City of Los Angeles Fee Hike
UPDATE: On April 6, 2021, the Los Angeles City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee meeting was cancelled as they experienced technology challenges. This item is now tentatively set to be heard at the next PLUM meeting (TBD), where members will review the proposed Department of City Planning Comprehensive Fee Update for planning and land use services. The fee hikes are proposed by the City Administrative Officer (CAO) and Department of City Planning as an attempt to recover costs associated with various planning services that include historic preservation, appeals, commissions, zoning, and many others.
Presently, the total sum of these fees have a 61percent cost recovery rate. Two plans are currently proposed, one by the CAO at a 100 percent cost recovery and another by the Department of City Planning at 82 percent. Both proposals represent a fee increase, at a minimum 20 percent higher than current levels.
If passed, the CAO fee hike will create a cost-prohibitive planning system raising overall fees by nearly 40 percent. We believe an increase in fees at this level will greatly hinder City Planning’s diversity, equity, and inclusion goals overall and for the City’s historic preservation program.
Additionally, appeal fees would increase 16 percent, impacting the ability of those with limited means and underrepresented communities to appeal harmful projects.
The City initiated the comprehensive fee update in response to budget shortfalls caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Before the current proposal, the Department of City Planning completed a fee study in 2016 that was adopted by City Council in 2018.
The Department of City Planning's approach to the fee study utilized a cost-based analytical approach to calculate the full cost of providing processing services “to ensure fees are fair, equitable and represent the estimated and reasonable cost of services.” The department has also stated that the proposed cost recovery assessed the degree to which certain planning services benefit the community as a whole or specific groups or individuals. The department recommended the City assess whether lower fees would 1) encourage participation in community-driven regulatory processes; 2) enable participation of individuals or groups that may not be able to afford services, and 3) provide benefits to both the individual and community at large.
The same can not be said for the CAO's office which seeks to recover 100 percent of all costs incurred. If adopted as proposed, the CAO proposal will limit public participation, harm the preservation program, and undermine efforts to effectively engage communities of Black, Indigenous and people of color (BIPOC).
The future of L.A.'s historic resources is at risk. Please act now!
FIRST: Email your city council representative, specifically call/email Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee Chair (Marqueece Harris-Dawson) and make sure your email subject line reads: 'Oppose Fee Hike for Historic Preservation (Council File 09-0969-S3).' Find your city council representative here.
THIRD: Please plan to speak at the upcoming PLUM committee meeting, saying you oppose this proposed fee hike on historic preservation activities and the appeals process in the city.