01a - Highway Dedication Investigations

Revised on 07-01-2020

Highway Dedication Investigation


The following sections detail the information BOE staff must gather in order to determine if a project is subject to LAMC 12.37 - Highway and Collector Street Dedication and Improvement and thus an investigation.  When determining if a property is subject to dedication, there are many concurrent activities and many tasks that must happen before a determination can be made.  

Determining if a Project is Subject to LAMC 12.37

Determining 12-37 Flow Chart

In order to determine whether or not a property/project is subject to LAMC 12.37, BOE will perform an initial project assessment.  BOE staff should perform this assessment, prior to initiating a Highway Dedication Investigation or signing off the Highway Dedication Clearance on the Clearance Summary Worksheet.  The following details each of the steps BOE staff will take in the assessment.

  1. Review the Applicant's Clearance Summary Worksheet/Building Permit Application for Planning Conditions and Scope of Work.  If there are no Planning Conditions shown, BOE will need to review ZIMAS for additional information and to determine LAMC 12.37.   
    1. Exceptions to dedication requirements, per LAMC 12.37(B).
      1. Not Subject to LAMC 12.37 - One single-family dwelling with customary accessory buildings when erected on a vacant lot.
      2. Not Subject to LAMC 12.37 - Additions and accessory buildings incidental to a legally existing residential building, provided no additional dwelling units or guest rooms are created
      3. Not Subject to LAMC 12.37 - Additions and accessory buildings incidental to a legally existing non- residential building, provided that the total cumulative floor area of all such additions and accessory buildings shall not exceed 500 square feet.  LADBS determines if a project is subject to LAMC 12.37 by placing the item on the Clearance Summary Worksheet, BOE shall not make this determination.
    2. Special Circumstance Making a Project Subject to LAMC 12.37 - If a second unit is being added to an R-1, per AB 1866 (Case No. ZA 2016- 4167-(ZAI) Zoning Administrator’s Interpretation).  The parcel may be subject to R-3 dedication and/or public right-of-way improvements, including curb ramps.
  2. Review ZIMAS to determine the following:
    1. Zone (zone determination can also be done through NavigateLA by reviewing "Parcel Profile Report (BAS)”):  If the parcel is located in an R-3 or less restrictive zone (verify less restrictive zones on the Department of City Planning’s list of Generalized Summary of Zoning Regulations), or RD1.5, RD2 or RD3 the project IS subject to LAMC 12.37.
    2. If necessary, BOE to confirm Planning Conditions by opening the Case Numbers dropdown from the left and selecting the referenced Case Number shown on the Applicants Clearance Summary Worksheet.  The four options BOE will have are:
      1. Subdivision/PM Case - TT or VTT in the right column (Tract)
        1. Open all ​​​​​Letter(s) of Determination, Rev. to Determination, or Clarifications and review for amendments and/or changes.  Start with the oldest documents first and work your way to present documents.  All documents need to be considered as requirements may change over time.
          1. "Bureau of Engineering - Specific Conditions" - Highway Dedication requirements
          2. "Bureau of Engineering - Standard Conditions" (also referred to as "S" Conditions) - Improvement requirements
      2. Subdivision/PM Case - AA in the right column (Parcel)
        1. Open all ​​​​​Letter(s) of Determination, Rev. to Determination, or Clarifications and review for amendments and/or changes.  Start with the oldest documents first and work your way to present documents.  All documents need to be considered as requirements may change over time.
          1. "Bureau of Engineering - Specific Conditions" - Highway Dedication requirements
          2. "Bureau of Engineering - Standard Conditions" (also referred to as "S" Conditions) - Improvement requirements
      3. Director of Planning  - DIR in the right column
        1. Open all ​​​​​Letter(s) of Determination, Rev. to Determination, or Clarifications and review for amendments and/or changes.  Start with the oldest documents first and work your way to present documents.  All documents need to be considered as requirements may change over time.
          1. "Bureau of Engineering" - Highway Dedication and/or Improvement Requirements will be shown
      4. City Planning Commission - CPC with VZC or ZC in the right column (Zone Change)
