The recent election saw a bitter dispute revolving around the possible influence large Los Angeles developers have on major city planning decisions. In an effort by some backers to prevent corruption, the highly controversial Measure S was placed on the March 7th ballot.
L.A. residents ultimately rejected the measure, which would have banned several new development projects for two years. Two days later, Mayor Eric Garcetti issued an executive directive aiming to build public trust in the city planning process.
Under this new directive, developers awaiting project approval and city planning commissioners are prohibited from meeting privately.
How Is This Related To The Recently Failed Measure S?
Almost 69 percent of L.A. voters chose to reject Measure S, mostly over fears that it would severely devastate the city’s economy. Its two-year moratorium would have likely affected the availability of affordable housing and the completion date of other development projects.
City government immediately opposed the measure. In fact, Garcetti first made his pledge to bar meetings between planning commissioners and real estate developers in early September, hoping to keep the measure off the ballot entirely.
Nevertheless, Measure S proponents believe that the new directive will do little for transparency. Measure S campaign manager Jill Stewart states, “Ending ex-parte communication only with [Garcetti’s] planning commissioners will have virtually no positive effect."
How Will This Affect Development Projects In L.A.?
Both L.A.’s Planning Commission and Cultural Heritage Commission members are now banned from discussing development plans. Garcetti says that the directive also approves “an acceleration of all community plans, so that in the next six or seven years, every neighborhood can have a road map to preserve its unique character and heritage.”
The new directive will prevent developers and commissioners from getting too cozy, and will therefore force developers to make discussions public. According to Councilman David Ryu, “This is a major victory for transparency in local government.”
Ultimately, real estate developers will no longer be able to rely solely on their connections at City Hall to get projects approved but instead, they will need to put more effort into community engagement and building a base of support from locals.
Translated in Spanish, RINCON is literally the 'Inside Corner'. Our goal is to provide insight into the issues and areas we're working to ensure you have the best information to make important decisions.