Santa Monica Voters Soundly Reject Slow Growth Ballot Measure

The so-called LUVE initiative, which would have required a public vote on any development exceeding 32 feet or two stories, was rejected by over 56 percent of voters. Opponents significantly outspent supporters who failed to get council support.
November 20, 2016, 1pm PST | Irvin Dawid
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Mike Flippo

Measure LV was launched by citizens opposed a renovation of a downtown hotel that would have soared to 148 feet. Supporters claimed it "would protect the beachside city’s character by stopping high-rise development," reports Jenna Chandler, editor of Curbed LA. "They also sought to prevent traffic on increasingly congested roads from getting worse."

But its critics, including several City Council members who are hesitant about big development, have said the measure went too far. City Manager Rick Cole described it as “draconian.” They feared the requirement would scare off residential developers, when the city sorely needs more housing.

Opponents raised $1.15 million compared to the $60,000 spent by supporters, according to Jonathan Friedman of Santa Monica Lookout, who also reports that four slow-growth council incumbents, none of whom supported Measure LV, won reelection, defeating a slow-growth rival. 

Councilmember Kevin McKeown had repeatedly said the measure was extreme and would cause too many unintended consequences.

The LUVE initiative "echoe(d) similar anti-development sentiment at work with the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, proposed for Santa Monica's next-door neighbor in Los Angeles," wrote Planetizen's managing editor, James Brasuell in June shortly after Measure LV qualified for the November ballot. However, the L.A. initiative's backers, the Coalition to Preserve L.A., a group backed by the Hollywood-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation, chose to withdraw the initiative from the November ballot and place it on the March 2017 ballot.

If McKeown is successful, it will be accompanied by another slow-development measure on the Los Angeles County ballot for the city of Santa Monica, described as a "compromise" in an earlier article in The Lookout.

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Published on Wednesday, November 9, 2016 in Curbed Los Angeles
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