        1. Open all ​​​​​Letter(s) of Determination, Rev. to Determination, or Clarifications and review for amendments and/or changes.  Start with the oldest documents first and work your way to present documents.  All documents need to be considered as requirements may change over time.
          1. "Conditions for Effectuating (T) Tentative Classification Removal" - Review for Highway Dedication and/or Improvement requirements
          2. "(Q) Qualified Conditions for Approval" - If no conditions are found in the above section, review this section for any Highway Dedication and/or Improvement requirements
  3. Review NavigateLA for the following:Mobility 2035 Cover Photo
    1. Verify Street Designation 
      1. Determine the Street Designation (per the Mobility Plan 2035) to determine street classification. (Per LAMC 12.37, Major and Secondary Highways was the term used for Street Designations which have now been renamed to Avenues and Boulevards per the Mobility Plan 2035)
        1. Zoom into the appropriate map scale (at least 1 : 9,028) and click on the street centerline.  The street designation will appear in the menu on the left-hand side.  The project is subject to LAMC 12.37 when:
          1. Property is adjacent to a Boulevard, Avenue, or Collector Street OR is adjacent to a local street AND within 300 feet of an Avenue or Boulevard.
  4. If the project belongs to the Department of Recreation and Parks (DRP), the above investigation is still required.  The following procedure for handling these projects are documented in Special Order 006-1004 dated October 4, 2004.  The Special Order was issued because the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners is the only authority which can approve the dedication, or assure future dedication, of dedicated park property.
    1. Dedication with Improvements:  When street improvements are required for access to a new or existing park facility and construction is fully funded, DRP staff will recommend, by a Board Report, that the Board of Recreation and Parks Commissioners dedicate the necessary right-of-way.
    2. Dedication without Improvements (R3 Ordinance):  When a dedication without a requirement for street or sidewalk improvements would normally be requested by BOE, the entire park frontage may be identified by BOE on its' maps with appropriate notation that: "A required dedication will be obtained in the future. A building setback requirement of xx feet shall be applied." This means that any development of parks, including required parking, front yard setback and other building code requirements shall be designed and constructed so as not to encroach beyond the setback line. In other words, the facility shall be designed and constructed to be in full compliance in the future should a highway dedication be obtained from DRP and street improvements finally be constructed.
    3. Existing Street and Discretionary Actions Without Improvements:  In cases where a street is existing, and the half-street improvements are not required (2 feet or less), BOE will not require additional dedication of park land at this time but will provide appropriate notation on its maps for a future dedication and setback line as in Item 2 above. In the case of the development of a new or expanded park facility where street improvements currently exist but have been constructed on park property without the benefit of an actual street dedication, BOE will provide a request for an easement or dedication of the existing street, on park land, from the DRP Board. Such a request must be accompanied by a legal description and a map of the existing improvements.
  5. If the project is subject to LAMC 12.37, BOE to p​​​​​​rovide the Applicant with the Highway Dedication Investigation Checklist

Project is Not Subject to LAMC 12.37

Project Not Subject to LAMC 12.37_flow chart

If BOE has determined your project is not subject to LAMC 12.37 per the procedures above, BOE will provide a clearance on the Applicant's Clearance Summary Worksheet per the 02 - Highway Dedication section under Building & Safety Clearances.  The Applicant may still be required to provide improvements which are determined by BOE performing a Highway Dedication Investigation (only to determine improvement requirements).

Project is Subject to LAMC 12.37

Project Subject to LAMC 12.37_flow chart

​​​Once the Applicant returns to the counter with all the appropriate documents, as requested in the Highway Investigation Checklist.   BOE staff will perform the following tasks within the Highway Dedication Tracking System.  This system allows City staff to document and track cases.  This system is NOT available to the public.  Throughout the Highway Dedication Process, BOE staff will be updating the online system and investigating or processing the application.

