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Council president says streamlining L.A. bureaucracy is a 'frustrating' process

June 7, 2010 |  5:39 pm
Nearly three years have passed since Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti announced the idea of a “12 to 2” initiative, his proposal for dramatically cutting the number of steps that real estate developers must follow at City Hall before securing permission to build.
               
Garcetti unveiled the concept in 2007, telling an audience at the Central City Assn. -– a downtown-based business group -- that he hoped the initiative could be approved in 2008.

On Monday, Garcetti again talked up his 12 to 2 plan, this time at a luncheon hosted by the Los Angeles Current Affairs Forum. Garcetti said he hoped the proposal would be approved in the coming months. But he also acknowledged that his staff had had “two to three years of very frustrating meetings” with Planning Department officials.

“I’m cautiously optimistic, whereas before I was just angry,” he told the room full of lobbyists, lawyers and labor union leaders.

If the 12 to 2 plan is approved, developers would make two stops in the permitting process: one at the Planning Department and one at the Department of Building and Safety. Developers could go to those agencies even when they are required to meet the requirements of the Department of Transportation, Fire Department, Bureau of Engineering and other city departments.

One Building and Safety Department official said Monday an announcement on 12 to 2 could come before the end of summer. First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner is working on that initiative and has already taken steps to smooth the way for entrepreneurs seeking to open new restaurants and bars, the official said.

To highlight the problem faced by business owners, Garcetti pointed to the example of Delilah Bakery, a restaurant that opened in Echo Park three years ago. Garcetti said that until his office intervened, city officials attempted to force the fledgling bakery to build an underground parking garage. That business is in a building less than 800 square feet in size.

Garcetti also mentioned Delilah Bakery in 2007. At that event, he even brought cupcakes.

-- David Zahniser at Los Angeles City Hall
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