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L.A. Mayor Launches Program To Fast-Track Building For Accessory Dwelling Units

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Mayor Eric Garcetti launched the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Standard Plan Program on Friday — a new initiative administered by Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety (LADBS) that offers builders and homeowners a variety of pre-approved ADU building plans and designs to allow for faster and less expensive permitting. 

“Every day, Los Angeles and our residents tackle our greatest challenges with creativity, innovation, resilience, and an immeasurable can-do spirit,” said Garcetti in a statement. “This program is about making ADUs more accessible, more affordable, and more beautiful — and making them part of the blueprint of our efforts to tackle our housing crunch and create more affordable communities citywide.”

In midst of L.A.’s current housing crisis, ADUs have become critical to the City’s ability to expand and diversify the supply of housing. Since updates to State law making it easier to build ADUs took effect in 2017, ADUs now comprise 22% of newly-permitted housing units. 

After a year of development and a 7-month pilot phase, the ADU Standard Plan Program gives homeowners access to 20 pre-approved design options from 10 different firms. By choosing from one of the pre-approved layouts, homeowners can now reduce the LADBS plan check review process from four to six weeks to as little as one day.  

Courtesy Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety and SO-IL

Angelenos will be able to access the pre-approved designs on the ADU Standard Plan website. The designs will help simplify, expedite, and reduce the cost of the overall permitting process by offering consumer protection from contractor abuses; direct access to architecture firms who have secured approved plans; and flexible designs that will work for most residentially zoned properties.

The ADU standard plans — which build off an existing LADBS Standard Plan for swimming pools, stairwells, and other design features — are designed to accommodate a range of homeowner needs, from small studios to larger, two-story layouts. Another 8 designs from 4 additional firms are pending approval, giving the program a total of 10 local firms within the L.A. region. The program is open to all architects, contractors, and other firms able to meet the program’s basic requirements. Interested firms can learn more here

“The Standard Plan Program will dramatically streamline the process for homeowners of selecting and getting an ADU design approved by LADBS while at the same time supporting the work of Los Angeles architects and extending the City’s rich tradition of innovation in residential architecture,” said Christopher Hawthorne, Chief Design Officer for the City of Los Angeles in a statement. “The ADU plans available at launch include contributions from some of the most talented architecture and design firms at work in Los Angeles and around the country — and we look forward to seeing new designs added to the mix.”

Building off the rising interest in ADUs, the City has continued to explore ways to reduce the time associated with securing ADU permits to bolster L.A.’s affordable housing stock. Mayor Garcetti launched the L.A. ADU Accelerator in fall of 2019 to allow homeowners to rent their accessory dwelling units to older adults facing housing insecurity in exchange for benefits such as tenant screening, timely rent, and landlord support. 

Last month, Councilmembers Kevin de León and Bob Blumenfield led a motion in the City Council that builds off the work of the ADU Standard Plan Program to call on the Bureau of Engineering, LADBS, the Los Angeles Housing and Community Investment Department, and City Planning to develop standard plans for modular multi-family homeless and affordable housing, bungalow courts, and ADUs.

“It’s imperative that we bring down the cost of housing in LA and this program adds new tools to help us with that goal,” said Councilmember Bob Blumenfield in a statement. “ADUs are an affordable way to create units and it’s important that we continue to take steps like this, streamlining the processes so more can go up faster.”

For more information about the program and its participants, please visit the website here.

Renderings of the pre-approved designs can be found here

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Community Remembers Fallen Firefighter Tory Carlon Killed In Agua Dulce Shooting

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Firefighter Tory Carlon Agua Dulce Shooting (1)
Photo Courtesy of the L.A. County Fire Department

The community celebrated the life of fallen firefighter Tory Carlon, who was killed while at his station in an Agua Dulce shooting, with a service at The Forum on Thursday. 

Carlon was remembered as a loving father, husband and dedicated public servant who “was truly loved by our department,” said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby.

“This loss is extremely heartbreaking and tough, but also what remains in the hearts of many of us is Tory and how fondly we remember him for the man that he was,” Osby said.

Bagpipers and a drumline opened the ceremony at the iconic Inglewood stadium, filled with friends, family and fellow firefighters. 

John Denton, a chaplain for the Los Angeles Fire Department, led the prayer and added he was able to really get to know Carlon through his family. 

Carlon was a member of the department for over 20 years, who started as an explorer, then moved onto the United States Forest Service before joining L.A. County. 

Osby spoke about the “fire family,” noting the support shown at Joslyn Carlon’s graduation where hundreds of firefighters showed support for the young woman who just lost her father.

