• Proposed ballot measure could limit high-rise development in Los Angeles
  • L.A. Weekly Managing Editor Jill Stewart will serve as Campaign Director for the Coalition to Preserve L.A.
  • Proposed Hollywood developments are seen as a microcosm of the city's growing pains

A Hollywood-based nonprofit group, the Coalition to Preserve LA, is making big moves against large developments in LA. The organization drafted a ballot measure known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative to crackdown on large real estate development projects, and recently hired former LA Weekly managing editor Jill Stewart as its campaign director.

Part of the ballot measure’s terms call for a moratorium of up to two years for real estate projects that require an increase in the allowable density. The measure would also take preparation of the Environmental Impact Report out of the hands of developers and limit the developer’s ability to reduce required parking for building developments.

The coalition must gather 61,486 signatures to qualify its measure for the ballot and be part of the November 8 ballot. The nonprofit AIDS Healthcare Foundation is backing the coalition and providing primary funding for the campaign, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times.

Mayor Eric Garcetti has said he plans to meet with the coalition to see if a compromise can be reached to avoid a public vote and has stated that certain restrictions in the drafted ballot measure could limit developers’ ability to provide housing construction that he sees as being much needed in Los Angeles.

Michael Weinstein, president of AIDS Healthcare Foundation has been vehement in his opposition to more development. In a press release distributed December 15 he said:

“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 LA 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 Department 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.”

Large developments in LA creating tension

Weinstein’s initiative is citywide but he is focusing specifically on the Hollywood area, which has seen an increase in the amount of high-rise development projects including the Palladium Project. He has called it a microcosm of the urgent need for a building moratorium and pointed to recent impact report that showed nearly 70 projects pending in the Hollywood area.

Billboards showing a skyscraper-filled skyline and the words “Stop Manhattanwood” are planned for the area but are not part of the official campaign.

The proposed ballot measure has led to debate among architecture watchers across Los Angeles.

Is the Coalition’s main goal to preserve traditional low-rise sprawl of Los Angeles or keep new developers from cashing in and potentially driving down prices?

It also sparks a larger conversation about the urban future of Los Angeles and the best ways to make the city more affordable while still preserving its character.

Deidre Woollard was part of the marketing team at realtor.com and is currently the head of communications for Partners Trust, a leading luxury brokerage in Los Angeles.

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