1-Year Ban on Commercial, Multi-Unit Housing Projects Voted in San Gabriel

Times Staff Writer

Ignoring official warnings that the measure could subject the city to lawsuits, San Gabriel voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a one-year moratorium on commercial and multi-unit housing construction.

With all 13 precincts reporting, the tally stood at 3,021 in favor of the moratorium to 614 against. The city of 32,000, situated about 8 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, has 12,991 registered voters. “The election returns state the obvious--we’ve got real problems in town in terms of the quantity and quality of development,” said Gary Meredith, co-chair of Citizens for Responsible Development, a grass-roots group that placed the initiative on the ballot.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Dec. 17, 1987 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday December 17, 1987 Home Edition Part 1 Page 2 Column 6 Metro Desk 2 inches; 51 words Type of Material: Correction
An article in Wednesday’s editions on a ballot measure approved in the City of San Gabriel incorrectly stated that the building moratorium will block plans to build a hotel and restaurant on the site of the Edwards Drive-in Theater. City officials say those plans are not affected because they are considered a “planned development” exempted under the measure.

The organization contended that the small-town character of San Gabriel was being irrevocably altered by rapid development, increased traffic and overburdened city services.

A building boom in the last five years, Meredith said, is “ruining San Gabriel.”


“Perhaps we were going too fast,” conceded Mayor Janis Cohen after the election results were announced. She said the San Gabriel City Council, on which she serves, had already taken steps to moderate growth in the community, but “apparently not as quickly as some citizens wanted.”

There was no organized opposition to the ballot measure, but all five council members had said that property owners might challenge the city in court if the initiative were approved. Over the weekend, flyers distributed by a group calling itself San Gabriel Citizens Against the Moratorium warned that many businesses might leave the community if their expansion plans were blocked.

Limits Expansion

The moratorium measure imposes a one-year ban on any new construction of commercial buildings or multifamily housing. It restricts expansion of existing commercial properties to 100 square feet, but does not affect construction of single family homes.


The moratorium will block controversial plans to build a hotel and restaurant complex on the site of the Edwards Drive-in Theater on Valley Boulevard. The issue was initially the main focus of the moratorium drive, which was recently switched to what protesters believed was the desperate need to temporarily halt all development.

Local Elections

San Gabriel

Ballot Measure 13 of 13 precincts FINAL


Shall an ordinance of the city of San Gabriel establishing a one-year moratorium on multiple-family residential development and commerical development projects be adopted?

Vote % Yes 3,021 83.1 No 614 16.9

Voter turnout 28.0%