The Los Angeles City Planning Department Monday released a draft ordinance that would give small businesses leniency on certain regulations during a state of emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Neighborhood businesses are critical sources of employment, providers of essential services, plus a staple of community identity,” said Director of Planning Vince Bertoni. “The proposed ordinance aims to spur the recovery of these vital businesses, as well as prepare a path for neighborhood recuperation in the future during declared citywide states of emergency.”
Consistent with direction by the City Council, City Planning staff proposed a regulatory framework to take effect during a declared state of emergency and upon emergency order from the mayor or by resolution from the council.
The framework would be in place for the term of the local emergency and up to 12 months after its expiration or termination. The council could extend the provisions for a maximum of 36 months past the expiration of the local emergency as well as terminate the provisions after the expiration of the local emergency.
The proposed local emergency code amendment has two main components. The first addresses the extension of time limits for the expiration of certain permits, such as conditional use permits, and the second addresses parking requirements.
In limited situations, the second component would grant modifications to existing parking requirements for businesses that meet a set of specific eligibility criteria, City Planning officials said. Vehicle parking requirements could change the use of existing buildings, which would not trigger new parking requirements. Also, conditions of approval requiring valet parking and off-site parking requirements could be suspended.
In the coming weeks, City Planning staff said they will hold a public hearing on the draft ordinance, then they will prepare a report with recommendations for consideration by the City Planning Commission.
The initial study of the potential environmental impacts will be released before the item goes before the CPC.
If approved, the ordinance would move to the council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee before going to the full City Council for consideration.
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