minimum building standards approved by the California Building Standards Commission…including, but not limited to, a reduction in setback and square footage requirements”, again without CEQA analysis 53 (a)(4)

 

  • Establishes a rigid statewide zoning code for FAR…and use: 53 (a) and (b)

 

 

  • Overrides ReCode’s tools for bulk and mass: 53

 

  • Essentially eliminates grass roots participation in the majority of local land use planning decisions by superimposing a new ‘as of right’ project definition, “Job-rich housing project”, which is based on fluctuating municipal conditions. Companies open and close and move, but high-density land use entitlements based on snapshots in time may be granted in perpetuity through this proposed law: 50 (f)

 

  • Raises significant due process issues as Department of Housing and Community Development and the Office of Planning and Research become the de facto state zoning board and board of appeals: 50(f) and (j)

 

 

  • The tenant occupancy time limits offer a false sense of security as the bill’s more onerous provisions are merely postponed. Community rights to plan responsibly are overridden after the delay. Meanwhile, an incentive to speculative land banking exists as big capital investors can afford to offer cash for properties in the target areas, accumulate multiple single owner properties, evict tenants, and wait until after the 7-year delay to build. This process destroys the fabric of stable communities, siphons off affordable housing, and creates blight 52(d)

 

  • No pro forma requirement whatsoever

 

 

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Tree removal notification

Formally adopted by WRAC in October 2018 | Download the WRAC position letter
Passed by
  • Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
  • Brentwood Community Council
  • Del Rey Neighborhood Council
  • Mar Vista Community Council
  • Pacific Palisades Community Council
  • Palms Neighborhood Council
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council
  • Venice Neighborhood Council
  • Westwood Community Council
  • Westwood Neighborhood Council

Motion

Increase the notification to NCs and CCs from Urban Forestry Dept. beyond the current three-day notice policy for removals of 1-2 trees.

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Support for Protected Tree ordinance

Formally adopted by WRAC in September 2018 | Download the WRAC position letter
Passed by
  • Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
  • Brentwood Community Council
  • Pacific Palisades Community Council
  • Palms Neighborhood Council
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council
  • Venice Neighborhood Council
  • West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council
  • Westside Neighborhood Council
  • Westwood Community Council

Motion

Refers to City Council file 03-1459-S3

The ______________ Council supports the initiative of Councilmembers Paul Koretz (CD5) and Mike Bonin (CD11) in their November 22, 2017 Motion to City Council to strengthen the City’s Protected Tree Ordinance #177404.

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Reserved seating for Board Representatives with a CIS or Board Resolution

Formally adopted by WRAC in July 2018
Passed by
  • Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
  • Brentwood Community Council
  • Pacific Palisades Community Council
  • Palms Neighborhood Council (modified version)
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council
  • Venice Neighborhood Council
  • Westside Neighborhood Council
  • Westwood Community Council
  • Westwood Neighborhood Council

Motion

Refers to City Council file 15-0524

In the interest of ensuring that local constituencies represented by Los Angeles Neighborhood Councils are heard, the ____________NC/CC requests that seating be reserved at City departmental hearings, commission meetings, and Council meetings for members of Neighborhood and Community Councils [who have submitted Community Impact Statements on item(s) before the body.*]

The _____________NC/CC further requests that the City Council introduces a motion to amend the Administrative Code (Section 22.819) to reflect this policy.

*  Some Councils may choose to omit this qualifying statement, to be in line with a similar LANCC motion.

 

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Opposition to lifting the beach curfew

Formally adopted by WRAC in July 2018 | Download the WRAC position letter
Passed by
  • Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
  • Brentwood Community Council
  • Del Rey Neighborhood Council
  • Mar Vista Community Council
  • Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa
  • Pacific Palisades Community Council
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council
  • West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council
  • Westside Neighborhood Council
  • Westwood Community Council
  • Westwood Neighborhood Council

Motion

The ______________ Council opposes the lifting of the beach curfew currently in place, restricting beach access from midnight to 5am, daily. This is in consideration of public health and safety concerns and in keeping with long standing practice, supported by LAPD and LA County Beaches and Harbors, who are tasked with maintaining the safety and integrity of the beach and the shoreline, respectively.

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Westwood NC Subdivision

Formally adopted by WRAC in March 2018 | Download the WRAC position letter

Motion

Immediately stay any subdivision process for NCs, including the one currently underway for Westwood NC, until BONC has had an opportunity to complete the review process, that is duly unfolding, for the subdivision ordinance (including City Council hearings that take into account community input). We further ask that BONC put in place a mechanism for professional mediation before any subdivision election is considered.

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Opposition to Transit-rich Housing Bonus Bill [Wiener, SB 827]

Formally adopted by WRAC in February 2018 | Download the WRAC position letter
Passed by
  • Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
  • Brentwood Community Council
  • Del Rey Neighborhood Council
  • Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa
  • Pacific Palisades Community Council (modified version)
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (modified version)
  • Venice Neighborhood Council
  • West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council
  • Westside Neighborhood Council (modified version)
  • Westwood Community Council
  • Westwood Neighborhood Council

Motion

Whereas the City Charter-mandated Neighborhood Council system of Los Angeles, and the Community Councils of the City of Los Angeles, represent grass roots democracy,

