Photo by John Schreiber.
Photo by John Schreiber.

Early results show Los Angeles voters are favoring a ballot measure that would require developers to provide affordable housing if they want to be exempted from existing zoning and planning rules.

Initiative Ordinance JJJ was passing with 59.74 percent of the vote.

The measure, put forward by labor groups, would apply to residential projects that include more than 10 units and require general plan amendments or certain types of zoning changes. Under the proposal, the projects would need to meet affordable housing, training, local hiring and prevailing wage requirements.

The initiative would also limit the city’s ability to deny general plan amendments for projects that are close to transit hubs, provide affordable housing and meet training, local hiring and prevailing wage requirements.

The initiative was spearheaded by the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, which says the incentives would create more affordable housing.

“Proposition JJJ won’t solve every problem,” proponents wrote in a ballot argument in favor of the initiative. “But if Proposition JJJ had been enacted three years ago, Los Angeles would have 5,522 additional new homes that people could afford today and 11,656 local residents would have had the jobs to build them.”

The measure is opposed by the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the L.A. Tenants Union, an activist group that says the initiative would lead to more displacement of low-income residents. Opponents recently released a study contending the measure will drive up construction costs — primarily through dramatically increased wage requirements — leading to higher housing costs and exacerbating the city’s housing situation.

“The fact is Measure JJJ will cost more for the same work, driving up the cost to build homes and making them more expensive,” opponents contend in their ballot argument. “First-time homebuyers will have fewer opportunities to find a home at a reasonable price.”

The measure is a rival of sorts to an initiative proposed for the March city ballot — the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative. That proposal calls for a temporary halt to zoning changes and general plan amendments, which backers contend lead to projects that are out of step with the existing character of a neighborhood.

–City News Service 

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