The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday approved the framework of a new city department that will help boost business after the dismantling of the Community Redevelopment Agency.
The proposed Economic Development Department will work with a new nonprofit corporation that would seek out businesses and help steer them through the city Planning and Building and Safety departments and their permitting requirements.
"This is definitely a positive step forward," said Councilman Eric Garcetti. "We are still missing a thing or two, but the clear message is that all economic development will be in one place."
The plan calls for the department to be located in the Mayor's Office and would begin with a $32.5 million budget. Future funding would be based on deals completed. Unlike the CRA, it will not be able to keep any new property taxes generated within a project.
It is designed to serve as an entry point for developers who want to build in the city, officials said.
Council members included a number of provisions to be dealt with in the department, including consideration of minority investors and small businesses.
City Administrative Officer Miguel Santana and Chief Legislative Analyst Gerry Miller said they would also try to meet with a delegation of neighborhood council leaders to discuss the proposal and address their concerns of being excluded in the process.
The proposal received the support of business organizations,
CCA President Carol Schatz said the new agency will help counter the city's image of being unfriendly to business.
"Jobs don't miraculously appear," Schatz said. "We think this focus on job creation, with the support of the nonprofit will bring about the improvements needed."