Oil_CUP: Propose a conditional use permit (CUP) requirement and associate radius map for all new and expanding petroleuam extraction land uses in all zones including "M3" and “O.” Such permits are required for a wide variety of substantially less hazardous land uses including “childcare facilities”, “golf courses”, and “penny arcades”. A very recent amendment to SEC. 12.24 U of Article 2, Chapter 1 of the Los Angeles Municipal Code added new and expanding “petroleum refining facilities” to the long list of uses requiring a CUP under an amendment initiated by CUGU. While this sets a positive example, it does not go far enough to strengthen CUP requirements for petroleum related land uses. 72% of the population of Los Angeles opposes the siting of petroleum practices in close proximity to homes, schools, and hospitals (76% of people of color, and 81% of low-income voters), yet most are not able to participate in land use decisions due in part to lack of notification. Changes in notification procedures relating to CUP/Radius Map requirements would increase participatory governance in land use by giving neighboring residents and businesses timely disclosure of proposed land uses changes.
Oil_Overhaul SEC. 13.01 “OIL”: Work with re:code, CUGU, and the Petroleum Administrator on the proposed rewrite of SEC. 13.01 “OIL” to significantly strengthen environmental protection measures therein, to examine and improve upon means and methods of oversight, and to expand SEC. 13.01 to include provisions for horizontal drilling, hydraulic-fracturing, and other injection-based extraction procedures or to explicitly ban such practices from the city. To the best of my understanding this is a process already underway which awaits the appointment of “technical expertise” in the form of a Petroleum Administrator for completion. Additional oversight and advisement from informed parties such as the SLA GC could only result in more complete, robust, and broadly performative regulation.
Energy Siting_Parking Lots & Reservoirs: Propose PV solar shading requirements for publicly-owned parking structures and reservoirs as a provision of land use. Such measures would work to produce desired shade, reduce evaporation, and increase citywide PV yield. Proposing mandatory PV infrastructure for publicly-owned facilities minimizes possible public opposition while still setting a precedent for the legislation of energy production and energy infrastructure requirements through land use.
Energy Siting_SB 353: Work with CUGU, re:code, LADWP, and CalEnvirioScreen 2.0 to produce overlay targets areas for the application of SB 353/AB 32 funding in low-income areas as legislated. Work to maximizes the energetic, economic, and social impact of such funding through initiatives such as the LADWP Community Solar Program and through collaboration with organizations such as GRID Alternatives LA. This undertaking could help preview issues at stake in citywide zone-based energy planning and establish working relationships between LADCP, LADWP, and the university.
Energy Culture_Community Plan Area Energy Profiles: Work with Community Plan Area Reps., community members, and the LADWP to develop neighborhood energy profiles and goals. Such profiles might include Net-Zero Development Areas (Central City), Green Transportation Corridors (Harbor-Gateway, Wilshire), Residential Solar Capture Areas (Northridge, South Los Angeles, West Adams-Baldwin Hills-Laiment), Cleantech Manufacturing Areas (Southeast Los Angeles, Weschester-Playa Del Rey), Concentrated Solar Capture Areas (Sunland-tujunga-Shadow Hills-Lakeview Terrace-East La Turra Canyon), etc. This may help to reengergize stalled Community Plan Area development and ease community resistance to renewable energy infrastructure siting by producing a sense of community investment and civic discourse.
Density_End R1/Extend R2-4: Work with re:code, cityLAB (UCLA), and the Now Institute (UCLA) to legislate the phase out R1 and the extension R2-R4, through allowances for the addition of auxiliary structures in R1 zones (infill) and the carefully mapped expansion of R2-R4 in regional centers and along established public transportation corridors. Calculated increases in density around public transport corridors and centers reduces energy intensive automobile commuting. Development through infill limits sprawl and produces a distributed development model more becoming of a democratic, polycentric city. Attention should be paid to the cityLAB BI(h)ome/Backyard Homes project, and numerous recent and forthcoming legislative motions including AB 1866. SLA GC should endeavor to support and expand upon these works to maximize their popular applicability in LA County.
Energy Siting_ Energy Overlay Zones (E-Zones): Work with re:code & LADWP toward the development of citywide Energy Overlay Zones (E-Zones), setting baseline energy production standards for distinct E-Zones based on a variety of factors including: existing land use, parcel size, building type, solar exposure, income, and other site specific conditions. Citywide E-zone profiles developed in the form of data-based GIS mapping may provide a basis for citywide policy on mandatory distributed energy capture and storage through land use. Learning from examples set by the cities of Lancaster, Sebastapol, San Francisco, and Santa Monica, work to develop criteria for solar energy capture and storage requirements tailored to the specific opportunities and challenges posed by LA’s unique urban, economic, and utility structures.
Energy Siting_Hazardous Proximity/Safe Concentricity: Reexamine and re-legislate how hazardous proximities are dealt with in the zoning code to better isolate hazardous industrial land uses from populations. Such uses include: oil extraction and refinement, gas-powered electrical generation, natural gas storage, and new hazards posed by various modes of green energy production and storage including both concentrated and distributed models. End the widely accepted practice of zoning higher density populations in close proximity to industrial hazards. End R3/R4 proximity to M3. Develop new hazard ratings for emerging energy production and storage methods.
Energy Efficiency_Solar Orientation and Shading: Adjust setback and height limit requirements to maximize PV solar gain potentials and to establish positive shading attributes, such as the coordination shadows cast with neighboring setbacks. Change setback orientation logics and nomenclature to align with solar directions (north, south, east, west) as opposed to site specific orientations (right, left, front, back). Such changes in orientation imply changes in both efficiency and form, presenting a mode of visually legible policy with the potential to contribute to LA’s rich assortment of residential housing typologies with new forms marked by the architectural and infrastructural demands of our present era.
Market Determinacy_Civic IP Design Competitions: Work with LADPC, Code Studies, and the La Kretz Cleantech Incubator to produce competition-based civic design frameworks for the production of pre-aproved models of sustainable zone-based built infrastructure such as buildings, building mechanical systems, and solar capture and energy storage technologies, with built-in civic IP conditions. Such technologies and building models might represent a popular civic design chache whose licensing could be creatively applied in order to maximize local uptake of best-practices through liberalized fee structures and pre-approvals, produce civic revenue through global licensing, and produce civic discourse through open competition, applying open source design to policy as a matter of course.
The policy recommendations presented below range from tactical to mid-level interventions. It is the position of this report that the most promising opportunities for changes in energy policy and culture through land use and zoning require a fundamental reconsideration of how urban energy issues are approached through the General Plan, the Framework Element, the Land Use Element, and the zoning code, however such changes tend to come slowly and the issues at stake require immediate and ongoing action. The recommendations below provide an opportunity to approach larger reconsiderations within the existing organizational framework.
The list below represents a small sampling of possible approaches. The project welcomes additional policy recommendations and encourages all concerned parties to submit additional recommendations through our contact form (200 word limit please).