Wednesday, September 7, 2011

CALL TO ACTION: Please Support AB 710 (Skinner) - Infill Development & Sustainable Community Act of 2011

Dear Senator Padilla:

From what I hear, we are just ONE vote short of having AB 710 (Skinner) pass in the California Senate.  

Therefore, it is with strong passion that I am writing to encourage you to VOTE YES to SUPPORT the Infill Development & Sustainability Community Act of 2011.

I am also reaching out to my LA-area colleagues with encouragement to register their support directly with you, as well.

AB 710, if passed, will create parking standards appropriate for small lot/infill developments; unless the jurisdiction makes written findings that more parking is required for the specific area.  The goals of AB 710 also greatly complement the objectives of the proposed City of Los Angeles' Modified Parking Requirements District Ordinance.  Together, these policies will help make Los Angeles more economically and environmentally sustainable!

Overall, well-balanced parking requirements:
1. facilitate sustainable urban in-fill,
2. lower the cost of housing and development in general,
3. enhance the accessibility of neighborhood-serving public amenities,
4. disincentivize excessive driving by encouraging more pedestrian behavior,
5. foster opportunities to promote environmental conservation,
6. help lower the heat-island effect,
7. prevent auto-related pollutants entering into our air, rivers and oceans.

AB 710 is a win-win for Los Angeles.  It encourages sustainable development and will provide an economic boost to the region by enabling many urban infill projects to go forward without the undue burden of expensive parking requirements.


AB 710 will spur job development in the construction industry, promote urban development, reinforce California's competitiveness for federal transportation dollars, and support the implementation of SB 375.

The real focus of AB 710 is to provide for the development of residential and commercial units on small lots in urbanized areas, near established transit corridors. The development of these small lots is beneficial to our communities and environmentally preferred, but more expensive than traditional development. AB 710 mitigates this increased cost requirement by decreasing the cost from excessive parking requirements – requirement not originally meant for small lots in urban settings.

These smaller urban lots require less dedicated parking space than other types of developments. In most cases, this is due to the number of and convenience of other transportation options and the proximity of housing to employment, schools, and commercial establishments.

Urban development is a critical component to the state's environmental, economic, and public health goals. AB 710 helps the state reach all of these goals.


Local and regional agencies in California are leading the way in planning new and revitalized communities that provide more economic, environmental, public health, and equity benefits. Developing these new communities in existing urban areas will help reduce the expansion of the current development footprint, while also providing more transportation and housing options near job centers, improve air quality, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and provide more green space.

This planning philosophy will call for less single-use, low- density developments and more 'infill development,' where housing and housing mixed with commercial and retail facilities are built more efficiently using less space.

Sustainable development is another primary goal of the state. California has taken steps over the last several years to establish programs and policies to help incentivize sustainable regional/local planning and development efforts; however, there is still much that can be done to remove barriers and incentivize new development with public transit and alternative transportation options. One such barrier, which has been highlighted in many studies, is the standard requirement for parking units that is applied to all developments, regardless of the actual need for them. Most regional and local communities still use a single-use, single-family home standard for parking, even though these developments are located in heavily-urbanized and transit-rich planning areas. AB 710 would decrease the minimum parking requirements in specific areas, thereby increasing project feasibility and lowering project costs.

For more information, please contact:

Will Wright  
Director of Government & Public Affairs  
AIA Los Angeles  

3780 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 800
Los Angeles, CA 90010
213.639.0764  phone
213.639.0767  fax

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