What is the Plan Approval Process?

The City of LA will review all plans for new development and redevelopment projects to ensure that the appropriate BMPs are incorporated to address stormwater pollution prevention goals. During the review process, the plans will be reviewed for compliance with the City’s General Plans, zoning ordinances, and other applicable local ordinances and codes, including stormwater requirements. The reviewer will also determine if project designs need to be modified to address stormwater pollution prevention objectives. Depending on the scale and the type of the project, the review and approval process can take between 2-6 weeks.

Here are the steps for LID approval:

Step 1 – Submit design plans:

The project applicant submits the design plans to City of LA Department of Building and Safety  (LADBS).  During the plan review process, LADBS refer projects needing discretionary action to Dept. of City Planning (DCP) for additional processing. 

Step 2 – Define the project category:

The plan check engineer will review the design plans and determine if the project falls under any of the SUSMP categories or meets any of the characteristics identified under Site Specific Mitigation or LID requirements.  If the project falls into any one of the SUSMP categories or characteristics cited under Site Specific Mitigation or LID, the plan check engineer will refer the applicant to City of Los Angeles’ Watershed Protection Division (WPD).

To ensure compliance with all City Codes, it is recommended that the architect, civil engineer, plumbing engineer, and/ or landscape engineer coordinate at the early stage of the project design:

Step 1 – Identify appropriate BMPs:

Identify, evaluate, and incorporate into the plan documents the appropriate BMP(s) for the project.

To assist the residents in small scale residential development / redevelopment projects (4 units or less) Appendix E contains prescriptive methods detailing BMPs to be incorporated into the design plans. The advantage of the prescriptive methods is they are designed as pre-approved “boiler plates.”  Use of prescriptive methods for these types of project categories will dramatically reduce plan preparation and review time.

Approval for development projects and building/grading permits will not be granted/issued until appropriate and applicable stormwater BMPs are incorporated into the project design plans.  Also, a plumbing permit from LADBS will be required for certain treatment control BMPs such as grease traps, sump pumps, and clarifiers. For all projects other than small scale residential developments (4 units or less), if an infiltration BMP is chosen for treatment control, a soils report to address the feasibility of infiltration will be required to be submitted with the plan for review and approval. 

Step 2 – Submit LID, SUSMP, and/or Site Specific Mitigation plans to WPD:

The following is a list of the minimum submittal requirements for Small Scale Residential Developments (4 units or less):

  • One (1) set of full plans (plot, elevation, utility, mechanical, plumbing, architectural, and landscape plans).
  • Plans must include at least the following:
  • Location, size, and capacity of all BMPs on plans
  • Landscaping areas

The following is a list of the minimum submittal requirement for all other projects:

  • One (1) set of grading and/or site plans (may need plumbing, architectural, and landscape plans).
  • Plans must be wet‐stamped and signed by an engineer or architect.
  • Plans must include at least the following:
  • Location of all BMPs on plans, including elevations and drainage patterns.
  • Detailed drawings of all BMPs, including model, size, and capacity
  • Stenciling note and/or detail
  • Trash enclosure location and details
  • Landscaping areas
  • Flow calculations identifying flow rate or volume of stormwater runoff that must be treated
  • Submit the manufacturer’s product specifications to verify that the selected BMP model can adequately handle the design flow rate
  • Covenant & Agreement Form with an Operation & Maintenance Plan

Step 3 – WPD Approval:

Once all LID/SUSMP/Site Specific Mitigation requirements have been met, WPD plan-checking staff will stamp four (4) sets of the approved plans, sign the applicant’s clearance worksheet, and clear the project in the LADBS plan check tracking system, known as the Plan Check and Inspection System (PCIS).