Community activists in Hollywood filed an initiative on Wednesday to place a moratorium on major construction projects in Los Angeles and make it tougher for developers to get projects approved in the future.

The activists, who have formed a group called Coalition to Preserve L.A., include longtime critics of development projects and the politically savvy AIDS Healthcare Foundation. The AIDS group joined in the effort because its headquarters and one of its clinics is adjacent to the proposed Hollywood Palladium project that would involve two mixed-use towers up to 28 stories tall.

The group has put forward what it calls the Neighborhood Integrity Initiative, which would impose a moratorium of up to two years on major development projects and would bar approvals of projects requiring amendments to the city’s general plan. Once the initiative title and summary language is approved by City Attorney Mike Feuer, the group must obtain roughly 61,000 signatures to place the measure on the next citywide ballot.

“The city’s General Plan is supposed to preserve the distinct character of neighborhoods and to prevent infrastructure overload,” said AIDS Healthcare Foundation President Michael Weinstein. “It does not allow for piecemeal, parcel by parcel amendments to it that do not sufficiently take these things into consideration.”

“Such spot General Plan amendments have resulted in certain developers getting special treatment to build projects with densities and heights far beyond what is zoned for – unlawful favoritism that enables developers to maximize their profits at the expense of surrounding communities,” added Jacqui Shabel of the Hollywood Neighborhood Alliance.

Business groups reacted with alarm at the filing of the initiative.

“This initiative is NIMBYism at its worst,” said Carol Schatz, chief executive of the Central City Association, which represents major downtown business and property owners. “Los Angeles badly needs jobs, investment, housing and infrastructure and all of that would come to a standstill if this small group of NIMBYs has its way.”

Another local business group executive painted the activists as hypocritical.

“I find it interesting that many of those supporting this initiative are the same ones who opposed updating the Hollywood Community Plan,” said Leron Gubler, chief executive of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. “That plan is now 27 years old and badly in need of updating. If they truly don’t want exceptions granted to community plans, then they should allow community plans to be updated so that they meet today’s conditions.”

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