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Redondo Beach voters approve ballot measure limiting waterfront development

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It could kill a $300 million plan to revitalize the city’s harbor

Redondo Beach pier from above mikepmiller | creative commons

On March 7, Los Angeles voters overwhelmingly rejected anti-development initiative Measure S, but in nearby Redondo Beach, similar slow-growth measure passed easily, gaining 57 percent of the vote.

Measure C, like Measure S, seeks to curb large-scale developments—specifically in the coastal area around King Harbor. Unlike the Los Angeles initiative, though, the measure is fairly narrow in its scope and sets its sights one particular project.

That would be the $300 million plan to overhaul the city’s Waterfront through a public-private partnership with developer CenterCal. The project has been in the works for years, and a separate ballot measure passed in 2010 set limits on the scope of the new development.

Since detailed plans for the project emerged in 2015, public support for the proposed changes has been mixed. City boosters have argued it could revitalize the aging pier, while others have compared the development to a shopping mall. One Measure C campaign ad notes that the completed project would be larger than Downtown Disney.

In total, the revamped waterfront would include over 500,000 square feet of new development, including retail, restaurants, creative office space, a boutique hotel, a public market, and a movie theater.

The passage of Measure C is certainly a blow to CenterCal, which spent $525,000 on a campaign to defeat it. Still, the Daily Breeze notes that the waterfront project may not be dead just yet.

The sweeping initiative, which limits waterfront development, prohibits valet parking, protects two view corridors, and requires the city to preserve and maintain an existing swimming pool (among other things), may be subject to review by the California Coastal Commission. Moreover, the language of the measure doesn’t make clear whether it would even apply to the waterfront development, which the city’s Harbor Commission approved last year.

Project opponents, however, will have a key ally in the Mayor’s office going forward. On Tuesday, City Councilmember Bill Brand defeated current mayor Steve Aspel in his bid for reelection.

Brand is an outspoken critic of the CenterCal project. In a video promoting Measure C, he pointed out the views from the parking lot of Ruby’s Restaurant that would be blocked by new development should the plans move forward. “The project is way too big,” he said.