Politics

Mayor Villaraigosa opens new office to streamline development permitting

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa during the 63rd Israel Independence Day Celebration hosted by the Consulate General Of Israel at Skirball Cultural Center on May 10, 2011 in Los Angeles.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa during the 63rd Israel Independence Day Celebration hosted by the Consulate General Of Israel at Skirball Cultural Center on May 10, 2011 in Los Angeles.
Jason Merritt/Getty Images for The Consulate General of Israel

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened an office today aimed at streamlining the development permitting process. That process is currently handled by at least five different city departments.

The Development Services Case Management Office will include staffers from the planning, building and safety, engineering, transportation and water and power departments. It will assign a case manager to major projects to guide developers through the city permitting process.

Developers have long complained that the process of going to different departments is cumbersome, takes a long time and sometimes results in conflicting recommendations.

The new office is "a concrete example of how we're rethinking and reforming L.A.'s development process," Villaraigosa said. "We're working across departments to improve customer service, shorten review timelines and make it easier to do development in L.A. Today you can see results."

Case managers will help developers comply with entitlement, permitting, public improvement processes and the design of water and power infrastructure. They will also be charged with settling any disputes that arise in the permit application process.

Real estate developer Trammel Crow Co. has been test driving the new system. "The case management approach has transformed our experience of working with the city," Brad Cox, a Trammel Crow managing director, said. "You go to one place, have one point person and get answers quickly. We're moving forward faster thanks to this change."