(Los Angeles, California – April 3, 2015) The Association of Environmental Professionals (AEP) has recognized Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA) for its outstanding community outreach efforts and engagement with the public as part of its Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) Northside Project.

The project was one of just 10 throughout California to earn the 2015 Outstanding Award recognition and the only one in the category of Public Involvement. LAWA and other honorees were recognized at an AEP event in late March in Santa Barbara.

Throughout the entitlement process, which began in late 2011, LAWA sought input from neighbors, business leaders, and other stakeholders, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), to create a plan that works for the airport and meets the needs of neighbors and the region.

The LAX Northside Plan Update includes the proposed LAX Northside Design Guidelines and Standards that reflect new land uses, community input, current best-practices in design and sustainability, and clear zoning restrictions and development standards. The LAX Northside Plan Update seeks to create a realistic framework for future development that reflects the needs of the community and LAWA, and benefits both. The uses proposed in the plan are designed to encompass community needs and desires, as well as the airport’s operational requirements. The LAX Northside Plan Update would create a vibrant, sustainable center of employment, retail, restaurant office, hotel, research and development, civic, airport support, recreation and buffer uses.

“We recognized from the beginning that a project like this needed a high level of community involvement and input to be successful,” said Lisa Trifiletti, Environmental and Land Use Planning Division manager. “Not only did we conduct all of the required community outreach, we also went door to door. We met with people in their living rooms – two, three, four times. We really listened to what they had to say and incorporated that feedback into a plan that we believe everyone can be proud of.”

The land was originally acquired by LAX more than 30 years ago to create a buffer between the airport and adjacent residential communities comprised of commercial development planning for the reuse of the LAX Northside began in the 1980s, and in 1984 more than 4.5 million square feet of commercial development was approved. Development is currently governed by the LAX Plan and Specific Plan, which incorporates the 1980s development scheme. It includes tall buildings, minimal open space, limited landscape buffer zones, and outdated design and environmental standards. Today, the approach for the proposed Plan Update reflects community interests, and represents the participation of numerous stakeholders.

The proposed Plan Update, if approved, would reduce development by nearly one-half of the Prior Approved Development to 2.3 million square feet. It would also include substantial open space, recreational uses, community and civic uses, as well as current design standards, sustainability commitments, pedestrian-friendly amenities, and transit integration. These are benefits which are absent in the existing entitlements.

To be considered for an AEP Outstanding Award, the nominated public-involvement or education program should meet or exceed the following criteria:

  • Increases the public’s awareness of environmental issues and facilitates their role in the environmental planning, analysis, and review process;
  • Provides a clear message consistent with AEP’s objectives to enhance, protect and maintain the natural and human environments.
  • Emphasizes creative use of media (e.g.: Social Media).
  • Uses methodology or paradigm which has broad applicability and is replicable by other agencies, firms, and organizations.
  • Measures to demonstrate its effectiveness. such as level of participation, adoption of model ordinances, or descriptions of changes in behavior or benefits resulting from the program.