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What Measure S Means For Housing Production in Los Angeles

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The city election is right around the corner and neighborhood activists in Los Angeles and elected officials are in a heated debate over new ballot measure called Measure S which is also known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative. Measure S is one of four city-wide measures up for vote on the ballot in the next election.

The measure would impose new restrictions on many large-scale real estate developments. NBC Los Angeles explains what Measure S would do if it were passed,

  • Stop any new high-density construction projects (such as apartments) for the next two years
  • Prohibit “project-specific” changes that would create loopholes in the city of Los Angeles’s General Plan for urban development
  • Require the city to complete studies of environmental impact of new projects rather than the developers behind the project.

According to LA Times, “Measure S, which is on the March 7 municipal ballot, would impose a two-year ban on real estate projects that require special planning approvals, such as increases in height or density. The moratorium would end sooner, however, if the city shows it has updated all of its community plans — a goal city officials say is impossible.”

Essentially, the advocates of Measure S want keep high-rises from being built in L.A. neighborhoods. However, the opponents of the measure believe that the key to city-wide prosperity is real estate development.

The supporters of the measure are led by former LA Weekly editor Jill Stewart and its efforts are paid for by the Coalition to Preserve LA which is sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation

Jill Stewart believes that this measure will put L.A. on the right track, “The city, unfortunately, has a track record of saying they’re going to fix something, having a hearing, backing the reform and then it doesn’t happen,” Stewart said. “Because of their disastrous track record, there’s a lack of trust that any of this is going to happen.”

The opposing group organized in response to the measure is paid for by the Coalition to Protect LA Neighborhoods. These foes of Measure S are made up of business leaders, labor unions and the city’s affordable housing groups argue that the measure would trigger a dramatic slowdown in housing construction and eventually cause rent to go up. They also believe that since community plans are out of date, the development projects will need zoning changes and many other changes in planning rules.

Councilman Jose Huizar is happy with the efforts and ideas brought up by the supporters of Measure S but he believes that even a two-year moratorium would put a stop to much of the city’s construction activity.

“That will bring the city of L.A.’s economy to a halt,” Huizar said.

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