LA County officials seek to spur development near future transit stations

The effort would direct county agencies to streamline approval process

The Blue Line's Firestone Station, located in an unincorporated community of Firestone Park (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)
The Blue Line's Firestone Station, located in an unincorporated community of Firestone Park (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Two L.A. Board of Supervisors want to speed the approval process for developers who plan to build in state-designated areas near future rail stations.

Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis want to direct county and state officials and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to develop a plan to ease the bureaucratic hurdles in the so-called Transit Oriented Development areas. That would help move along projects located near future rail lines, officials said.

The motion, which requires approval of the five-person county board, was introduced Wednesday and first reported by Urbanize.

It would give agencies 90 days to return to the county with an implementation plan. The plan must include a way to create infrastructure to support transit oriented development — which receives state funding — and the higher density development that comes with it. It also calls for a community engagement strategy to create specific plans for projects around each station.

The motion notes the county could build up to 10 new stations on existing or new rail lines with funding from the state under so-called Measures M and R. They each authorize a half-cent sales tax increase to pay for future transit projects.

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Measure M also requires that all jurisdictions within a half-mile radius of new rail stations contribute 3 percent of a total project cost, but allows investments in transportation to count toward that amount.

The county already has some transit-oriented development plans for some stations, according to Urbanize,  including West Athens, Willowbrook, and Florence.

In the fall, the municipal Department of City Planning implemented its Transit Oriented Communities program, which provides density bonuses to developers who incorporate affordable housing into projects near train and bus lines. So far, developers have filed two dozen projects for those Transit Oriented Communities.