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Monday, May 16, 2022

Santa Monica Turns Away from Anti-Growth LUVE Initiative

Developers seeking to build in Santa Monica can breathe a sigh of relief.

Voters on Tuesday rejected the anti-growth Land Use Voter Empowerment initiative, also known as LUVE.

Measure LV would have put any project taller than 32 feet – about three stories – to a Santa Monica citywide vote, putting tremendous veto power into the hands of local residents.

Although many long-time residents advocated for a say in the city approval process on major projects, developers worried that the measure was too extreme, with the potential to scare away business and freeze development.

About 56 percent of voters appeared to have taken their side, voting against the measure.

Debate over growth has long been contentious in Santa Monica, with many residents concerned over worsening traffic, weak infrastructure, and dramatic changes to the character of a seaside city with little room to sprawl. Even so, voters also rejected an anti-growth initiative in 2008.

The projects that may now be able to proceed down an easier path include a 21-story expansion of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and a 22-story condo tower designed by architect Frank Gehry.

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