Anti-development initiative added to March ballot

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LA voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on a controversial anti-development ballot measure this coming March, now that it’s officially been added to the ballot.

Backers of the measure submitted almost 104,000 petition signatures supporting the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative to the City Clerk’s office in August. Now, those signatures have been verified and the City Council voted Friday to place the measure on the ballot.

The council could also have chosen to leave voters out of it and adopt the measure themselves, but given that at least six members of the council have publicly sided with a group opposing the initiative, that was probably never a likely outcome.

If approved by voters, the measure would put a two year moratorium on most major developments and force the city to adhere to the zoning laws set forth by community plans until those plans can be updated—likely to be a fairly long process.

Originally planned for the November ballot, backers of the measure later set their sites on March, in an apparent bid for a less crowded ballot—and a lower turnout.

An unusual alliance of developers, philanthropists, and affordable housing activists has formed to challenge the proposal, arguing that it would exacerbate the city’s extreme shortage of affordable housing and contribute to alarming spikes in the population of homeless residents.

Recent poll numbers suggest that backers of the initiative have their work cut out for them in winning over the two-thirds of voters needed to approve the measure. Only 37 percent of respondents to a poll commissioned by the Coalition to Protect Los Angeles Neighborhoods and Jobs said that they planned on voting for the measure.

Still, the Coalition to Preserve LA is waging a strong PR fight and recently managed to solicit endorsements from a group of A-list celebrities that includes Leonardo DiCaprio and Kirsten Dunst.

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