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Villaraigosa Pick for L.A. Planning Director Wants to Focus on Customer Service, Transit and Zoning

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There's a lot of city planning to be done out there | Photo by WildCAught1 via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr

There's a lot of city planning to be done out there | Photo by WildCAught1 via LAist Featured Photos on Flickr
Although he still must be confirmed by the Los Angeles City Council, Michael LoGrande appears to be an agreeable pick to head the Planning Department. With 13 years experience at city hall, the current Chief of Zoning Administration says one of his main goals will be customer service.

"We’ve got some very, very tough budget years. A lot of the staff is on furloughs. There’s been early retirement program," he said this morning, according to the California Planning & Development Report. "But we want to show Los Angeles that we’re open for business. So whether you’re doing an addition to your house and need to come across the counter and talk to a planner or you have an issue with maybe a business that needs to be talked about about some of the conditions they have to operate to coexist well within the community. We’re here to work with you and the other city departments to make them happen."

He also emphasized Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's 30/10 transportation plan and the need to update the city's zoning codes because some date back to the 1960s, noted Curbed LA.

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“I plan to work diligently to meet the Mayor’s directive to complete the update of the community plans as well as bring a higher level of transparency to constituents," LoGrande said. "I hope to effectively implement change while building consensus between departments and among our stakeholders.”

Some neighborhood council leaders were pleased with the pick. "He works tirelessly to make the complex issues in planning easy to understand for our members," said Russell Brown, President of the Downtown Neighborhood Council. "He proactively reaches out to our community to assist whenever possible and make clear how and when we can be involved in shaping our community."

Up in Valley, Studi City Neighborhood Councilmember Lisa Sarkin added taht “Michael is frank with us, and talks to our residents in a way we understand. He is fair and always listens to our concerns."