Low Impact Development Passes L.A. City Council

December 18, 2010 § 1 Comment

The new LID ordinance will make permeable pavement sidewalks more common

At its final meeting of the year, yesterday, Friday December 17th 2010, the Los Angeles City Council passed “LID”  Low Impact Development. You can read some earlier background at Creek Freak and elsewhere, but basically it means that, in the city of Los Angeles, new development (and substantial redevelopment) will need will need to be more sustainable in regards to rainwater. Buildings, landscapes, parking lots, etc. will need to slow, detain and store and/or infiltrate water on-site, instead of speeding it into storm drains, creeks, rivers, and the sea.

This took a while. L.A. Creek Freak started reporting on the city of L.A. efforts in September 2009, attended a workshop in October 2009, and reported on the Public Works Board passing LID  in January 2010. Plenty more excellent coverage is available at Heal the Bay’s Mark Gold’s Spouting Off.

It also took a great deal of effort from the city’s Board of Public Works and the Bureau of Sanitation’s Watershed Protection Division – in conjunction with city environmentalists, especially Heal the Bay, TreePeople, and Green L.A. Coalition. Some developers and building industry folks have opposed LID because it can make make some construction more expensive. Ultimately, though there had been opposition at earlier hearings, LID passed council with no elected’s nor public speaker’s opposition. It slipped in quietly via the consent calendar.

There are still a few steps before the mass proliferation of creek-friendly developments, too – the motion that passed directs the City Attorney to prepare the regulations, then those get adopted and take effect… stay tuned.

I’ll close with the words of L.A. Public Works Commissioner Paula Daniels, the city’s water sustainability champion whose persistence was critical to LID’s passage. In an open letter emailed to Creek Freak and others, Commissioner Daniels wrote:

Greetings, friends!

There was a gentle rain blessing Los Angeles as I drove to City Hall this morning.  In the car, on the freeway, I thought of it as a good sign — and it was.

This morning, the Los Angeles City Council quietly and unanimously passed the LID proposal.  Technically speaking, they passed on consent calendar a motion to direct the City Attorney’s office to prepare and present the LID ordinance as we proposed in the December 14 hearing of the Energy and
Environment Committee.

This was a year end gift, to be sure.  The city council had a very crowded agenda but they put the matter on calender so it could be heard in the last session of 2010.  Thanks go to Councilmembers Perry and Garcetti for that, and to Councilmember Perry for her support in moving it forward.

There are so many people who worked so hard to make this happen;  it really takes a village.  Special mention goes to our Bureau of Sanitation staff, a top notch team of whom I am very proud: Adel Hagekhalil, Shahram Kharaghani, Robert Vega and Michael Scaduto.

We expect that it will be another couple of months before it comes back from the City Attorney’s office. There will be another vote at that time, and we can have a big celebration then!

As the spirit of this season of gratitude blooms, please know how much I am grateful to each of you for your help on this effort, and for everything you do every day to make a world of difference.

With best wishes for the new year,


Commissioner, Board of Public Works
200 N. Spring St.
City Hall, Suite 361
Los Angeles, CA 90012

Postscript: just as I was writing this, I found Spouting Off posted their LID passage article here earlier today.


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