LOS ANGELES, Calif. /California Newswire/ — L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed the Multiple Approvals Ordinance on Monday, cutting red tape and simplifying the development review process. Under the new ordinance development projects that require multiple approvals from the City of Los Angeles will now have one deadline rather than multiple expiration dates for individual entitlements.

“By signing the Multiple Approvals Ordinance today, we are making progress on reforming the zoning code and moving towards a more stable, predictable and transparent land-use regulation system in L.A.,” Mayor Villaraigosa said.

The ordinance was unanimously approved by the City Council on March 30 after extensive outreach involving business groups, development leaders, neighborhood councils, and community stakeholders. It maintains all current land use protections while cutting procedural red tape, simplifying development review and approval utilization, and clarifying local implementation of recent State-mandated extensions of time for approved projects.

Along with clarifying project approval processes, the new regulations will provide assurance and certainty after projects have been approved. Currently, one part of a project approval may expire before others, resulting in duplicate case filings and redundant staff review. The new ordinance simplifies the process by grouping individual approvals into a single project.

“The Multiple Approvals Ordinance will be a huge benefit to infill development projects that often require several approvals in order to be sensitive to the complex needs of existing communities” said Percy Vaz, CEO of AMCAL Multi-Housing. AMCAL has developed market-rate and affordable housing projects throughout Los Angeles.

The new ordinance will also clarify the implementation of three recent State laws – SB 1185 (2008), AB 333 (2009), and AB 208 (2011) – that have extended project approvals during the ongoing economic recovery. The State extensions apply only to some approval types, threatening numerous approved development proposals now seeking financing and securing building permits.

“Approving this ordinance will help our city weather this recovery period and emerge even stronger on the other side,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “Giving already approved projects the ability to become realized after years of recessionary pressure will stimulate our local economy and drive new investment into Los Angeles.”

The ordinance represents a major step toward realizing the Mayor’s Development Reform Strategic Plan, which includes reforms to the development process that will make Los Angeles a better place to live, work and visit.

In late 2010, the Department of City Planning issued a new blueprint for the department and began a structural reorganization that has allowed them to do more with less.

“The Multiple Approvals Ordinance will help the Department of City Planning to fully implement the blueprint’s ‘one project, one planner’ approach to case processing, allowing interested parties easier, more direct access for customer service,” said City Planning Director Michael LoGrande.

The proposal for the ordinance was approved with broad community support in public hearings at the City Planning Commission in June 2011 and the Planning and Land Use Management Committee in July 2011.

“The Multiple Approvals Ordinance represents a huge step toward realizing the City’s Development Reform Strategic Plan,” said Gary Toebben, President and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce. “It will simultaneously make the review process simpler and more transparent for business and the community alike.”

Today’s signing ceremony was attended by Councilman and Chair of the City’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee Ed Reyes, Deputy Planning Director Alan Bell, Executive Vice President of Regent Properties Daniel Gryczman, Central Hollywood Neighborhood Council Board Member Laurie Goldman, Percy Vaz and Gary Toebben, among others.

The ordinance will go into effect on May 10, 2012.

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