Letters to the Editor 3-7-19
I encourage all Sepulveda-adjacent residents to provide feedback on the proposed ordinance by the City of Manhattan Beach to increase the height limits to 45 feet from the current 30 feet [“Hotel height limits on Sepulveda may rise,” ER Feb. 7, 2019].
I served as resident representative on the Sepulveda Corridor working group and I helped develop this change. As a resident who was heavily involved in the recent struggle to make the Gelson’s development project more palpable to our neighborhood, I feel I have a unique perspective on issues regarding developments on Sepulveda.
Approximately 10 percent of MB residents live within two blocks of Sepulveda, so what happens on Sepulveda is meaningful to a lot of people. By increasing the height limitation, developers have much more flexibility on otherwise very small commercial lots, and the City can have a greater variety of options to consider as a result.
I wish this ordinance had been in effect earlier. I personally would have welcomed a boutique hotel in my neighborhood as an alternative to a grocery store. That would have been a much bigger revenue contributor (food sales are tax exempt, so roughly 75 percent of grocery store sales generate zero revenue) to the City — a win-win situation.
The proposed increased height is modest — there will not be a “canyon effect” if this is implemented. Please support this change either in person or through eComments.
Short term vacation rentals in Manhattan Beach [“Short-term rental ban will be lifted,” ER Jan. 17, 2019] – strict enforcement with false teeth!
I contacted code enforcement to report an illegal short term rental creating a major neighborhood disruption. The reply received was they need to catch the renters in the act, and many times the owners will instruct them to state they are friends, and not renters.
Given this, my concern is how will the proposed strict enforcement be accomplished? Who will tally the rental days to ensure they do not exceed 60 days per year? Who will monitor the days to ensure taxes are paid?
If the policy cannot be enforced under a complete ban, then the talk of putting teeth into allowing short term rentals is a pipe dream.
We are homeowners in the sand section and we are writing in opposition to the vote to allow short-term rentals [“Short-term rental ban will be lifted,” ER Jan. 17, 2019].
There is currently a ban on short-term rentals in the city but it is not enforced. Short-term rentals turn real neighborhoods into unregulated places of commercial enterprise. Homes are not intended as places of commerce. Homeowners should not be made responsible for summoning police when noise and other infractions occur on the properties of absentee commercial enterprises.
The owners of short-term rentals are not on site and hence do not hear and do not take responsibility for the noise created by short-term renters. Renters arrive for a vacation and act just like people on vacation. There is a place for this – hotels. Not inside densely packed Manhattan Beach Sand Section. Like vacationers everywhere, short-term renters are up late and make noise – just by driving and talking boisterously later at night than is comfortable for those not on vacation, and who need to be up early for work.
Though Airbnb describes its rentals as sharing a home with others, in Manhattan Beach over 90 percent of rentals are whole home rentals, and a quarter are advertised to sleep eight or more people.
The financial desires of short-term rental owners should not supersede the interests of the majority to have real neighborhoods free from deregulation and commercial hotel units in homes. Instead of repealing our short-term rental ban, let’s start enforcing it.
Here’s a little poem I wrote and sent to Terry (husband of the late JoAnn Turk) [“JoAnn Turk was an anchor of Redondo Beach King Harbor,” ER Feb. 21, 2019]:
A Tribute to JoAnn Turk
She had the right vibes for all of her life.
She knew what to do, and she did it right.
A two-city gal, she had much to share.
She jumped right in, with a quite flair.
Gentle, persistent, she worked very hard.
As Redondo’s advocate, she really starred!
Everyone loved her, and we all know why
She was clear in her thinking, and her values were high.
Facing death was her final challenge
We miss her presence, intellect, spirit and knowledge.
To you, Terry we give thanks and praise.
For sharing her with us, in so many ways.
Your tax dollars
Relationships between traditional non-profit groups and City Hall are being tested [“City tries to reassure nonprofits in leasing policy talks,” ER March 1, 2019].
Hermosans should be concerned and interested in seeing how this manifests itself in terms of fees and availability of space. My own take is that Council should spend more time repairing buildings, adding equipment, and beatification so that demand increases and fair pricing policy can be established.
Taxes and fees in California are already sky high. Spending tax dollars on structures such as the Clark Building would be a welcome change. As Dr. Jordan Peterson wrote in “2 Rules for Life” (Rule #1) “Clean up your room, then make it beautiful, and then you will know what to do next.”
They are also an eyesore. There is no way you can look cool on one of those things…[“Bill aims to boost scooter safety,” ER Feb. 28, 2019].
I’m not sure what former Hermosa School District school board member Cathy McCurdy is referring to when she states she had to “fight an onslaught of fake news” [“True North: History weighs on Hermosa’s schools,” ER Jan. 31, 2019].
In 2002, when Cathy McCurdy was on the board, voters were promised that HBCSD would revamp Valley and View schools, build at least 13 new classrooms, and add a gymnasium to the Valley School campus.
A year before neighbors would decide to challenge the School District’s Environmental Impact Report, Easy Reader reported that the board maintained plans for a large gym, while scaling back a planned library and eliminating two proposed classrooms. In addition, “cutbacks to the design would not be necessary had the district completed its plans a year ago, before the costs of building materials rose dramatically and the bidding climate exploded.”
Several nearby residents complained that the 100-seat gym “might crowd further the already impacted neighborhood adjoining the school,” ER reported.
In February 2005, the EIR for the gym project predicted that parking problems in the neighborhood would be significantly worsened.
According to Ryan McDonald’s article [“True North: History weighs on Hermosa’s schools,” ER Jan. 31, 2019], former Hermosa public works Superintendent Mike Flaherty suggested reconfiguring the Valley School driveway to fit more people on the campus and have fewer queuing on the street, but was told the board could not afford that, because it spent so much money defending the bond, (i.e. building a high school sized gymnasium instead of classrooms).
The cost for the district to defend itself from the lawsuit was reported to be $138,000. Somehow I doubt that amount had the “ironic effect of limiting the district’s flexibility on the Valley project” as McDonald wrote.
He quotes Cathy McCurdy as saying “Everybody was so freaked out that the gym was going to create a big nightmare of noise and use at odd hours. Well, that didn’t come to fruition.”
Yes, the district’s plan to use the high-school sized gymnasium as a “revenue generator” for the district did not come to fruition – there obviously wasn’t enough need in the South Bay for an additional gymnasium for sports leagues. Instead our students went without classrooms.
by Judy Rae