Here’s what’s at stake for real estate on the March 7 ballot

Vote tomorrow involves homelessness, marijuana, portside development, and of course, the formidable Measure S

Mar.March 06, 2017 03:30 PM

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti won’t be the only one fighting for his seat tomorrow. A number of real estate interests are at stake on the ballot tomorrow, ranging from a plan to fund homeless services to cannabis regulation. Read on for The Real Deal’s definitive guide on what to look out for at the polls tomorrow.

Measure H
Flanked by big-shot developers like Frank McCourt and Continental Development, Measure H would raise about $350 million a year for affordable housing and homelessness prevention services by raising the sales tax by a quarter of a percent. Measure H is the sister ballot to Proposition HHH, which passed in November and green-lighted a $1.2 billion bond to build 10,000 units for homeless housing.

If passed, the measure could help lift more than 45,000 people out of homelessness in five years, according to county officials. In addition to housing, the funding would go toward mental health services, substance abuse treatment, transportation, and job counseling. The hike in sales tax would expire in 10 years.

Measure M (and Measure N)
The subject of pot isn’t always chill. Angelenos will decide on whether to grant City Council the authority to regulate the recreational marijuana industry at large. In terms of real estate, Measure M would allow the city to dictate where marijuana businesses can set up shop. It would also impose a 10 percent tax on recreational cannabis as well as a 1 percent to 2 percent tax for companies involved in the transportation, research, or cultivation of marijuana, and lower the tax for medical marijuana from 6 percent to 5 percent.

Measure P
If passed, Measure P would revitalize portside development between Wilmington to San Pedro by extending leases for commercial properties at the L.A. port from 50 to 66 years. The current half-century lease term, supporters of the measure say, deters private investors from opting for L.A. while neighboring ports including San Diego already have a longer lease term. This is because while a property is used as the collateral for financiers of typical developments, lease terms are the equivalent for port developments. A longer lease term, hence, means more incentive for property owners to redevelop a portside asset.

The lease extension would also bring jobs and amenities to the San Pedro waterfront, proponents say.

Measure S
Last but certainly not least, is the crown jewel of NIMBY initiatives in recent L.A. history — the controversial Measure S. If passed, this measure would impose a two-year moratorium on all projects that require a General Plan amendment, zone change, or height limit change. Even ones that will bring solely affordable housing units to the market would be blocked if they require a plan amendment. Backers say the development suspension will force city lawmakers to prioritize the modernization of the city’s zoning code, even though such efforts are already underway. Meanwhile, opponents argue that the moratorium will worsen L.A.’s housing shortage and stifle the development of affordable housing.

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