On Monday, developers had to work with as many as five different city departments in Los Angeles to secure permits for a project. On Tuesday, that all changed.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened the Development Services Case Management Office, a one-stop shop designed to streamline the city’s once circuitous permitting process, alleviating some of the complaints developers had about doing business
in L.A.

“The Development Services Case Management Office is a concrete example of how we’re rethinking and reforming LA’s development process to make development reform work for everyone,” said Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.  “We are remaking city government to operate more efficiently and effectively to serve the businesses who create jobs and generate revenue for Los Angeles.”

The new office will assign a case officer to each development project, which will guide the developer through the steps required. This will make issues like entitlements, design, permitting, and improvements smoother for the developer, and the case manager will work as a mediator for any conflicts that arise along the way. The hope is that by working with one member of the city staff instead of many, a relationship will form between the city and business community.

According to a press release issued by the Mayor’s office, the case management system has been tested over the last six months, including work it has done with the Trammel Crow Company.

“The case management approach has transformed our experience of working with the City,” said Brad Cox, Senior Managing Director at Trammel Crow Company. “You go to one place, have one point person, and get answers quickly. We’re moving forward faster thanks to this change.”

The new office is part of a citywide strategy to increase revenues by creating a business-friendly environment in Los Angeles. Figures released by the Mayor’s office show the city is dependent upon development for its economic health. Development accounted for more than $3.3 billion in spending each year, and that money equates to 23,500 construction jobs.

Tackling the large, local bureaucracy in Los Angeles has required the Mayor to call upon members from across the city’s community. With the help of contractors such as KH Consulting Group, its subcontractor, Woolpert, and hundreds of business leaders, community members and city staff, the city has identified ways to streamline and modernize some of the city’s development processes.

The Case Management Office is part of the comprehensive Development Reform Strategic Plan, which has been working on the issue for the last six months. Their full recommendations will be published July 18th, and will include zoning reform, updating community plans, creation of a Development Services Cabinet, and increasing transparency.

More information about the Development Reform Strategic Plan can be found here. www.losangelesworks.org