In Santa Monica, should voters control what gets built?

Across the country, communities are wrestling with how to reconcile new growth and development while also preserving their sense of place and quality of life.

Should that big, job-creating shopping center get built if it also going to make traffic worse? Is it smart for planners to approve the construction of a residential tower by a celebrity architect if it’s out of scale with the surrounding low-rise neighborhood of single-family homes?

On Election Day, voters in Santa Monica will decide whether or not to approve Measure LV. If passed, the ballot measure would require proposed development projects higher than two-stories tall to go to the voters for their approval. Those projects that don’t get a majority of support wouldn’t get built.

Supporters of Measure LV, which include many homeowners groups, say it’s a way to give residents a say in Santa Monica’s development and planning process. They argue too many projects on the drawing boards would make the city’s traffic worse and, more fundamentally, threaten the beachside community’s small town vibe.

But critics of Measure LV, which include both developers and civic groups, say Measure LV’s passage will politicize the planning process and make it harder for Santa Monica to build new affordable housing that the increasingly upscale city needs. That, say Measure LV critics, is a not so subtle way to keep outsiders out of Santa Monica.

Listen to our KCRW story about the Measure LV debate:

Here’s more from KCRW’s DnA.