“Words cannot express how I miss seeing his smile,” Joslyn said at the memorial. “I looked up to him in so many ways, we had such a special daddy, daughter relationship.”

Captain David Gillotte, president of L.A. County Fire Fighters Local 1014, said to the hundreds of department members in the crowd there was “strength in our solidarity.” 

Carlon was a “jokester,” who made everyone smile at the station and made the world a better place, Gillotte said. 

“My only with is I said this in person, but I think you know, I love you,” said Firefighter-Paramedic Gary Reichman, a longtime friend.

On Tuesday, the department honored Carlon with a flag ceremony at Fire Station No. 131 in Palmdale to dedicate the Stars and Stripes which were raised during his “last assignment.”

After the ceremony, the flag was presented to his family, remembering the firefighter taken too soon. 

Firefighter Tory Carlon Agua Dulce Shooting (2)
Photo Courtesy of the L.A. County Fire Department

Just before 11 a.m. on June 1, an off-duty firefighter opened fire at Station 81 in Agua Dulce. 

Two firefighters were struck by gunfire, with Carlon sustaining fatal injuries. 

The second victim, Captain Arnie Sandoval, was in “critical, but stable” condition after the shooting.

“We all recognize that the work that our firefighters and firefighter-paramedics do is a very dangerous and arduous profession, and in many times, they put their lives in danger to protect them and serve others when they receive 911 calls for service, but yet as a fire chief, I never thought that when our firefighters face danger that they would face that danger in one of our community fire stations,” Osby said on the day of the incident.

The off-duty firefighter was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his residence after setting the building ablaze, according to the fire chief. 

Carlon leaves behind his wife, Heidi, and three young daughters.

“Everyone who knew Tory, loved him. He was an extremely dedicated father and husband who brought a sense of calm to everyone,” Deborah Stilson wrote in a GoFundMe. “He absolutely loved being a firefighter and to serving others. His family and friends are devastated by this loss.”

To support the Carlon family, visit here.

Note: This story has been updated with additional quotes from the memorial service.

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Six Flags Magic Mountain Lifts Capacity Limit, Modifies Mask Requirement

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Six Flags Magic Mountain
Photo Courtesy of Six Flags

Six Flags Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor have lifted capacity limits and removed the mask requirement for fully vaccinated guests.

Starting June 15 as California fully reopens, both of the Valencia parks are now welcoming out of state residents, with no reservations required for any visitors, according to Jerry Certonio, manager of marketing and communications for Magic Mountain. 

It is highly recommended that all unvaccinated guests continue to wear masks, especially while indoors, Certonio added. 

Team members will continue to wear masks and undergo temperature screening, according to the spokesperson. 

Other Southern California theme parks, including Disneyland, have also lifted the mask mandate for fully vaccinated guests. 

The California Blueprint for a Safer Economy was lifted Tuesday, with certain restrictions in place for “high risk” activities.

On April 1, Magic Mountain opened its gates for the first time since the pandemic, becoming the first amusement park to reopen in Los Angeles County.

The “Thrill Capital of the World” closed on March 13, 2020, with Six Flags officials expecting at the time to evaluate reopening “by the end of the month.” That closure was first extended until mid-May, later lasting over a year. 

For more information, visit the Six Flags Magic Mountain website.

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L.A. City Pools To Repen Just In Time For Heatwave

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LA County Pool Lifeguard

Several City of Los Angeles pools are reopening on Monday just in for the triple-digit heatwave to help Angelenos stay cool.

On June 14, the City is opening 26 pools, including nine in the San Fernando Valley, after being closed last season due to COVID-19 concerns, according to the L.A. Department of Recreation and Parks and Recreation

This year, L.A. City Parks pools will be providing swim lessons, aquatic team sports, junior lifeguarding, and recreational swimming following COVID-19 guidelines and protocol, the department said in a statement.

The large pool at Hansen Dam is reopening, as well as pools in Canoga Park, Northridge, North Hollywood, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Sun Valley and Van Nuys. 

In-person and online registration for joining aquatic team sports, swimming lessons and junior lifeguard are expected to be available starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 19. 

Prospective participants are welcome to visit pools in person beginning Monday before committing to a class or program, according to the department. 

The Los Angeles Recreation and Parks Department offers families and community members many affordable and safe aquatic activities at their public pools, lakes and beaches.

With drowning the second-leading cause of accidental death for children under 14, kids must learn to swim and understand how to be safe around all bodies of water. Swim L.A. is one of many programs offered by the City’s Aquatics Division, according to department officials.

Swim L.A. ensures that young Angelenos between the ages of 4 and 17 have more opportunities to learn how to swim. 

For more information and to register for swim classes or aquatic sports, visit here.

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