The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday unanimously approved updated city planning fees that the Department of City Planning says more accurately represent the cost of providing planning and land use services, including an increase to the cost of appealing decisions about developments.
The fee to appeal a city planning decision, currently $89, will be increased to $158, which Department of City Planning Executive Officer Kevin Keller said represents about 1% of the cost for the city to conduct the appeal process.
The City Administrative Officer had suggested increasing the fee to about $16,000 to cover the cost, but that proposal was opposed by several neighborhood councils and removed by the Planning and Land Use Management Committee on May 4.
Keller noted that the Department of City Planning has continued to hear public opposition to the fee increase from $89 to $158.
An opponent of the amendments addressed the council during the public comment period at Tuesday’s meeting.
“Jacking up fees for land use appeals is another slap in the face to low-income communities and a gift to the gentrifiers and developers this council is completely beholden to,” he said.
According to the Department of City Planning, the city spent about $37.4 million for planning services in the 2019-20 fiscal year, but the department only collected $23.5 million in planning and land use fee revenues. The remaining cost of $14 million was subsidized by the city’s general fund.
The city’s fees have not been updated for four years, and department officials said that they should be updated every three to four years.
Other increases include fees for alcohol conditional use permits, but Keller said that if the proposed Restaurant and Beverage Program Ordinance pending in the City Council is approved, the fee would be about $2,000, which is less than the current fee.
The fee for the Eldercare Facility Unified Permit Application was also increased, from about $7,500 to $13,000.
“The elder care facilities do remain a very in-depth approval process … so we are charging a $13,000 fee for that,” Keller said. He added that the city receives about fix or six applications per year.
The City Council approved the suggested amendment to the Los Angeles Municipal Code to update the fees and requested that the Department of City Planning report back with additional information, including what the potential impact would be of eliminating fees for child care centers.
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