Los Angeles Zoning Code Complexity

I’m currently relaxing in Oxnard, CA so I’ve had mornings skimming over the LA Times newspaper. They actually have a good business section and the editorials are as expected. I caught an article from their 7/31 edition in business section titled “L.A. To Revamp Zoning Code”. Before I begin, this blog takes the position that America is over regulated on every level of government. Many of these regulations are becoming petty and overlapping with other rules from various government entities. This makes business expansion and even home building very expensive and time consuming.
L.A. has a zoning code now over 800 pages of rules and amendments to rules. In 1946, the book only had 86 pages. The city council is now on a mission to revamp the book so it is less confusing and expensive for development. In the article, the city recently passed an ordinance that required businesses to put bicycle racks 50 feet from the door of the business but it collided with the American with Disabilities Act law of “an easy path to a door without bicycles blocking the path”. As the L.A. Times stated, it left the businesses coming to the city council for yet another amendment added to change the rule. Here are some other examples from the article of what just this one city faces in zoning:

– 60% of the zoning laws were just for certain districts but must be enforced everywhere.
– Want to build a single family home? That zoning has 300 different variations of rules.
– Starbucks found out if you wanted to have a store open up before 7 a.m. it needed a special permit. The cost was around $30,000 and waiting six months just for a decision.
– If you’re a small business or not a financially well off person looking to build a home you are less likely to get through the maze of rules. The system is designed so you have to hire consultant company or lawyers to get what you want approved.

Zoning laws usually are approved considerably easy to get passed. L.A. city council has now stated it will “take years” to change the code. Before regular citizens get a say, the council will consult with the groups that more than likely benefitted from the complex system.

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