A proposal to weaken the city's public notice requirements for hearings on neighborhood land-use issues recently came under fire from homeowners. Under current requirements, property owners and residents within 500 feet of projects involving subdivision construction and liquor sales are notified. Planning officials suggested reducing the parameters to 300 feet and no longer require that hearings be advertised in local newspapers. The City Council's Planning and Land Use Committee referred the idea to a commission studying ways to streamline development procedures.
Should the city, in an attempt to save money, notify fewer residents of nearby land-use issues?
Vicki Snow, Burbank resident and former president of the Valley Horse Owners Assn.: The amount of money the city pays to put a notice in a newspaper in infinitesimal. I think it's tragic they want to do that. I think they don't want to be hassled by property owners, homeowners, anyone in contention. . . . The reasoning that they're going to save money, politely, is a bunch of bull. They are looking at saving themselves a lot of grief, not a lot of money. People have to have the right to defend themselves and their property.
Tony Lucente, Studio City Residents Assn. president: Reduced notification is not just a cost-cutting issue. Rather, it directly impacts L.A. residents' right to participate in the public process. If the city really wants to increase public participation, they need to address the real reasons why people don't attend hearings or respond to notices--timing (always during working hours), location (often in City Hall vs. Valley locations), difficult-to-understand hearing notices and too little distribution vs. too much.