Los Angeles City Hall on June 20 saw a coalition of developers, homeowners and realtors stand against environmentalists during an emotional meeting of the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee, which discussed a proposed Wildlife ordinance, which calls for restrictions on development around Los Angeles’ Santa Monica Mountains and Griffith Park.

The wildlife ordinance passed a major milestone on Tuesday when committee members voted unanimously to bring the ordinance to the broader city council. The full council has not yet scheduled a vote.

Before the vote, councilor John Lee demanded that the ordinance be sent to the Planning Department for more review, but his motion was not supported. Congresswoman Monica Rodriguez was absent.

Councilwoman Katy Yaroslavsky is one of the main supporters of this council, and the bill has been passing City Hall since 2014. She told the committee that development in the Los Angeles hillside area is dangerous for animals and people.

“I get a lot of calls from constituents talking about mudslides and flooding because of the construction going on on the hillside above them. It’s creating dangerous conditions for residents and animals,” Yaroslavsky said.

Supporters and opponents of the bill faced off during more than an hour of public comment. Proponents claim that development in forested areas has long been unsustainable. They said insurers such as State Farm acquiesced in a vote of confidence in their position when they recently withdrew from new California property insurance policies over wildfire risks.

Opponents, such as Jon Grauman, an attorney with residential real estate firm The Agency, said the bill would upend property rights and values.

“The idea that we have to choose between protecting the planet and protecting our homeowners is a false narrative. We can do it without robbing people of their life savings,” Grauman said.

He urged the committee to reconsider parts of the bill he considered controversial, such as buildings and structures not being able to cover more than 50 per cent of a property’s total area.

Other parts of the ordinance will protect wildlife and biodiversity by limiting fencing and tree felling. The ordinance also specifies the classification of soils for construction.

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