Neighborhood Integrity Initiative

For the most part, our Brentwood and Pacific Palisades neighborhoods have been immune to the development frenzy now paralyzing parts of L.A. But big change is coming our way.

A 516-unit apartment project with an adjoining 12-story office building is set to be built on the Martin Cadillac site at the already gridlocked Olympic-Bundy intersection. A 34-story luxury housing project is planned at Wilshire and Stoner Avenue. Gridlock on the Westside’s major streets is already insane. The wrong kind of development will only make it worse.

City Hall has proven it can’t be trusted to deal meaningfully with overdevelopment. Our elected leaders have been seduced by a real estate industry that has pumped $6 million into their political war chests in recent years.

The Los Angeles Times editorial board recently wrote: “Los Angeles’ out-of-date, broken planning system has failed to foster development that protects the city . . . [Critics of overdevelopment] rail against the Manhattanization of Hollywood. Their concern is fair—cities, in general, have often done a poor job managing development.”

Please support the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative. This future ballot measure will restore local control of development. It is NOT anti-development. In fact, more than 90 percent of all projects will not be affected by the initiative’s two-year time-out provision. It does temporarily stop the City from bending rules to let large developers disobey publicly supported community plans. The Coalition to Preserve L.A., the initiative’s sponsor, is now gathering signatures to put this reform plan on the March 2017 ballot.

The initiative would do the following:

1.) Give local residents greater opportunities to shape L.A.’s 35 community plans so those plans genuinely reflect the priorities and values of the affected neighborhoods. The initiative will level the playing field so local residents will have as much say as the real estate industry in shaping our communities.

2). Stop the City Council for two years from bending the rules so developers can build bigger projects than community plans allow; this abusive practice is now widespread. During the initiative’s time-out the Council cannot grant exceptions to the height and density limits of community plans and/or amend them to allow totally new types of development that conflict with the plans. The real estate industry says this provision will stop all development and kill jobs. Not true. Most developers—and there are good ones—play by the community plan rules.

3.) Reform the crazy system whereby developers hire the consultants. Developers’ projects rarely get bad environmental report cards. The initiative will put real professionals, not developers’ hired guns, in charge of preparing key reports.

4.) Establish responsible rules to prevent so-called “spot-zoning”—an abusive system that gives preferential treatment to projects that benefit only one developer. This practice has ruined neighborhoods all over the city.

The Neighborhood Integrity Initiative proposes common-sense reforms to empower local residents. To help out, write neighborhoodintegrity@gmail.com or visit: 2preservela.org.

By DEBRA HOCKEMEYER
Special to the Palisades News

Debra Hockemeyer is vice-president and treasurer of the Brentwood Hills Homeowners Association.

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