Ryan McDonald

Nighttime construction hours OK’d for Manhattan Beach Village mall project

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Manhattan Beach City Hall. Photo by Caroline Anderson

Manhattan Beach City Hall. Photo by Caroline Anderson

by Ryan McDonald

The Manhattan Beach City Council unanimously approved a developer’s request to conduct construction at night at the Manhattan Village Mall, saying the work involved required evening hours because of safety concerns.

The decision allows developer JLL, who is handling the mall’s interior updates as well as the upcoming city-approved expansion plan, to perform nighttime construction for a period stretching from May 1 to Nov. 15. Anne McIntosh, the city’s interim community development director, said evening hours are needed to work on the clear-story canopy located near the center of the mall. The six-and-a-half month period is a maximum, and that the evening construction may be done sooner depending on how long the canopy work takes.

Phil Friedl, a senior vice president with JLL, said that construction will not take place every night during the allotted period. And the nature of the work, Friedl said, made it dangerous to do during daylight hours when customers were inside the mall.

“I want to stress how critically important it is to be able to do this work at night for safety reasons,” he said.

The council unanimously approved the nighttime hours, relying on a portion of the municipal building code that allows them to grant exceptions to the traditional construction rules. But an ambiguity in the code left some council members concerned about whether the city had followed the proper noticing procedures.

According to Mayor David Lesser, the code was ambiguous as to whether the city was required to notify nearby residents when the nighttime construction was about to begin, or when the decision of whether to approve the nighttime construction hours was to be made by the council. The Community Development Department reached out to only one resident of Manhattan Village — Diane Wallace, a past president of one of the two homeowners associations in the gated community — in advance of the meeting. Wallace did not respond to a call and an email, McIntosh said, and no residents of Manhattan Village spoke on the proposal.

The developer is in the process of conducting a noise study for the project, Friedl said. During construction, a 16-foot sound-blocking wall will be erected at the rear of the mall, and an eight-foot wall will be installed on the roof.


Campaign disclosure changes added


Following the local election with the most negative campaigning in recent memory, the council unanimously approved new requirements that council members say will improve public access to campaign finance documents.

The resolution, which Councilmember Wayne Powell had long sought to get before the council, requires the posting of documents from the state Fair Political Practice Commission within 72 hours, and instructs staff to acquire and install software to make the process more efficient.

The affected documents are currently available for inspection at City Hall upon request, and can be copied at 10 cents per page, said City Clerk Liza Tamura. But Powell and others said that it was important to make them accessible outside of business hours.

“This is particularly important now that our city is closed on Fridays,” Powell said, referencing the city’s 9-80 work schedule. “Our residents have daytime jobs, they have families. They don’t have time to come over here and pay for copying.”

Several speakers referenced Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis’ admonition that “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants,” lamenting the shroud of secrecy that surrounded mailers sent by an independent expenditure group in advance of this March’s election.

The new reporting system will include filings from the recent election. City Manager Mark Danaj estimated that the records would be available on the city website within 60 days.


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