Hermosa Beach consultant enlisted for development advice
by Daniel Blackburn
A Los Angeles planning consultant is soliciting ideas from some Hermosa Beach business owners regarding their hopes for future development of the downtown area and other areas of the city.
Economic & Planning Systems (E&PS) provided the city with a market and economic analysis in January 2014. That study was used in developing the 2014-2015 Downtown Core Revitalization Study, said city spokesperson Laura Mecoy.
Last November, the city council $22,500 contract for conducting the new study.
According to that contract, the consultant will “provide an updated market and economic analysis… [and] a strategy for increasing day-time population” in the downtown business zone.
The study, according to city officials, will “inform the Economic Development Committee during the pandemic and future planning; update the downtown revitalization strategy; and identify trends for zoning code updates.”
Ken Robertson, the city’s community development director, said, “Our guide is PLAN Hermosa [the city’s general plan]. That said, we are always committed to a robust community engagement process when it comes to implementing policies and when and if there are changes.
“For example,” he added, “we are currently involved with the Housing Element and need to address our housing allocation, Zoning Code update and developing an Economic Development strategy and action plan.”
Study sessions and public hearings will accompany the new study, said Robertson.
Jake Cranor, a senior associate for E&PS, said in a letter to some business owners that the consultants are “looking at the city as a whole.”
He said that he and a colleague, Jim Mulbach, “are hoping to speak with knowledgeable members of the community with experience in the local business environment.”
Cranor said a Zoom meeting with interested parties will be scheduled during coming weeks.
Mike Lacey, owner of the Comedy & Magic Club, was one of those who received a letter from Cranor. He’s waiting to hear from the consultants, he said, and when he does, he has “some questions” for them.
“Why aren’t city officials asking the people in this town what they would want for the downtown and Aviation area?” he wondered. “There is so much talent, so many good ideas, it would be a lot more cost effective to get volunteer input from residents and businesses, and that would bring us all together.”
Lacey, a fixture in Hermosa Beach for 42 years, said communication with city officials “is nearly impossible. It’s sad and disrespectful. They are ripping the heart out of this town. They are creating a recipe for a town that is going to disappear,” he said, explaining that Hermosa’s reputation as an arts-friendly community “is being driven out. When there is nothing else to come to town for, then maybe they will learn.”
Lacey added, “I don’t want to come off as negative, because I love this town. But this is an easily-fixable problem.” ER
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