How To Request A Zone Change
Zoning regulates land uses, population density, lot coverage, building size and location and thereby provides a means to implement the County's General Plan. The overall objectives of planning and zoning are to protect public health, safety and welfare, to promote compatibility between various land uses and developments and to provide for an attractive and efficient community.
Zone changes may be initiated by the Board of Supervisors or the Regional Planning Commission (RPC) or, more commonly, by individual property owners who desire to develop property with a land use or density that is not permitted by the existing zoning classification. To be approved, a zone change must be consistent with the adopted General Plan, including local area and community plans, which reflect the County's policy regarding land use. If the proposed zoning is not consistent with the applicable general plan, it cannot be approved. General plans can be amended to address changed circumstances but only after thorough study and public hearings before the RPC and the Board of Supervisors. Amendments to State mandated elements of the Countywide General Plan are limited to four per calendar year.
Major issues involved in the evaluation of zone change requests include:
- Consistency with the applicable General Plan
- Compatibility with surrounding land uses
- Avoidance of "spot zoning"
- Land suitability and physical constraints
- Project design and layout
- Availability of adequate access, public services and facilities to serve the proposed development
- Potential environmental impacts and mitigation measures
- Project design (the Department of Regional Planning and the RPC frequently recommend a zoning classification that requires adherence to a specific development plan approved by the Commission by means of a Conditional Use Permit).
General Plan and Zoning information, application forms, and fee schedules may be obtained by contacting the Department of Regional Planning Land Development Coordinating Center in Room 1360, Hall of Records, 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Telephone (213) 974-6411. Our office hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday and from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The office is closed every Friday. If your proposed development involves a land division, (a parcel map or a tentative tract map), you may wish to schedule a "One Stop" counseling appointment in order to obtain additional information from representatives of the Department of Public Works and the Fire Department as well as Regional Planning staff.
When you have completed the application forms and assembled all of the required materials, you will need to call (213) 974-6438 to schedule a filing appointment. A planner will review the materials to ensure that all necessary items, including the required signatures and filing fees, are submitted before accepting the application and assigning a project number.
After the application has been logged into our case tracking system, it will be forwarded to the appropriate processing section. When the processing section has determined the application to be complete and the required environmental documentation has been completed, a public hearing will be scheduled before the RPC. If the project involves a land division or discretionary permits in addition to a zone change, a concurrent hearing will be scheduled. The processing section will advise you of the hearing date and the deadline for posting of notices on the subject property, mail notices to all owners of property within 500 feet of the subject property, publish notices in a local newspaper, and prepare a staff report and recommendation prior to the public hearing.
Following the public hearing, the RPC will make a recommendation to approve or deny the requested zone change; and, the Commission's recommendation will be transmitted to the Board of Supervisors. If the Commission recommends approval of a zone change, or the Commission's recommendation for no change of zone is appealed, a public hearing will be scheduled before the Board of Supervisors, who will make the final decision on the requested zone change.
At the time and place advertised in the public notice, the RPC will conduct a public hearing on your request. These hearings are normally held in Room 150 of the Hall of Records, 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles. Commission meetings usually convene at 9:00 a.m. on Wednesday mornings.
The applicant and/or his representative should attend the public hearing and be prepared to present and explain the requested zone change and the proposed development. You may submit maps, graphics, letters, petitions or other documents in support of your request. You may call on other people, such as consultants or surrounding property owners who support your proposal, to assist you in presenting your case. Other interested persons, including neighboring property owners will have an opportunity to address the Commission. You and/or your representative will be given an opportunity to respond to any objections.
The RPC may continue the public hearing and may schedule a field trip to view the subject property and its surroundings. After the hearing has been closed, the Commission will authorize the preparation of a resolution containing the Commission's findings and recommendations and the final environmental documentation, if required, which will be placed on the Commission's agenda for adoption. After the resolution has been adopted, it will be forwarded to the Board of Supervisors.
The Board of Supervisors' public hearing procedures are similar to those of the RPC. The Executive Officer/Clerk of the Board of Supervisors will notify you of the time and place of the hearing and the deadline for posting of notices on the subject property. The Board of Supervisors' meetings are held in the Board Hearing Room, (Room 381), in the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 West Temple Street, Los Angeles 90012.
The Board consists of five Supervisors, each of whom is elected by the voters of his or her district.
Proponents and opponents will be given an opportunity to be heard. Once the hearing is closed, the Board will render a decision to approve, deny, or modify the requested zone change. If the Board decides to approve a zone change that has been recommended by the RPC, an ordinance changing the zoning classification generally will have been prepared in advance of the hearing and may be adopted on the same day. Otherwise, the Board will authorize the preparation of such an ordinance for adoption at a subsequent meeting. The ordinance will become effective thirty (30) days after its adoption. If the Board's decision differs from the Commission's recommendation, the application will be referred back to the RPC for further consideration, which may or may not involve further public hearings.
If you require reasonable accommodations or auxiliary aids and services such as material in an alternate format or a sign language interpreter, please contact the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Coordinator at (213) 974-6488 (Voice) or (213) 617-2292 (TDD), with at least five business days notice.