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Dramatic revamp of Redondo Beach waterfront put on hold

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The city has to fix the project’s environmental impact report, a judge says

Redondo Beach waterfront rendering Via The Waterfront EIR

Redondo Beach’s plans to dramatically remake its waterfront are on hold.

A court ruling says a key document in the planning process must be altered and re-distributed to the public before the project can get underway.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James Chalfant has ordered a number of revisions to the project’s final environmental impact report in response to a lawsuit filed by Building a Better Redondo, which sued the city of Redondo Beach to stop the project.

Among the tweaks that Chalfant ordered are that the city and developer assess the “visual impact” of a proposed hotel on views from Czuleger Park and the “human health impacts” of demolishing Seaside Lagoon to make way for a new beach.

The lagoon is swimming area with a sand-bottom that’s open to the public. It draws ocean water from beyond the breakwater via an intake pipe at a nearby power plant. The water is used to cool the plant turbines, and it’s chlorinated before it’s pumped into the lagoon, court records show.

“The project will demolish the existing swimming facility and the rock wall protecting the facility from Harbor waters, stop the chlorination of the swimming-related waters for the facility, and build a new beach using Harbor waters,” Chalfant wrote in his ruling. “The public health impacts of doing so must be evaluated.”

The plan to transform the waterfront, put forth by the El Segundo-based company CenterCal, has been divisive since a solid vision for the site emerged in 2015. Last year, a city ballot measure aimed squarely at halting the waterfront project passed with 57 percent support from Redondo Beach residents.

The measure put the plan in jeopardy, but didn’t entirely tank its chances of getting built. Whether the measure takes effect appears to be in the hands of the California Coastal Commission.

The redevelopment would produce an approximately 36-acre waterfront complex with over 500,000 square feet of new retail space, including a boutique hotel, restaurants, creative office space, a “specialty cinema,” and a market. The plan would also upgrade public space in the area, including the Marvin Braude Bike Path.

To make way for those new storefronts, nearly all existing properties in the Seaside Lagoon area and a large parking structure near the pier would be demolished. The Kincaid’s restaurant and a handful of public restrooms would be all that remains.

The final environmental impact report for the project was compiled over an almost three-year period and was released in July 2016.