Kevin Cody

New condos in Redondo Beach get council’s and neighbors’ approval

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The Alcast Foundry on 190th Street was founded in 1946 and moved to the City of Commerce last year. Photos by Kevin Cody

 

After multiple community meetings and two Planning Commission hearings, the 36-unit Foundry condominium development at 190th and Fisk Lane has received city approval.

At last week’s meeting, the Redondo Beach City Council voted unanimously to deny an appeal filed July 24 against the proposed project.

The six parcel site was formerly home to Alcast Foundry, which developed products for military use. Other retail businesses have also occupied the site. It was zoned for commercial use in the 1950s, and parts were converted to R3 zoning — low density multiple-family residential zoning — in the mid-1990s. 

The 36 two-story condominiums are designed in a “modern/contemporary” style. City staff began reviewing the project in January 2019 and hosted a community meeting to discuss details in December of 2019.

The project will involve the demolition of the industrial and retail buildings on the site and the removal of hazardous materials. 100 linear feet of street will be added along 190th, 90 linear feet along Fisk, and 30 along Spreckels. And it will include a new storm drain system and landscaping. 

The developer will pay the city $900,000 in Quimby fees, which are fees developers pay to fund and maintain public parks.

According to the plaque on the former Alcast Foundry, “The above inserts are the patterns used by Alcast Foundry in the first month of operation, September 1946.”

A letter signed by more than 60 neighbors cited concerns with the number of units, traffic, and parking impact. But after the July 16 Planning Commission hearing, the resident who submitted the letter wrote to the city, “I appreciate the new development,  as it replaces an industrial facility that had noxious fumes.”

Another resident wrote in a separate letter, “I am happy to see the residences in place of the foundry and the closed Dairy Mart. These are eyesores and create a terrible odor throughout the neighborhood.” She maintained, however, that it is “irresponsible” not to have a second point of access to the development.

A plaque at the Alcast Foundry describes the patterns embedded on the side of the building.

Sonja Trauss, executive director of YIMBY Law, a non-profit whose mission is to “increase the accessibility and affordability of housing in California,” wrote to the city that the state’s Housing Accountability Act prohibits cities from denying housing projects that are compliant with ordinances unless it’s a threat to public health and safety.

Following the July 16 Planning Commission meeting, Councilmember Nils Nehrenheim appealed the Conditional Use Permit, the planning commission’s design review, and the tentative tract map. In his appeal, he wrote that the project did not meet criteria, “including but not limited to setbacks, height, outdoor living space, landscape, zoning ordinance and policies, architectural style.” He also wrote, “I further state that I have no predisposition against or in favor of the project. I request that this appeal be heard by the City Council.”

Councilmember Christian Horvath asked Nehrenheim during last week’s meeting to elaborate.

“The project was appealed due to significant public interest and that’s it,” Nehrenheim said.

“I’m just wondering what that significant concern was,” Horvath said. “As the representative for the residents in the district, it hasn’t come my way.”

Nehrenheim replied, “It’s a matter of statewide concern, housing, and there’s a significant amount of public interest on this project.”

The appeal asserted that the project did not comply with city zoning. A staff report presented during last week’s meeting asserted the opposite is true, noting: the allowable number of residential units is 38, and the project proposes 36 (plus 12 guest parking spaces); the project improves traffic safety; no building will exceed a height of 30 feet; the project provides on average more than twice the required outdoor living space per unit — approximately 748 square feet instead of the minimum 350 square feet — and includes two common open-space areas; fences and walls are within allowed limits; etcetera. 

The report also noted the project is “integrated and compatible with the neighborhood.”

During last week’s City Council meeting, a neighbor said via Zoom, “I believe that the residents in our neighborhood want this project completed as the foundry has always made a significant smell and we’re going to get a beautiful project.” 

A representative of the League of Women Voters of the Beach Cities said providing housing is timely, important, and pressing. 

Though he voted to deny the appeal, Mayor Bill Brand noted, “There’s no affordable housing in this.” He added that affordable housing is “something that’s sorely lacking in Redondo Beach,” but that a discussion about inclusionary zoning must be reserved for another meeting. ER

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