  1. BOE to collect the Non-Refundable, Highway Dedication Investigation Fee (LAMC 11.12) prior to BOE staff performing any investigation
  2. BOE to create a new record in the Highway Dedication Tracking System per the instructions under "Dedication Processing - On-Line Application Procedures" step 1-12.  ​​​​​​BOE will select "Investigation" in Step 2.
  3. BOE to start the investigation and determine Highway Dedication and/or Improvement requirements
    1. Dedication Determination
      1. In Navigate LA, click the “Table of Contents” button to show the available Layers. 
      2. Turn on the “Dimensions” layer under Landbase then Landbase Annotation to review the existing street right-of-way dimensions. 
      3. Click on the center line in front of the property and review the “Designation” and Right-of-Way Width (Designated) fields. You can save the layers you select under your My NavigateLA.
        1. CLARIFICATION:  Right of way width may vary throughout the public right of way and each property owner (one on each side of the center line) is responsible for dedicating an amount as established by the 2035 Mobility Plan.  In some cases, the centerline of the right of way will not be located in the center of the street because the street is curved or skewed.
      4. Verify the limitations of the dedication by reviewing the following:
        1. Area of dedication cannot exceed 25% of the lot area.
        2. Dedication reduces the lot below a width of 50-ft.
        3. Dedication reduces the lot below an area of 5,000 sf.
        4. Dedication cannot be taken over an existing building that will remain.
      5. Compare the existing right-of-way width to the current Standard Street Dimension (S 470—1) width from property line to property line.  If the existing half right-of-way width is less than the standard half right-of-way dimension, the difference will be the dedication requirement.
    2. Improvement Determination 
      1. BOE to schedule a field investigation to observe existing conditions to determine if improvements will be required
        1. BOE to print a copy of the project location from NavigateLA and take to the field  for "field markups"  
        2. Photograph the existing sidewalks, alley way pavement conditions, curbs, gutters, curb ramps, driveways, existing encroachments, etc.
        3. Note any missing infrastructure like gutters, curbs, etc.
        4. Measure any repairs that may be necessary.  For example if a sidewalk is broken, BOE should measure the length of the broken sidewalk and mark this on the sheet that was printed from NavigateLA.
  4. Once the investigation is complete, BOE  should open the applicable record within the Highway Dedication Tracking System
  5. Click "Attachments" from the left menu
    1. Upload all documents that were obtained during the investigation.  Files should be named in an easy to understand manner.
  6. Click "Prepare Documents" from the menu on the left side.  BOE Staff to prepare the "Letter of Requirements to Customer" for the Applicant per the instructions under "Dedication Processing - On-Line Application Procedures" Step 13.  Provide the Applicant with a copy of the Letter of Requirements.
  7. Additional information to be provided to the Applicant:
    1. NO Highway Dedication:
      1. Provide the Applicant with their Building & Safety Clearance for Highway Dedication per the procedures in Building & Safety Clearances, Technical Procedures, Clearance Summary Worksheet Clearances, 02 - Highway Dedication.
      2. Copy of the map from Navigate LA and sketch of the improvements, including dimensions (this could be the same one that was marked up by BOE during the investigation process)
      3. Answers regarding any required documents including any improvements that will be required per LAMC 91.106.4.7.1
      4. If the Applicant is required to make improvements, this would be done through the issuance of an A or B Construction Permit and BOE to sign off the “Permit for Construction of Driveways/Curb Ramps/Sidewalks” section of the Clearance Summary Worksheet in PCIS per the procedures in Building & Safety Clearances, Technical Procedures, Clearance Summary Worksheet Clearances, 07 - Permits (Driveway, Curb Ramps, and Sidewalks)
    2. Dedication IS required
      1. Dedication Application Checklist (previous/revised version of the checklist is located online in the BOE Highway Dedication Tracking System - TO REPLACE) (additional processing, per the  guideline in 01 - Dedication Processing, will be needed once the Applicant returns to the BOE counter with the required information)
      2. Copy of the map from Navigate LA and sketch of the proposed dedication, including the dimensions required for the dedication (this could be the same one that was marked up by BOE during the investigation process)
      3. Answers regarding any required documents including any improvements that will be required per LAMC 91.106.4.7.1
      4. Discuss with the Applicant the involved departments/groups where the application will be routed and approved
      5. Discuss with the Applicant this is an offer that is typically accepted by the City Engineer and City Planning, and any risks involved
      6. If the Applicant is required to make improvements, this would be done through the issuance of an A or B Construction Permit and BOE to sign off the “Permit for Construction of Driveways/Curb Ramps/Sidewalks” section of the Clearance Summary Worksheet in PCIS per the procedures in Building & Safety Clearances, 07 - Permits (Driveway, Curb Ramps, and Sidewalks)  

