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The Real Deal Los Angeles

Will City Council’s new requirements sway voters against Measure S?

Ordinances makes changes that address key issues identified by the initiative's proponents
February 08, 2017 03:30PM

Council members Mitch Englander and Mike Bonin (Getty)

Council members voted unanimously to require community plans to be updated every six years on Wednesday, in a move that could impact the vote on Measure S.

Council member Jose Huizar, who proposed the ordinance, said it will ensure that planning guidelines reflect the reality of modern-day Los Angeles, resulting in fewer requests from developers for rule changes, the Los Angeles Times reported. Those piecemeal exemptions to the zoning code —  which are needed when the plans are outdated — have been a major rallying cry of the measure, formerly known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative.

“It will certainly alleviate the concerns about why Measure S came about,” Huizar said.

The ordinance will bring the rules on what can and can’t be built in each of the city’s neighborhoods up to date by 2024 — and it’s a long time coming. Only four of the 35 community plans have been updated in the past 10 years, Curbed reported.

The proposal to update the neighborhood plans will address L.A.’s “culture of speculation,” said Council member Mike Bonin, in which developers buy properties based on the mere hope the City Council will make an exemption to the outdated rules and approve them.

The community update ordinance was not the only rule City Council recently approved to address some of the issues raised by proponents of Measure S. The Council voted to force developers to choose from a list of city-approved consultants to put together their environmental impact reports, which mirrors a provision of Measure S, Curbed reported.

The council also voted to group all general plan amendment requests together to be considered on a semi-annual basis, rather than year round, so officials can consider multiple development projects at once and see their potential impacts more comprehensively.

The various ordinances won’t eliminate all development battles, however, said council member Mitch Englander, who represents Granada Hillls. Even after that neighborhood updated its community plans last year, residents still fought new development such as a 440-unit apartment complex, he said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Measure S told the L.A. Times the ordinances were “too little too late.” [LAT] [Curbed]Subrina Hudson