How long does it take to get approvals to build on vacant land in Los Angeles?
As a vacant land specialist, you can imagine how often I am asked this question. If I'm not asked, then I bring it up in my first communication with any potential buyer. Transparency is important, particularly if a potential land buyer comes from a different state or country where the approval process is less than a hundred days which is vastly different than here in Los Angeles.
When I started selling land 26 years ago in Los Angeles, approvals from the Los Angeles Building Department would take approximately 8 months from start to finish. While 8 months seemed a long time, the logical and acceptable explanation was that most of our land is hillside, hence the Department wanted to be certain that a proposed house would not slide off the hill once constructed. Topography Surveys and Geotechnical Reports to determine the depth of the bedrock at the particular site were required, followed by a design of the layout of the house in reference to the land. Understandably, this took some time and would ultimately (hopefully) protect neighbors and the future homeowner from the new construction sliding down the hillside.
One would think this would be a relatively straight-forward process. Unfortunately, over time, regional neighborhoods have collectively developed activism and the short answer is "NIMBY" - Not In My Back Yard. For example, we have the Laurel Canyon Neighborhood Association, the Beachwood Canyon Neighborhood Association, the Benedict Canyon Neighborhood Association, the Mulholland Scenic Review Board and the Coastal Commission (just to name a few). Nowadays, depending upon where the land is located, what once took 8 months can now take 2 to 3 years to get approvals. Thus, we have a fairly new industry of "Expeditors''. Expeditor fees vary depending on the land's location and value of the neighborhood. Over the years, I've often felt as if there were people waiting for the envelope to be passed. While many thought I was being sarcastic and pessimistic about the approval process, it seems as if we now have a legitimate profession of it! 😀
If you were keeping up with Los Angeles news, there was a Councilman whom the FBI arrested for accepting money from developers. Ironically, if you looked at some particular vacant land listings, certain descriptions stated “great opportunity to build in Council District #6”.
There has been an ongoing discussion by larger developers that they do not want to build in Los Angeles simply because of the long approval process. Many complain that we do not have enough homes to support the buyers and because of this, prices remain extraordinarily high limiting the affordability factor. If you were to ask this Vacant Land Listing Agent how to fix the problem, I would suggest shortening the approval process timeline thus allowing more homes to be built faster. That translates to more homes, then the affordability factor will become a reality.
Hoping you enjoyed my second of three posts. Thank you Dr. Paula McDonald & Kathy Streib for the inspiration
Wishing you a safe and healthy life and I look forward to your comments. If you are looking for a knowledgeable, focused and goal-oriented Realtor in the Beverly Hills area who will help you achieve your Real Estate goals, please reach out to me directly! If you are looking for a pet friendly Beverly Hills Realtor who can handle and sell the most difficult properties that no one else could, please reach out to me directly!! If you are considering buying or selling a home, a luxury home, luxury investment real estate, luxury vacation homes, or luxury beach properties in Southern California, Los Angeles, Century City, Westwood, West Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Marina Del Rey, Venice or Malibu, feel free to contact me at 310.486.1002 ( m) email@example.com or visit one of my websites at https://www.endrebarath.com I contribute a portion of my commission to local animal rescue organizations. Endre Barath, Jr. Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties DRE#01238708