New Code

Several years ago, City Planning set out to create a modern and efficient zoning system for Los Angeles. The proposed approach aims to establish a new Zoning Code that is more responsive to the needs of Los Angeles’s neighborhoods, in addition to being easier to use.

While conventional methods of zoning have traditionally focused on prohibiting incompatible uses, the new approach focuses on the physical design of a building as well as its use. As City Planning launches updates to its 35 Community Plans, new zoning will be developed to implement the policies and goals for the different neighborhoods across Los Angeles.

The proposed zoning structure consists of five key parts or “districts”: Form, Frontage, Development Standards, Use, and Density. While Form, Frontage, and Development Standards regulate the built environment, Use and Density refer to the activities allowed on a site.

Zoning String Explanation

drawing of form districts

Form Districts
Form Districts determine how large buildings can be.

drawing of frontage districts

Frontage Districts
Frontage Districts influence how buildings appear from the street level, from their proximity to the street to their ground floor height requirements.

drawing of development standards districts

Development Standards Districts
Development Standards Districts regulate certain design elements around the building, including those relating to access, parking, and signs.

drawing of use districts

Use Districts
Use Districts determine what kinds of activities are allowed on a property―ranging from residential to commercial and, in some instances, a mix of uses.

drawing of density districts

Density Districts
Density Districts determine the number of housing units permitted on any site zoned for residential units.

 

Project Update

On August 6, 2020, City Planning released the Preliminary Draft of the new Zoning Code with the districts and provisions needed for the Downtown Community Plan (DTLA 2040) alongside the Draft EIR for the Downtown Community Plan Update and new Zoning Code. The Preliminary Draft of the new Zoning Code is available below.  

9 - Public Benefit Programs
10 - Streets and Parks
11 - Division of Land
12 - Nonconformities
13 - Administration [Scheduled for future release]
14 - General Rules & Definitions
15 - Fee [Scheduled for future release]
 

Downtown (DTLA 2040) will be the first plan area to apply the new zoning. View the draft Downtown zones on the story map. City Planning has also developed new zoning for the Boyle Heights Community Plan Update.

After Boyle Heights, select neighborhoods in the Harbor, the Southeast and Southwest San Fernando Valley, and the Westside will apply the new zoning framework now in development.

Zoning Code History

1904

In 1904, Los Angeles adopted an ordinance that established the nation’s first land use restrictions—prohibiting industrial uses in residential districts. Four years later, the City enacted its first zoning ordinance and divided Los Angeles into industrial and residential districts.

2013

In 2013, City Planning set out to create a modern zoning system, undertaking a comprehensive revision of the City’s Zoning Code. The project is intended to provide a more flexible range of zoning options that speak to the local architecture, history, and vision of the City's neighborhoods. Planning staff met with stakeholders to introduce the project, answer questions, and gather initial feedback.

1921

In 1921, the City established a zoning ordinance that separated Los Angeles into five zones, identified by the letters A to E. These letters designate the allowable uses onsite: A = single-family homes, B = non-residential, C = industrial, D = heavy industrial, and E = unlimited.

2014

City Planning released its Zoning Code Evaluation Report, which outlined the direction and structure of the new Zoning Code and other long-range planning goals, based on community input.

1930

The next major shift in Los Angeles's zoning structure was the adoption of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance in 1930, when the City created three main zones to regulate existing land uses (R = residential, C = Commercial, and M = Manufacturing), along with several sub-categories.

2020

City Planning unveiled its new zoning framework for Los Angeles—a responsive, modern, and tailored system that will eventually be applied citywide.

1946

The number of ordinances regulating land use in Los Angeles eventually grew to 11, resulting in the adoption of a new ordinance in 1946 that consolidated the existing regulations. Over the next four decades, changes to the Zoning Code occurred incrementally.

 

Zoning Timeline

1904

In 1904, Los Angeles adopted an ordinance that established the nation’s first land use restrictions—prohibiting industrial uses in residential districts. Four years later, the City enacted its first zoning ordinance and divided Los Angeles into industrial and residential districts.

1921

In 1921, the City established a zoning ordinance that separated Los Angeles into five zones, identified by the letters A to E. These letters designated the allowable uses onsite: A = single-family homes, B = non-residential, C = industrial, D = heavy industrial, and E = unlimited.

1930

The next major shift in Los Angeles's zoning structure was the adoption of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance in 1930, when the City created three main zones to regulate existing land uses (R = residential, C = Commercial, and M = Manufacturing), along with several sub-categories.

1946

The number of ordinances regulating land use in Los Angeles eventually grew to 11, resulting in the adoption of a new ordinance in 1946 that consolidated the existing regulations. Over the next four decades, changes to the Zoning Code occurred incrementally.

2013

In 2013, City Planning set out to create a modern zoning system, undertaking a comprehensive revision of the City’s Zoning Code. The project is intended to provide a more flexible range of zoning options that speak to the local architecture, history, and vision of the City's neighborhoods. Planning staff met with stakeholders to introduce the project, answer questions, and gather initial feedback.

2014

City Planning released its Zoning Code Evaluation Report, which outlined the direction and structure of the new Zoning Code and other long-range planning goals, based on community input.

2020

City Planning unveiled its new zoning framework for Los Angeles—a responsive, modern, and tailored system that will eventually be applied citywide.