On Sept. 30, the Los Angeles City Council unanimously voted to let residents decide whether high-density "megadevelopments" should be harder to build, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will appear on the city's March 7 ballot and, if passed by a popular vote, will place a two-year ban on the zoning changes necessary for many large-scale construction projects to move forward.
Opponents of the measure said it is a blatant expression of NIMBYism and would only contribute to the city's affordable housing shortage, pushing rental and home prices up further. Advocates told the council that the initiative would keep "deep-pocketed developers" from calling the shots at City Hall, as well as prevent the traffic snarls and lower quality of city services that often accompany giant developments.
The council's decision comes on the heels of last week's announcement that developer SunCal had proposed a 14.5-acre, high-density project in the L.A. Arts District. The development, called 6AM, would feature a 58-story high-rise and include more than 1,700 for-sale and for-rent units, as well as retail and office space, two hotels, a school, 23,000 square feet of "art opportunity space" and two parks, all on the current site of two warehouses.
The developers are expediting the city plan-filing process in order to make somewhat of an end run around the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative vote, the Times reported. Aside from the standard arguments against high-density developments, critics of 6AM maintain that the project's scope and aesthetic will change the artistic feel of their neighborhood. However, some residents told the Times that they would be happy to see a development like 6AM replace the current warehouse activity, which they claim generates smog and traffic.
A similar situation of residents approving a project while outside groups protest is also occurring in the argument around a 30-story luxury tower scheduled to go up in a single-family, working-class neighborhood in South L.A. Opponents say the 2-million-square-foot "Cumulus" mixed-use project will contribute to the gentrification of the area, pushing residents out with high-priced, luxury residences. Proponents of the project, many of them current neighborhood residents, said the estimated 3,000 construction and permanent jobs the project could bring, in addition to the development's amenities and services, would be welcome, according to the Times.