In order to process a project, an applicant must work with the various City departments to determine what types of permits are needed to develop the project. The process that applies will depend on the type of project being proposed, and the type of permits that are required. The opportunity for public involvement will vary depending on the types of permits required.
What is the basic application process?
The basic framework that applies to discretionary permit applications is described below. The process will vary depending on the specific type of permits required.
- The applicant works with LADBS to determine what permits are needed.
- The applicant submits an application to the City Planning Department.
- The City Planning Department Hearing Officer (Zoning Administrator or Deputy Advisory Agency) holds a public hearing on the application and makes a determination. If the project is approved, the Hearing Officer generally imposes conditions of approval on the permit.
- For most permits, there is an appeal period during which either the applicant or opponents can challenge the decision of the Hearing Officer. Either the Area Planning Commission or the City Planning Commission will consider the appeal, depending on the type of permit being appealed. The City Council makes the decision on legislative matters.
- Once a permit is approved, an applicant must work with LADBS and other City Departments to obtain building permits and other necessary permits to start construction and operation of the project.
When does the community get involved?
There are a number of ways members of the community can get involved in the planning process, including by attending Community Meetings and Public Hearings. Find information about both below.
Applicants will often meet with community groups like the Neighborhood Council or Community Council for the area before submitting an application to the City Planning Department for a project. For many projects, Neighborhood Councils and Community Councils will hold public hearings about a project to gather public input and to provide a recommendation to the City before the project gets into the public hearing process at the City.
Each Neighborhood Council and Community Council has its own process for determining which projects are considered by the land use committees and the board of the Neighborhood or Community Council. Information on the seven Neighborhood Councils and Community Councils in CD 11 can be found here<insert link>.
During this process applicants will often also meet with other organized community groups, like homeowners associations and residents associations, in order to ensure that there is broad community outreach in connection with the permitting process.
The Council office encourages applicants to contact the Neighborhood Council or Community Council for the area as well as homeowners associations or residents associations that are active in a particular community. We ask that the applicant meet with the community groups to ensure that input from the surrounding community is heard and addressed in the design and operation of the project.
When a public hearing is required for a permit, the public has an opportunity to participate and express concern or support for a project as well as provide insight into the way in which a project will fit in the context of the community. [include more info about how the public gets involved in the public hearing process]
How do you find out about what is going on in your neighborhood?
In order to be involved with development in your community, you need to know what is development is happening. The first step in understanding proposed development is to gather relevant information. Below are some helpful questions to ask to form a base of information about any proposed project.
Q: What kind of development is being proposed?
Is it residential, commercial, industrial, or mixed-use?
Q: What is the basic information about the property?
What is the property zoned for? What is the property currently being used for? What restrictions exist on the property, such as easements or covenants? Is the property in the Coastal Zone, subject to a specific plan, or covered by a community design overlay district?
Q: What type of public process must the project go through?
What kinds of permits are being requested? Is this a discretionary or a ministerial project? Who is the decision maker? Is the project seeking variances or modifications from development standards or other Zoning Code requirements?
When and how does the Council Office become involved in the planning process?
The most important function of the Council Office is to provide information and facilitate dialogue between members of the community and developers. The Council Office will engage with both groups throughout the development process and will typically:
- Host a concept briefing with potential applications
- Coordinate a project briefing, where the Office requires applicants to fill out the intake form
- Attending Neighborhood Council and Community Council meetings
- Gathering input about the project from community members
- Attending (and often speaking at) public hearings
- Facilitating meetings between applicants and community members