High density Measure S

The Density Debate in Los Angeles

Many people oppose the most talked about measure on the Los Angeles ballot this March. Measure S has been widely discussed in detail and appears not to have enough supporters to pass, however, we all have learned that anything is possible in politics.
Voters believe that it is only common sense to vote against Measure S.  Measure S is a proposed law that recommends changes to the laws guiding the general plan and real estate development in Los Angeles.  According to Ballotpedia, “A yes vote is a vote in support of imposing a moratorium on construction that increases development density for up to two years, prohibiting project-specific amendments to the city’s general plan, requiring a public review of the city’s general plan every five years, requiring city staff not developers or project applicants to perform environmental impact reports, and establishing other changes to the city’s general plan laws.”
It looks as if the majority of people support a NO vote on this measure. These NO voters want the city’s zoning and development laws to remain unchanged until a better reform plan is presented.
Supporting Measure S would prevent real estate developers from moving forward on projects that would benefit communities in Los Angeles, California.  Much of the acquisition process in real estate development depends on the ability to creatively rezone parcels and increase density.  Requiring a two-year moratorium on construction that increases development density would force real estate developers to consider investing in other markets outside of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is the most evolving city in The United States of America.  The city currently has huge demand.  People come from all around the world to live, work, and play in this beautiful metropolis.  Housing affordability has become a serious problem for many people who live in Los Angeles. Many residents spend 50 percent or more of their monthly income on housing. Rent values are expensive in some of the least desirable neighborhoods.  In order to prevent a rise in the cost of housing, it is absolutely necessary to increase density.  It is right to alleviate the burden of high rents so that all people can live and die in Los Angeles if they so desire. Luxurious residences and high-cost abodes will remain in demand for those who must maintain their expensive lifestyles regardless of Measure S.  If Measure S is to pass, then the cost of housing will increase fast rather stabilize or increase slowly.  Risking a fast increase on the cost of all housing by voting yes on S will trump people who are nearly ready to buy or rent in Los Angeles. Matthew Williams argued, “Measure S would greatly hinder the development of affordable housing — a resource that Los Angeles desperately needs.” 
“From a report by the National Resources Defense Council, Measure S would roll back the efforts to solve the affordable housing problem in Los Angeles. It would inhibit Measure JJJ — which provides incentives to private developers to build affordable housing along transportation lines. It would also inhibit Measure HH — which allows the city to build permanent housing for the massive homeless population of Los Angeles.”
A Los Angeles City Administrative Officer stated, “This measure will cost the City millions of dollars in lost revenue from permits, licenses, and other fees charged to impacted projects.”
The planning and land use system in Los Angeles may be unfair, but Measure S is not designed to solve this problem.  A measure that would truly be beneficial might offer a detailed new general plan and zoning framework that the city could adapt.  There is no guarantee that a new system of zoning will be executed if Measure S is successful.  The only guarantee is that we would establish a temporary ban on all development projects requiring: 1) zoning that lifts land-use restrictions or increases permitted building heights 2) zoning changes that increase the allowed density or height of buildings 3) a net loss of land dedicated to open space, agriculture, or industry.
Some opponents of Measure S suggest the following:
  • New studies out of Harvard show Los Angeles needs to build 382,000 new units just to meet current demand. If the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative passes, it will make it virtually impossible to build those units.
  • Homeless advocates like the Inner City Law Center point out that most new homeless are a result of skyrocketing rents and lack of available housing units. The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will restrict housing even more, driving homeless numbers up and pushing families onto the streets.
  • The Southern California Association of Governments predicts L.A.’s population will increase by 500,000 over the next two decades, adding a city the size of Long Beach to our already impacted housing market. The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative will make it impossible to meet that demand, driving up demand and rents.
  • The harmful initiative bans virtually all new housing and construction in the City of L.A. Nowhere in the initiative language does it ban developer contributions or address corruption.
  • The LA Times calls the so-called Neighborhood Integrity Initiative ‘a recipe for higher housing costs, more homelessness and greater inequality.’ With vacancy rates at an extreme low, our city cannot afford this damaging ban on housing.
  • Does our city planning need to be fixed? Yes, but this initiative goes too far! A ban on housing will only make our housing crisis much, much worse by severely restricting housing supply, driving up rents, accelerating gentrification and mansionization, and costing the city millions in lost tax revenue for police, firefighters, parks, and other vital public services.
  • According to the New York Times, studies show that laws like the so-called Neighborhood Integrity Initiative ‘contribute to racial segregation and deeper class disparities. They also exacerbate inequality by restricting the housing supply in places where demand is greatest.’
  • Recent studies indicate rent in Los Angeles is rising at a much higher rate than incomes. With high demand coupled with limited housing units, a ban on housing will only further drive up rents. Our city desperately needs to be adding as many housing units as possible, not banning their creation.
  • Experts agree that the creation of all types of housing is imperative to the long-term solution of our current housing crisis. The so-called Neighborhood Integrity Initiative only adds to the problem by indefinitely banning the creation of virtually all housing in our city.
  • According to City of Los Angeles data, 90% of all planned opportunity sites for affordable and permanent supportive housing projects would come to an immediate halt under the Housing Ban initiative
I believe it is true that Measure S has the potential to destroy 24,000 jobs and cost workers $1.28 billion in lost wages.  In fact, my career has been put on hold as a result of the Measure S vote this March.  If Measure S passes, then please recommend my name to all the casting agents you know.   
Marc Anthony Davila  is a real estate professional and entrepreneur.  He is driven by his passion for business and creating win-win relationships that make logical sense.  Marc Anthony is interested in helping all people and an advocate for Fair Housing.  Marc Anthony has high integrity and is determined to do the right thing in all situations.

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