CrossFit gym a $1 million ‘nuisance’ to Hermosa Beach

by Dan Blackburn

Hermosa Beach residents have learned their contribution to the battle against a Cypress Avenue fitness gym has cost them more than $1.25 million.

The city paid CrossFit Horsepower  $950,000, authorized by the city council Tuesday; legal costs paid to City Attorney Michael Jenkins’ firm, Best, Best & Krieger, have so far added an additional $302,200 to taxpayers’ tab.

Some elements of the agreement appear in court documents obtained from the City, notably that all parties agreed to limiting public comment, and that no party would have to admit wrongdoing or improper action. The document showed that city officials “are pleased” by the outcome.

Crossfit Horsepower was challenged on alleged neighborhood noise issues, leading Council Member Stacey Armato to obtain Council approval on a September 2018 vote to declare the business a public nuisance.

CrossFit owners Jed Sanford and Dan Wells took exception to the action and filed lawsuits in state and federal courts, naming as defendants the city, Armato, and the city’s Quality of Life prosecutor, Joy Albaquin.

Judge Mary Strobel ruled in the state case that Armato was “biased” when she cast her vote, finding the gym was a “nuisance.” The judge invalidated the council’s action. The city promptly appealed.

Both actions are now moot following the agreement.

City officials said they are limiting their comment to a statement contained within the court document:

“While the city believes its conduct of the nuisance abatement proceeding and adoption of the (enabling) resolution was in all respects proper and lawful, the city recognizes the uncertainty litigation presents, as well as costs associated by litigation. Additionally, CrossFit Horsepower  believes a settlement is in the best interest of their shareholders and the residents of Hermosa Beach. We are pleased with the outcome.”

CrossFit’s attorney, Kit Bobko of the law firm Ring Bender LLP, declined comment. ER

 

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Written by: Dan Blackburn

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