State Senate Bill SB 50
The Valley Village Homeowners Association opposes Senate Bill SB 50. The bill would grant waivers from maximum density and parking requirements if the residential development is a “Transit-rich” housing project within a one-half mile radius of a major transit stop or a one-quarter mile radius of a stop on a “high-quality” bus corridor – with the definition of “high quality” being very loose.
California has already enacted SB 1818 designed to incentivize affordable housing statewide and encouraged Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). SB 50 would add another nail in the coffin of the desirable single-family home lifestyle our city is known for, and the decimation of older, affordable garden style apartments, particularly in the San Fernando Valley.
We do not have the infrastructure to support higher density projects and won’t for decades, despite additional sales taxes. A case in point is the congestion along Magnolia Boulevard in Valley Village. Higher density will make it intolerable.
Because only a few destinations in Los Angeles are within reasonable walking distance of a rail transit station, the residents of higher density developments adjacent to the stations will only use rail transit for a portion of their trips; they will drive the rest. Therefore, higher density developments around rail transit stations will not necessarily result in reduced traffic congestion but will likely increase it.
Increases in density around stations should be limited and more should be done to enable potential riders to get to the stations by providing additional parking and good bus and shuttle bus service.
In the study of economics, there is the Law of Diminishing Returns. It applies to housing as well. More density will lead to poorer service and higher maintenance costs.
We ask that you not only oppose this bill, but use your influence to discourage your colleagues from supporting it.
Revisions to the Citywide Sign and Billboard Ordinance
1. Retain the citywide ban on new billboards in Los Angeles approved in 2002.
2. Repeal the exception provisions approved in 2002.
3. Prohibit further new digital billboards.
4. Prohibit supergraphics signs on the sides of buildings.
5. Adopt a policy of no retroactive legalizing of illegal billboards put up without building permits and no more reductions in sign inspection fees.
6. Renegotiate the settlement agreements which allow 878 existing signs to be converted to digital billboards.
Sign and billboard clutter is ugly. The proliferation of billboards, digital billboards and supergraphic signs in Los Angeles has harmed the City’s appearance, lowered the quality of life, reduced property values and made the City less desirable as a place to live and for business investment. Excessive signage is also a traffic safety hazard.
History of the Issue
In 2002 the City Council approved a ban on new billboards. However, along with the ban the City Council allowed three exceptions: (1) within supplemental sign districts, (2) in specific plan areas and (3) in projects that had development agreements. This breached a 50 year old ban on billboards facing the freeways. In August, 2008 a Federal trial court invalidated the 2002 ban on new billboards because the lack of standards in the exceptions granted the City too much discretion. The Court stated the City Council would have the power to arbitrarily pick and choose which billboard companies were subject to the ban and which were granted exceptions to it, which could lead to the regulation of content in violation of the First Amendment.
In 2006 and 2007, the City Council approved settlements to lawsuits filed by five billboard companies. The settlements favored the companies and retroactively legalized any previously illegal signs that the companies had put up without building permits and allowed up to 878 existing billboards to be converted to digital billboards. These very bright billboards generated immediate protests in neighborhoods where they were placed.
On March 26, 2009 the City Planning Commission approved a sign and billboard ordinance which continues the 2002 ban on new billboards and also bans digital and supergraphics signs. However, the Commission, while deleting the exception provisions for specific plans and development agreements, also approved two new exception provisions; comprehensive sign programs for large development projects and a sign modification procedure that can be used by smaller projects.
What you should do now!
Contact your elected representatives and urge
1. That the 2002 ban on new billboards be retained and strengthened
2. Repeal the provisions that allow exceptions to the 2002 ban in supplemental use districts, specific plans and in development agreements.
3. The City Council not to approve any lawsuit settlements which legalize existing billboards or allow them to be converted to digital displays.
State Senate Bill 1818 and LA City Ordinance 179681
The Board and Membership of the Valley Village Homeowners Association opposes SB1818 and the Los Angeles City Ordinance 179681 to implement SB1818.
SB1818 adversely affects the Valley Village Specific Plan. It allows developers to override the thirty-six foot height limit as well as landscape and open space requirements. Off-street parking space would be drastically reduced. As passed by the California State legislature and implemented by the Los Angeles City Council it would destroy all local controls of multiple-unit construction.
History of the issue
In an attempt to create more affordable housing State Bill 1818 was enacted in 2005. The law forces Counties and Cities to grant density bonuses as high as 35% to housing projects that reserve a small percentage of their units for affordable housing. To facilitate these projects local jurisdictions are forced to waive or modify existing zoning and development standards, such as the Valley Village Specific Plan.
What you should do now!
Contact your elected representatives. Voice your opinion. This law is seriously flawed.
Under SB1818 and the City’s ordinance to enact SB1818 affordable apartments will be demolished, replaced by high-rise buildings with very few low cost units.