Ballot Box Planning: Letting Voters Decide

Land use planning decisions are mostly made by city councils and planning commissions. But there are times when the people decide, as exemplified by the city of Monterey Park's recently approved Measure JJ.

2 minute read

November 16, 2020, 12:00 PM PST

By clementkhlau


Albert Campbell / Shutterstock

Should land use planning decisions be made by voters? There is no simple answer to this question. In the latest elections, in about 20 California cities where growth and development measures were on the ballot, voters were mostly anti-development. The city of Monterey Park was one of the few exceptions, where voters passed a land use measure allowing for focused growth in certain areas of the city.

Monterey Park lies about seven miles east of downtown Los Angeles, at the western edge of the San Gabriel Valley. Measure JJ was placed on the ballot by the Monterey Park City Council. On November 3, 2020, the measure was approved by 52.3% of voters, resulting in the adoption of a new Land Use Element (LUE) for the Monterey Park General Plan (GP). Under California law, the city’s GP must include seven elements including the LUE. Overall, the GP, particularly the LUE, constitutes the city’s vision for economic, social, and land use development. In Monterey Park, voter approval is required to adopt or amend the LUE. On March 3, 2020, voters rejected a previous version of the LUE identified as Measure II.

The LUE makes some adjustments to land uses, building sizes, and building heights. It also removed overlay zones for affordable housing in the Corporate Center Drive area that was included with Measure II. Since Measure JJ was approved by voters, the LUE would regulate land uses in the city until 2040. To ensure that the LUE is implemented, Measure JJ authorizes the City Council to adopt regulations by ordinance.

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 in Ballotpedia

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