The mission of the Planning Department is to maintain and improve all aspects of the City's physical environment. The Department serves as a custodian of the vision for Bellflower, and an agent for the implementation of City Council policies related to land development, housing, construction, code enforcement and regional issues. The Department accomplishes its mission by monitoring the various components (zoning, building, and property maintenance codes) that influence the quality of life for Bellflower residents. The Planning Department is primarily concerned with providing services that promote the community's short and long term interests in maintaining Bellflower's traditionally high standards of residential and commercial development. The Department seeks to protect and enrich the quality of life in the community through the care and maintenance of the City's infrastructure. The Department continually evaluates the condition and maintenance of City infrastructure in an effort to maximize the efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and quality of the services provided to the community.
The Planning Department was established under the authority granted to the City Administrator under Chapter 2 of the Bellflower Municipal Code.
The Planning Department is responsible for promoting and contributing to the environmental quality of life for residents of the community. The Department coordinates the functions of the Planning, Building, Business License, and Code Enforcement Divisions, and provides staff support to Economic Development. In addition, the Department provides staff assistance to the City Council, Planning Commission, and Design Review Committee (DRC).
The City contains 6.14 square miles. Of the City's area, 67 percent (2,050 acres) is zoned for residential uses, 13 percent (403 acres) is zoned for commercial uses, and 4 percent (110 acres) is zoned for light industrial uses. In this predominantly residential city, there are currently 25,073 housing units occupied by a population of 76,616 persons (2010 US Census). The City's important location within seventeen (17) miles of Downtown Los Angeles, and within close range of Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) and the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, calls for the demolition and improvement of buildings due to age or obsolescence. Rehabilitation or replacement must be effected to reduce possible blighting influences, and encourage new development. The City's General Plan, Zoning Code, and other development policies must be reviewed and revised periodically to facilitate the continual process of eliminating deterioration, recycling underutilized land uses, and promoting high quality development.
The General Plan provides the basic framework for development within the community. Four of the seven State-mandated elements of the General Plan were adopted in 1995. The Land Use and Circulation Elements were adopted in 1997. General Plan updates are required to ensure that the City's goals and programs are being implemented.
The Development Review Board (DRB), coordinated through the Planning Department, brings together key personnel involved with development. The Board is comprised of staff from the Planning Division, Building & Safety Division, and Public Works Department. Members of the Board meet with applicants to ensure that all conditions and concerns, including security, emergency access, public improvements, architecture and design, signage, and landscaping, are addressed early in the development process.
Department personnel comment on and process all applications for Town Center Design Review Committee and Planning Commission actions. Field inspections and background research are conducted by staff members, leading to the preparation of staff reports with recommendations for denial, approval, or approval with conditions. Reports are presented to advisory bodies and the City Council.
The Planning Department enforces Title 17, the Zoning Code of the City of Bellflower; Title 12, the Streets, Sidewalks and Public Places section; Title 15, the Buildings and Construction section; and Title 13, the Public Services section, and Chapter 8.36, the Public Nuisance portion of the Bellflower Municipal Code. The Planning Department is also responsible for the implementation of restrictions and requirements of Title 16 regarding Subdivisions, and Title 5 regarding Business Licenses and Regulations. Follow-ups to permits and development are conducted by the Department's Building & Safety and Code Enforcement inspectors to verify that all conditions of approval, business licensing, and maintenance matters are complied with.