Waiver of Street Dedication and/or Improvements (WDI) Appeal Process

Any person seeking a waiver or reduction of highway dedication and/or improvements per LAMC 12.37, shall file an application for a waiver with the Director of Planning. The WDI process does not apply to Hillside Referral Forms and dedications would be reviewed by the City Engineer (09 - BHO / Hillside Ordinance (Street(s) Along Lot Frontage(s) Minimum 20' Wide, Request for Reduction of Hillside Ordinance Dedication) and improvements reviewed by the ZAD.

NOTE:  If the Applicant is seeking a Building Permit Application Clearance from BOE, the Applicant must either start the dedication process (including payment) so your project can continue or wait for the WDI determination.

Planning may/may not request additional information from BOE and may/may not agree with the BOE's recommendations.  Only Planning can make a final discretionary decision.

  1. Highway Dedication Waiver – By-Right Project:  (LAMC 12.37.I.2 - Highway and Collector Street Dedication and Improvement, Waivers and Appeals, Waivers for By-Right Projects):  Any person seeking a waiver of dedication or improvement requirements for a project that does not require a discretionary entitlement shall file an application for a waiver with the Director of Planning.  This is the primary means for initiating a request for relief from BOE required dedication and improvements. 

    However, per LAMC 12.37.I.6, notwithstanding any other requirements of LAMC 12.37, the City Engineer may waive or modify any condition of approval or other obligation related to right-of-way improvement or dedication consistent with the Mobility 2035 Plan (formerly known as the Circulation Element of the City's General Plan) without requiring any discretionary entitlement, including, but not limited to, a modification under LAMC 12.37 I.4 - Highway and Collector Street Dedication and Improvement, Waivers and Appeals, Waivers for Map Modifications. and 17.14 - Modification of Recorded Final Maps.  Nothing in this section is intended to relieve applicants and the City of compliance with the Subdivision Map Act and state law.   LAMC 12.37.I.6 is rarely applied and was intended for projects with requirements established prior to the adoption of the Mobility 2035 Plan.  

  2. Highway Dedication Waiver – Discretionary Projects:  These waivers are handled by Planning, therefore, the following information is for informational purposes only.  For projects that require a discretionary entitlement, an applicant shall file a waiver request as part of the master land use application or subdivider's statement for the project.  In such case, the decision maker for the discretionary entitlement shall process the waiver request pursuant to the procedures established for the discretionary entitlement but may only grant a waiver after making one of the required findings set forth in LAMC 12.37.I.2.B.  The waiver request must be set forth in the application filed with the Department of City Planning, and may not be raised for the first time at the hearing on the entitlement or at any entitlement appeal hearing.  The applicant may appeal the waiver determination pursuant to the same procedures that govern the entitlement; except in the case of projects that include a tentative map, the waiver determination is subject to only one level of appeal.  On appeal, the decision maker shall consider the waiver request based on the findings set forth in Subdivision 2.(b) above.