David Waite was the subject of a May 15, 2013 article published on GlobeSt.com about his joining Cox, Castle & Nicholson in Los Angeles as a partner. Waite, the incoming chair of the Urban Land Institute, has 20 years of experience as a land use and environmental attorney and was formerly a partner with Jeffer Mangels Butler and Mitchell LLP.
Waite represents land owners and developers, real estate investors, commercial and residential owners and builders as well as public agencies. At Cox Castle, he will continue to advise clients on issues including zoning and land use matters, CEQA compliance, discretionary permits and entitlements, subdivisions, development agreements and compliance with climate change laws.
Waite called the regulatory environment one of the most pressing issues facing Los Angeles. He noted that it can take 18 months to get project through a full environmental impact study.
“In L.A. in particular, the market is actually relatively strong, particularly in multifamily, creative office and a couple of key areas that have had some strong and robust growth,” he says. “But with all things, the regulatory environment is never at pace with the market. There are some problems we continue to see in processing projects through entitlement. It takes longer than it should or needs to, and that’s really a function that things move grindingly slowly through bureaucracy in various cities and public offices throughout the region.”
Waite also had positive things to say about L.A.’s new mass transit facilities and that the city is “reaching a critical mass of opportunity to get people out of their cars and using public transportation and using walkable/biking communities.”
He said that the city has also become more accepting of increased density.
“We’re starting to see L.A. embrace a level of densification that the region can support and should support. For a long time, density was a bad word in L.A., compared to San Francisco and some other communities pushing 100 dwelling units per acre. There’s a shift there. The infrastructure can support it, and density is not a bad word. Hollywood is a great example, because the infrastructure can support it.”