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On local government – Council should appeal plan for 791 new Manhattan homes

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by Mark Burton

The City of Manhattan Beach could be required to build an additional 791 housing units by 2029 under the Southern California Association of Government’s  (SCAG) draft Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA). How do you go from a previous housing goal of 38 to 791? Yes, in a city that was fully built out more than 40 years ago, with a high percentage of residences per square mile, incredibly narrow streets and little or no parking.  You’ve got to be kidding, right?  

No, not if the Southern California Association of Governments recently proposed goals for our city become final.

Appeals may be submitted, beginning in March. So, the city council can place the draft housing goal on an their upcoming agenda, discuss the sheer nonsense of this housing goal and move to file an appeal. Our council could take a leadership role by requesting Hermosa Beach and Redondo Beach join in this appeal.  

The State Housing Law as part of the periodic updating of the city’s General Plan mandates that the RHNA sets housing goals, based on housing needs.

In the past, the new housing focus was on inland communities,  with abundant land for new housing. However, this new draft RHNA shifts the focus to coastal communities such as the Beach Cities, cities already built out with little land and lots of density.  The reason is to reduce long work commutes and greenhouse gas emissions.    

Interestingly, the RHNA goals determine how much housing a city must allow under their zoning laws, but does not require that those units actually be built.  Are the RHNA goals an effort to force our City to change its zoning laws to permit high-rise housing, something we are seeing throughout Los Angeles and other cities?  Can you imagine 5 to 10 story buildings on Sepulveda Boulevard with hundreds of apartments? Is mixed use our future? I sure hope not!

I urge our City Council to appeal SCAG’s draft RHNA housing goal of 791 new housing units for the City of Manhattan Beach.

This is a time for our City Council to be proactive.

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