A coalition of local business and real estate groups has formed to oppose some aspects of a storm water runoff regulation being considered by the city of Los Angeles, saying it could discourage development.
The regulation would force residential and commercial developers to install expensive systems to eliminate most runoff from their properties, pay a fee of $13 per gallon of runoff or pay for other runoff reduction projects. It would apply to most projects now in initial planning stages and to all future projects.
The aim of the regulation is to reduce the amount of pollution that flows downstream during storms to local beaches.
The regulation was crafted in anticipation of a regional water board mandate that was required by the state. The city’s plan won initial approval in January from the Board of Public Works and now goes to the City Council for adoption.
Portions of the regulation have been opposed by a coalition including the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the Valley Industry and Commerce Association and the local chapters of the Building Industry Association, the Building Owners and Managers Association and the National Association of Industrial Properties.
The regulation requires developers of projects with more than 500 square feet of space to install systems that capture 100 percent of runoff from a storm generating three-quarters of an inch of rain. Those could include artificial absorption systems, or the use of plants and other biological materials to let water seep into the ground. Also possible are cisterns to capture water and then reuse it.
The Department of Public Works issued a brochure showing successful runoff control strategies. Included was a photo of the Versailles Luxury Apartment complex in Koreatown, which uses planter boxes to capture rainwater.
Developers have two options for any remaining runoff: They could fund a project to reduce runoff from a nearby site or pay the $13 per gallon fee.
The business and real estate coalition opposes the fee. In a Jan. 8 letter to the Board of Public Works, group leaders said Los Angeles County does not require a mitigation fee for projects on unincorporated land. As a result, “we believe that it will only discourage new development in the city,” the letter stated.
Also, the coalition wants the city to lower planning fees of up to $1,000 that are included in the ordinance.
The city of Los Angeles is developing its first ordinance to regulate the valet parking industry.
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