The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved a measure under which zoning requests from the San Fernando Valley would be considered as a group, probably once every six months. The change is backed by leaders of homeowner groups as well as builders.
Leaders of homeowner groups say that the ordinance will eliminate the city's practice of granting zone changes piecemeal and that the existing system undermines efforts to control crowding in residential neighborhoods.
The ordinance, approved 12 to 0, awaits Mayor Tom Bradley's approval.
Zone-change requests for three other geographical areas--the Westside, Central City and Harbor area--would similarly be lumped together twice a year under the ordinance.
Currently, requests for zone changes are considered throughout the year, with up to a dozen going before the Planning Commission each week.
Homeowner activists said the new system, called batching, would give them a better chance to marshal large numbers of protesters to oppose many of the applications, most of which seek an increase in the number of homes that can be built on a particular parcel.
The ordinance requires that a report be prepared on the environmental impact of each batch of zone-change requests.
Homeowner leaders contend that environmental reports will force the city to consider the cumulative impact of scattered zone changes on noise, traffic and city services.
The ordinance also was supported by builders' representatives, who usually oppose homeowners in planning and zoning disputes.
Industry leaders said they support the ordinance because it allows them to file zone-change requests that also require a change in the local community plan, an advisory document that sets broad goals for residential and commercial density.
Under the existing system, only a council member can initiate a plan change.
That benefit, builders say, outweighs any delay to developers that might result from processing applications only twice a year.