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Windsor Square Resident Vince Bertoni Takes Helm of City Planning Department

Vince Bertoni, Windsor Square resident takes over City Planning Department
Vince Bertoni, a Windsor Square resident, takes over as Director of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning

Last month, Vince Bertoni, a resident of Windsor Square, was confirmed by the City Council as Director of the Los Angeles Department of City Planning.  Bertoni takes over the department at a time when two planning initiatives (the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative and Better Build LA) are  being circulated for signatures for the November ballot.  Bertoni served for five years as the City of Pasadena’s Planning and Community Development Director, where he managed Pasadena’s General Plan update, a task he’s also been assigned for Los Angeles.

In a recent interview with The Planning Report, a trade publication that serves the planning profession, Bertoni said, “We don’t have any choice but to update our community plans so that we can connect a long-term view of what our city ought to look like to an actual development project before us. Then we can evaluate that project, asking: Is this right or wrong for what we want to see in Los Angeles?”

Updating the community plans is a key issue in the debate surrounding the competing ballot measures. So is community engagement. Bertoni told the The Planning Report that he plans to apply the successful tactics he’s used in Pasadena to Los Angeles. Instead of talking to each side individually, Bertoni values having an inclusive dialogue.

“In the smaller cities, they’re all in the same room. They all talk to each other and they start to see the give-and-take. Over time, they start to appreciate the variety of viewpoints. I think we have to learn from that in Los Angeles,” Bertoni told the The Planning Report, 

When asked how to restore credibility to the planning process, Bertoni said, “First and foremost, you have to believe in the process as the public official. You have to be open to hearing from the community and you have to approach the process in such a way that the various viewpoints are really going to matter. In many cases, people lose respect for the process and don’t believe in its integrity if they don’t believe people are really listening to them.”

And there’s no shortage of opinions on what Bertoni should do next, as demonstrated in a recent opinion column by Dick Platkin, a retired city planner supporting the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, in CityWatch.

Before joining the City of Pasadena, Bertoni served as Deputy Planning Director in Los Angeles, where he oversaw the adoption of 16 historic preservation overlay zones, new guidelines for the Broadway Historic District, a bicycle master plan and a Hollywood community plan. Bertoni also held lead planning posts in the cities of Beverly Hills, Santa Clarita and Malibu, and he serves as a member of the California Planning Roundtable.

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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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