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Redondo Beach City Council places temporary ban on mixed-use development

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“Redondo does not have a housing shortage, and the crisis we do have really is a traffic crisis”

Aerial view of Redondo Beach
Controversy over new development has grown heated in the beachfront city.

Redondo Beach residents may see fewer mixed use developments popping up in the future. The City Council unanimously voted Tuesday to place a 45-day moratorium on most mixed use projects, which generally include a mix of housing and commercial space.

The ban can also be extended up to two years by a four-fifths vote of the council.

The moratorium won’t affect projects that have already been approved, but it will prevent future mixed use projects in areas zoned for mixed use development.

As the Daily Breeze reports, much of the public debate around the measure centered on concerns that new housing—and new residents—would make the city too crowded, or place a burden on the public school system.

Mayor Bill Brand was quoted in the Daily Breeze saying that: “Redondo does not have a housing shortage, and the crisis we do have really is a traffic crisis and an on-again, off-again water crisis ... and if we continue with a lot of this residential, soon we’ll have school overcrowding.”

At the Tuesday meeting, Councilmember Nils Nehrenheim argued that by allowing developers to construct dense residential projects, rather than commercial structures, the city would lose out on tax revenue.

“Residential loses money for a city,” Nehrenheim said.

Nehrenheim also proposed extending the moratorium to include project sites zoned for commercial development, which would threaten the viability of a proposed makeover of the city’s South Bay Galleria.

Mall owner Forest City plans to add 300 units of housing and a 150-room hotel to the project site, while increasing the amount of retail space in the shopping center by over 1 million square feet.

According to the ordinance, some parcels zoned for mixed use development are close to traffic-clogged intersections and may thus be rezoned once the city updates its general plan—something city staff expect will happen within the timeframe of the moratorium if it’s eventually extended.

Fierce opposition to new development in Redondo Beach has grown louder in recent years; in March, voters there approved a ballot measure limiting waterfront development—and casting into doubt the future of a massive makeover planned for the city’s pier.