CRE Experts Speak Out Against Measure S
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The March 7 election is just days away, which means the heated debate over Measure S will soon be coming to an end. The panelists at Wednesday's Future of South Park event could not resist weighing in on the measure, which would halt large developments.
While some said they understand what its proponents are trying to do, the measure is not going to solve the city's problems with planning and zoning, according to panelists.
Measure S, also known as the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, would place a two-year moratorium on big developments, banning most spot zoning and other amendments.
"When you put a blanket over a city as big as LA, you don't know what kinds of unintended consequences it will have," said Javier Cano, The Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott LA, LA LIVE vice president.
LA Streetcar project director Shane Phillips opposed the initiative.
He said LA Mayor Eric Garcetti put it best by referring to Measure S's proponents as a group of people who maybe made the right diagnosis, but they have the wrong prescription.
Phillips said he believes there are problems in the city's current planning process, but the passage of Measure S would put more pressure on DTLA and on South Park in particular.
If Measure S passes, certain parts of downtown, namely the Arts District, would be "almost wholly prevented from adding housing over the next two or more years, which would put even more pressure on South Park, which has fairly permissive zoning already in place and quite a bit of underutilized land, and so would be less directly impacted by the Measure S ban," he said.
South Park BID interim executive director Ellen Riotto said voters need to consider what the measure would do on a broad scale if passed. The passage of Measure S would worsen the housing shortage crisis, not solve it, she said.
Pacific Property Partners managing partner Chris Atkinson said Measure S would be problematic, in particular with its ban of most spot zoning. Measure S proponents are saying carte blanche if it doesn't fit within the zoning, you can't do it, which may not be appropriate, he said.
"You can't make a blanket statement like that," Atkinson said. "I get what they're trying to do. The proponents are trying to say we don't want you to go and bribe or influence our policymakers to allow you to do whatever you like. I don't think we should be able to do that, but I don't think Measure S correctly adjusts that."