Business & Economy

Unusual coalition opposes 2-year LA development moratorium

Artist rendering of the proposed $1 billion development around the Capitol Records building on Vine Street in Hollywood. Developer is Millennium Partners of New York.
Artist rendering of the proposed $1 billion development around the Capitol Records building on Vine Street in Hollywood. Developer is Millennium Partners of New York.
Handel Architects

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Supporters of the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative submitted 104,000 signatures this week to qualify the measure for the March 2017 Los Angeles ballot. The initiative would place limits on development for two years — and is strongly opposed by an unusual coalition of business groups, labor leaders, developers and homeless advocates.

Shortly after the signatures were turned in, homeless advocates released a letter arguing that the initiative would make homelessness worse in L.A.

"We have researched the initiative — and believe it will be disastrous to our efforts to build and supply affordable housing, address the growing problem of homelessness, and make our city a more livable place for all Angelenos," the letter stated.

The letter's signatories include Skid Row Housing Trust Executive Director Mike Alvidrez, CEO of the United Way of Greater Los Angeles Elise Buik, CEO of L.A. Family Housing Stephanie Klasky-Gamer, and Downtown Women's Center CEO Anne Miskey.

The L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce, billionaire Eli Broad and Laborers Union Local 300 have already come out opposed to the measure.

Miskey told KPCC she does not think it is strange that the coalition includes such a wide swath of groups and individuals.

"This is not going to help any of us, whether you're a developer hiring people or a union or a non-profit desperate for more housing," said Miskey.

Jill Stewart, campaign director for the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, brushed off the letter, pointing out that much of the opposition is funded by developers CH Palladium, LLC and Westfield.

"The idea that our measure might hurt homelessness is really unfortunate and wrong," she said.

Stewart says the kind of mega projects the ban targets don’t usually include much affordable housing anyways.

“It’s aimed at luxury housing, stuff around $3,000 per month,” she said. "We have a luxury housing glut."

Another measure to address development will be on the November ballot. It is supported by many of the groups that oppose the March initiative. Called Build Better L.A., it would force developers to provide affordable housing if their housing project exceeds what zoning rules normally allow.