Los Angeles May Eric Garcetti has logged his opposition to a proposed ballot measure that is intended to crack down on real estate mega-projects, saying that the measure could actually make matters worse for renters in the City of Angels.
Garcetti is worried that restrictions on new construction contained in the ballot measure could lead to increase rents for Angelenos already facing an expensive rental market. “We still need to build things in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said. The mayor plans to meet with supporters of the proposed ballot measure, which include the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, to explore the possibility of a compromise without the need for a public vote.
Garcetti has set a goal of 100,000 new housing units to be built by 2021. At a news conference dealing with the dangers of El Niño, the Mayor argued that the income gap is in Los Angeles county is higher than other parts of the United States, which is contributing to the housing shortage.
The AIDS Healthcare Foundation is a member of the Coalition to Preserve L.A., an activist group that is seeking to put new limits on the city’s ability to make changes to planning and zoning rules to allow specific real estate projects. The group has said it wants to institute a moratorium of up to two years for real estate projects that would require changes to the allowable density of the current zoning rules.
The Foundation’s president, Michael Weinstein, has said that neither the Mayor nor his office has contacted him to discuss the proposed ballot measure. Weinstein said that the current construction boom is only producing homes for the ultra-wealthy.
Except Weinstein and the Foundation may not be entirely altruistic. The Foundation is currently fighting a proposal to build two 30-story residential towers on a parking lot adjacent to its headquarters in Hollywood. In order to move forward, the project would require a zoning change and other special approvals.
The proposed ballot measure that the Foundation is fighting for, the so-called Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, would roll back the city’s ability to decrease the number of parking spaces required by a specific real estate project, effectively curtailing the proposed residential towers next the Foundation’s headquarters.
According to a recent poll released by the Coalition to Preserve LA, however, 72% of Los Angeles residents support the proposed ballot measure. The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative would halt individual or “spot zone” amendments and exemptions for particular developments; enact a two-year moratorium on building or demolition permits for projects that do not adhere to planning regulations or for which the City has granted an amendment to the General Plan; as well as remove responsibility for mandatory Environmental Impact Reports from developers and, crucially,
The small sample size of the survey, however, casts doubt on its validity. In a county of 10,000,000 inhabitants, the Foundation surveyed only 557 Angelenos about the ballot measure.
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