- Activists seek a ballot measure to block ‘mega’-development citywide.
- The complete 23-page petition and proposed initiative can be found here.
Disputes between property developers and community groups are a familiar headline in Los Angeles, but activists based in Hollywood seek to put the brakes on all building projects that require changes to city planning rules. Advocates for an anti-development ballot initiative include the loosely organized group calling itself the “Coalition to Preserve L.A.” Direction and management of this coalition comes from the California nonprofit 501(c)3 charitable organization, AIDS Healthcare Foundation.
The Foundation’s headquarters offices are in a high-rise building on Sunset Boulevard, across the street from the proposed “Palladium Residences” mixed-use project that was approved unanimously by the City Planning Commission in December, despite the objections of the Foundation and its landlord, Kilroy Realty Corp., owner of competing towers on both sides of the Palladium.
The coalition’s proposed ballot petition and the anti-development initiative measure have retroactive features and likely would affect the Palladium project.
The coalition’s petition was submitted to the City Attorney’s office in November. Even though the coalition has been calling the proposed ballot measure the “neighborhood integrity” initiative, that will not be in the official petition title or the title summary on the ballot, assuming that the petition collects enough signatures to be successful. The lengthy official title is in the box below.
“Restrictions on General Plan Amendments, Required Review of General Plan; Building Moratorium. Initiative Ordinance.”
To be on the ballot this coming November, the petition first must obtain 61,486 valid signatures from registered voters.
Critics say the measure will cost thousands of jobs, worsen the housing crisis and cripple the local economy. For example, Gary Toebben, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, wrote in December: “[T]he implications of this measure would be devastating to Los Angeles and doom us to a permanent housing shortage.”
He adds that the proposed moratorium “is a dangerous ploy by activists to paralyze the badly needed construction of new housing. We have major problems in our city including homelessness, a lack of affordable housing and soaring rents. Stifling the supply of housing will exponentially increase these problems.”
Michael Weinstein, president of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation and one of the named sponsors of the petition, argues that “with rents in Los Angeles climbing just as high as the towering, mega structures developers want to throw up across the city, almost 60 percent of L.A. renters are now spending more than the recommended 30 percent of their income just to keep a roof over their heads.
“The time is now for the city of Los Angeles Planning Dept. and City Hall to stop being pawns of greedy developers and to start acting strategically on behalf of the Los Angeles residents who voted them into office and want real solutions to the housing crunch.”
Proponent Weinstein previously has said, “planning and zoning is meant to maintain the integrity of communities. And what’s happening in Los Angeles—in Hollywood, in downtown and other areas—is destroying the character of communities.”
Click HERE to read pro and con arguments for the proposed ballot initiative, found on the front page of the January issue.