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Los Angeles City Planning Commission | Special Collections & Archives

Name: Los Angeles City Planning Commission
Fuller Form: Los Angeles (Calif.). City Planning Commission


Historical Note:

In 1910, the Los Angeles City Council established a fifteen member Planning Committee to assist in the development of a plan to improve the City. Ten years later, the Planning Committee was replaced by a fifty-two-member City Planning Commission made up of community leaders from civic groups across Los Angeles and one professional planner, George Gordon Whitnall.  In 1925, The City Planning Commission was reduced to five members, who were all professional urban planners, and Whitnall was appointed to lead the department. During the 1940s and 1950s, the Commission developed height, area, density, and parking regulations, and standard zone categories. In the mid-1970s, the Los Angeles City Council adopted the Centers Concept, which envisioned the City as a network of urban centers connected by a rail transit system. In the 1990s, City Council developed a new guiding document called the General Plan Framework, which directs plans for future growth in population, jobs, and housing into neighborhood districts, community centers, regional centers, the downtown center, and industrial districts as part of a strategy for comprehensive planning across the City. In 2000, The City Planning Commission was expanded from five to nine members and seven Area Planning Commissions were established.

Today, the Los Angeles Department of City Planning is charged with the responsibility of preparing, maintaining, and implementing a General Plan for the development of the City of Los Angeles. The General Plan consists of the Framework Element, which provides overall guidance for the future of the city and other citywide elements including state mandated elements such as the Transportation, Housing, Open Space and Land Use Elements. The Citywide General Plan Framework is based on a directed growth strategy which targets residential and commercial growth along boulevards, corridors and clustered development around high activity centers and around transit opportunities.

The Land Use Element of the General Plan is comprised of thirty-five community plans, which depict a range of allowable land uses, unique to individual communities. Community Plans are intended to promote an arrangement of land uses, streets, and services which encourage and contribute to the economic, social and physical health, safety, welfare, and convenience of the people who live and work there. The Planning Department implements the General Plan utilizing a variety of tools through the application of zoning regulations to regulate the use of land in the city.






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