  1. Whereas the newly introduced California State Senate Bill 827 [Scott Weiner] as written constitutes a top down pen stroke planning measure which completely removes land use and planning authority within one half mile of high quality transit from jurisdictions and charter cities,
  2. Whereas removal of said authority clearly abolishes local input into land use planning and therefore constitutes an attack upon local democracy, upon neighborhoods, and upon the Neighborhood Councils and Community Councils in the City of Los Angeles,
  3. Whereas SB 827 as written trashes the density bonus and wage provisions of the JJJ TOC ordinance which were recently enacted by the people of Los Angeles—in good faith—in order to guarantee transit close housing opportunities would actually be available to working and low- income persons and families in the City of Los Angeles,
  4. Whereas the lack of analysis of infrastructure and other costs associated with this pen stroke planning creates grave uncertainty that a local agency would be able to “levy enough service charges, fees or assessments sufficient to pay for the program or level of service mandated by this act within the meaning of Section 17556 of the Government Code”,
  5. Whereas, given the aforementioned lack of fiscal analysis, Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution “No reimbursement” clause is cited inappropriately in this legislation,
  6. Therefore, the _____________ Council opposes SB 827 in its present form.

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Cell towers aka wireless facilities in public right-of-way and on city property

Formally adopted by WRAC in August 2017 | Download the WRAC position letter
Passed by
  • Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
  • Brentwood Community Council
  • Del Rey Neighborhood Council
  • Mar Vista Community Council
  • Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa
  • Pacific Palisades Community Council
  • Palms Neighborhood Council
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council
  • Venice Neighborhood Council
  • West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council
  • Westside Neighborhood Council
  • Westwood Community Council
  • Westwood Neighborhood Council

Motion

WRAC recommends opposing SB 649, which removes from cities the discretionary regulation of “small cell” cell phone towers in the public right-of-way and on city property. Exceptions for historic zones and Coastal Zone are included, but scenic highways and R zones are not included. Local control should be maintained. Cities have capability to properly analyze applications within existing laws and balance protection of neighborhoods with the need for increased wireless capacity.

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Enforcement of all zoning and building codes

Formally adopted by WRAC in May 2016
Passed by
  • Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council
  • Brentwood Community Council
  • Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa
  • Pacific Palisades Community Council (modified version)
  • Palms Neighborhood Council
  • Venice Neighborhood Council
  • West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council
  • Westwood Community Council
  • Westwood Neighborhood Council

Motion

Whereas the Los Angeles City Attorney; the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety; and the Los Angeles City Council continue to selectively enforce existing zoning ordinances to the detriment of our stakeholders quality of life including, but not limited to, short term rentals, illegal signs, illegal boarding houses and the like.

Therefore the member councils of WRAC demand the city comply with its own ordinances and laws and immediately enforce all applicable zoning and building codes unless duly amended.

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Short Term Rentals

Formally adopted by WRAC in March 2016
Passed by
  • Bel Air-Beverly Crest Neighborhood Council (modified version)
  • Brentwood Community Council (modified version)
  • Mar Vista Community Council (modified version)
  • Neighborhood Council of Westchester/Playa (modified version)
  • Pacific Palisades Community Council (modified version)
  • South Robertson Neighborhoods Council (modified version)
  • Venice Neighborhood Council (modified version)
  • West LA-Sawtelle Neighborhood Council
  • Westwood Community Council
  • Westwood Neighborhood Council (modified version)

Motion

Refers to City Council file 14-1635-S2

Any proposed City ordinance allowing short term rentals in presently prohibited zones must include the following essential provisions:

  • No rent stabilized units “RSO” shall be allowed to rent short term
  • Only owner occupied primary residences shall be permitted to host for short term rentals, and only one unit shall be permitted per host.
  • There shall be a cap of 60 nights per calendar year per host for short term rentals
  • Prior to listing, hosts shall be responsible for verifying their properties comply with the Los Angeles Building and Safety code at their own expense and shall make all necessary repairs
  • All hosts shall obtain a City permit and a permanent registration number. The condition of receiving a City permit and permanent registration number shall be the following: proof of primary residence plus liability insurance for this specific use including any rider that may be necessary for a non-conforming use on the property. Examples of proof of primary residence shall include utility bill, drivers’ license and the like
  • Upon filing for a short term rentals permit, hosts shall notify property owners within 500 ft.
  • All hosts shall include their permanent City registration number on all advertised listings in all media
  • All hosts shall register with the City Department of Finance and remit transient occupancy taxes “TOT” including any and all back taxes owed. Short term rental TOT receipts shall not go into general fund but shall be used to create a special enforcement/compliance unit specific to enforcing regulation of short term rentals. An example of this compliance unit is the LAHD inspection program for multifamily units
  • Hosts shall be required to pay the City’s legal minimum wage, abide by hotel employee protections and register with the State Employment Development Department
  • Hosts shall disclose such information as the City deems required for enforcement. Examples of this information shall include the type of rental whether one room or whole house, how many nights per year, how many guests and the like
  • Hosts which refuse to register or disclose information necessary for enforcement shall be prohibited from operating in the City and face such penalties and fines as may be deemed appropriate by the City under the new ordinance
  • Platforms shall only list City registered units and display registration number in each listing
  • Platforms shall disclose information deemed necessary by the City for enforcement and for collection of back taxes and shall be held accountable, including fines and other penalties as may be deemed appropriate by the City, for any unregistered online listings appearing upon the platforms’ website
  • The ordinance shall establish a right of appeal of the issuance of a short term rental permit
  • The ordinance shall establish a private right of action by individuals in the community

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