An appeal was filed today by several Los Angeles community groups to overturn a Los Angeles Superior Court judge’s denial of their landmark lawsuit to force the city to produce and implement its Annual Report on Growth and Infrastructure. Superior Court Judge John Torribio ruled the City of Los Angeles need not follow mandatory duties and mitigation measures set out in its General Plan Framework Element, the City’s “land use constitution”. The appeal requesting review of the decision was filed in the Second District Court by group attorneys Sabrina Venskus and Doug Carstens. The original complaint was filed in 2008, case number L.A.S.C. BS115435.
As part of its General Plan update, the City promised to monitor and report upon its infrastructure, including public services, and population growth, and further to put building controls in place if growth was found to outpace infrastructure availability. The City has not produced and implemented an Annual Report on Growth and Infrastructure since 2000.
“With fire services being cut, police hiring being frozen, roads deteriorating, libraries schedules being cut, park staff and hours being cut, traffic gridlock, water main breaks occurring and water rationing put into effect, there is little doubt that the infrastructure is more than threatened – it is collapsing,” said Lucille Saunders of the La Brea Willoughby-Coalition, one of the groups suing. “ Now we know why.
Many of the city’s community plans clearly describe the required monitoring and mitigation set forth in the General Plan. Those community plans state:
“…if this monitoring finds that population in the Plan area is occurring faster than projected; and, that infrastructure resource capacities are threatened, particularly critical ones such as water and sewerage; and, that there is not a clear commitment to at least begin the necessary improvements within twelve months; then building controls should be put into effect, for all or portions of the West Los Angeles Community, until land use designations for the Community Plan and corresponding zoning are revised to limit development.”
The City provided further clarity in their mitigation program for the General Plan. It states:
“Lastly, the policy requires that type, amount and location of development be correlated with the provision of adequate supporting infrastructure and services”
Unfortunately, the City has failed to implement its own mandated policy, resulting in the predictable: existing residents and businesses are dealing with an utterly dysfunctional government that fails to improve its infrastructure and provide adequate public safety services.
Jim O’Sullivan of Fix the City, another group involved in the suit, stated: “We will pursue this lawsuit as far as necessary to force the city to do its job as required by law. The city’s failure to ensure adequate infrastructure is costing us police and fire coverage and putting public safety at risk. We just are not going to let that happen.” ###