Posted on 02/18/2014

Mayor Eric Garcetti today announced he is directing the Departments of Building & Safety and Planning to consolidate key functions to better integrate services to cut red tape and promote economic development.

“As Mayor of Los Angeles, I’m committed to cutting red tape and streamlining city government to increase economic development and job creation,” said Mayor Garcetti. "Strategically combining these services will improve the land use approval and building process, attract investment, and help to build a great city. We must raise expectations for a smooth and predictable entitlement process with straightforward zoning answers.”

Mayor Garcetti took office as a range of consolidation options were being discussed, including a complete merger of the two departments.

"We took a deep look at both departments, and now we're moving forward with reform that makes sense, instead of just combining departments for the sake of combining departments,” said Mayor Garcetti. “This initiative reflects recommendations from our residents, the business community, and experts hired to study the issue."

Mayor Garcetti has been working with city departments to develop recommendations for a joint report, to be released this week, which will include a series of development permit streamlining recommendations prepared by the Matrix Consulting Group. The report outlines recommendations for integrating and improving development review at the Departments of Building & Safety and Planning, as well as the Department of Transportation, Bureau of Engineering and the Fire Department.

Mayor Garcetti has directed each development service department to co-locate staff within the existing Valley and Downtown development services centers to provide integrated geographic teams to better assist the public. Departments will also be tasked with implementing specific recommendations to streamline processing and timelines. Mayor Garcetti also supports studying the future expansion of development service centers to South LA and West LA.

In addition to these key changes, the Mayor has asked the Department of City Planning to provide expanded zoning review functions and oversee development case management services to give clear input early in the building permit process.

The Building and Safety Department is being directed to centralize and expand its code enforcement role to provide fair and consistent enforcement of building and zoning regulations citywide. These moves will focus on specific elements of the development review process and increase collaboration between all city departments providing development review functions.