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Santa Monica No-Growth Measure Probably Going to Be on November Ballot

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If approved, it would mean a public vote on just about every project over 32 feet tall

Back in March, Santa Monica NIMBY group Residocracy were gathering signatures to put a very intense initiative on the November ballot. Called the Land Use Voter Empowerment (LUVE), it would make it so that almost all new projects taller than 32 feet would need to be approved by a popular vote.

Even by the standards of famously growth-wary Santa Monica, this seemed a tad severe. Some SaMo councilmembers who had found themselves allied with Residocracy on issue before were not feeling the LUVE. Their concerns stemmed mainly from the immense imbalance that would result from developers having to campaign for projects, a process that would heavily favor the developers with the deepest pockets. One councilmember stated that the measure would "would increase the cost of housing and services, increase city red tape and costs, thwart neighborhood improvements and impede environmental sustainability efforts."

At the time, it was predicted that despite these great opposing arguments to the LUVE, it might end up on the ballot anyway, since supporters only needed to gather around 6,500 signatures from registered voters. Well, that prediction rang true: Santa Monica Next reports that the LUVE has indeed made it onto the November ballot. in other words, we're not surprised, Santa Monica, just disappointed.

SMN notes that since the LUVE got the minimum required signatures, "the City Council will now have to decide whether to put the initiative on the November ballot or to adopt it as an ordinance directly." Give the previously expressed opposition of many councilmembers to the LUVE, it's not likely they're going to outright adopt the ordinance, so the LUVE will probably find its way to voters in a few months.

But just because the LUVE is on the ballot doesn't mean it will pass. The approximately 6,500 signatures represent about 10 percent of registers SaMo voters, but the initiative will need a lot more than that to pass. As has been noted, *a related item was placed on the ballot in 2008—one looking to limit commercial growth. It was voted against by 56 percent of Santa Monica residents.