Public comment period over for Redondo Beach Waterfront proposal

REDONDO BEACH — An initial public review period of Redondo Beach’s planned upgrade of its waterfront and harbor area ended last month, setting the stage for additional dialog between residents, city officials and the developer. The city will be using the input gathered from three public review meetings to prepare its Final Environment Impact Report (EIR) for California Coastal Commission review.

Redondo Beach hosted three public comment review sessions between Nov. 21, 2015 and Jan. 9 to receive input from residents and stakeholders about the planned waterfront renovation.

City officials and the project developer, CenterCal, said the renovation project, once complete, would enhance public access to and recreational opportunities on the waterfront, improve aging infrastructure, upgrade views, and redevelop or expand visitor-serving retail uses.

A revitalized Redondo Beach waterfront could include open space, a public market, hotel, expanded boardwalk area, entertainment options, and recreational opportunities such as swimming, kayaking and standup paddleboarding.

Other enhancements could include a new boat launch ramp (in place of the current boat hoists), renovated parking and pedestrian access to Redondo Beach Marina Basin 3, and improvements to Seaside Lagoon.

CenterCal CEO Fred Bruning said residents and stakeholders provided positive and negative comments during the public review period. There were questions of the project’s size or general opposition to developing any sort of major project on the Redondo Beach coast, Bruning said.

“The city is collecting all the comments, and will be addressing them in their EIR submittal to the Harbor Commission,” said Bruning. “There were a good number of positive comments, while some of the negative comments range from the size of the project to objections to some of the uses. I think in all it will result in a good discussion with the Harbor Commission and the city, and I am looking forward to the dialog.”

How the revitalized waterfront would impact public views of the ocean and whether the presence of sea lions in the harbor pose any threats to boaters or visitors were other concerns reportedly raised during the review period.

Also on the table is how the proposed revitalization would impact the local sportfishing community.

At least two interest groups formed to raise awareness about the waterfront redevelopment: Rescue Our Waterfront and Voices for Waterfront Vitality. 

Rescue Our Waterfront’s mission is to “realize a revitalized, not supersized, harbor area,” according to the group’s website. The group also lists “five fatal flaws” with CenterCal’s waterfront redevelopment, which includes more traffic, an uneven ratio of added development to increased vehicular parking, obstructed views, less parking for boat trailers, and impacted water quality.
Christina Jesperson recently launched Voices for Waterfront Vitality to gather support for the CenterCal project.
Attempts to reach Jesperson and representatives of Rescue Our Waterfront were not successful prior to press time.

Bruning told the New York Times his firm studied nearly three dozen waterfronts, including a few in Europe, to influence plans for the Redondo Beach waterfront.

Redondo Beach is seeking to upgrade a waterfront it identified as aging and dilapidated.

“The public infrastructure that exists in the waterfront today was developed in a piecemeal fashion over many years and lacks the functionality necessary to provide a first-rate visitor experience,” city staff told council members in a report last month. “Given the advanced age of the facilities, many have or are reaching the end of their useful life and will require significant expense to repair and/or replace in coming years.”

City staff estimated construction costs for a redeveloped waterfront would range between $37.5 million and $108 million.

Redondo Beach’s City Council discussed a few waterfront redevelopment items at its Jan. 19 meeting, including how to finance the CenterCal project and whether to extend the city’s exclusive negotiating agreement with the El Segundo-based developer.

Council members narrowly voted to extend its exclusive agreement with CenterCal to avoid making a $600,000-plus payment for consulting services related to environmental and legal reviews.

The council also discussed the condition of a parking structure at the city’s waterfront and how the project could positively or negatively impact Redondo Beach’s fiscal health.

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One thought on “Public comment period over for Redondo Beach Waterfront proposal

  • Matthew Udewitz

    It was apparent that the City and the Current Mayor, steam rolled this lease agreement through the city. Not listening to concerns of the people, residents, or neighbors of the project. The mayor clearly gave the notion that CenterCal was the selected suitor and that they want this to move forward. However, they understand all the important issues now are in the hands of the Coastal Commission.

    There are major issues regarding the height and size of the proposed layout and structures. The current proposition is for 2 story structures that are 50 to 80 feet in height. I spoke to a Redondo Beach fireman and they stated that typical structures are 10 feet high per story. There is no reason that this structure should be higher than 25 feet high. There are views from neighbors, residences, local parks, and sidewalks that are supposed to be protected view corridors that have not been addressed and completely bullied into the entitlement process.

    Also, the architecture choice is not of California beach culture. In the opinion of many it should be Spanish or Craftsman style, typical to the history of California and the surrounding beach cities.

    The seals. There are currently over a dozen seals that live in the area year round. The proposal calls for the opening of the Sea Side Lagoon. This is a National Treasure. It currently has water filtration and safety issues. These need to be addressed with the new project. However, opening the lagoon to the wild is not a good idea. In La Jolla where this occurred the seals took over the beach and breed in the Spring time. It is a beautiful site to see the breeding animals giving birth on the sand and in the water from the beach. However, when they are breeding the seals are very protected and create beach use right arguments between humans and seals. As seen in La Jolla. This needs to be a beach for kids like it is now. Protected from swells and clean water. If that means more money to spend on a proper water treatment facility than so be it. They are projecting a multi-million dollar development. They need to cure the issues not create more.

    There are obvious issues regarding the cleanliness of the water. There are also parking garages that are in great disrepair that must be fixed. Although these items cost extra money, they are not worth trading in heights over 25ft and blocking existing view corridors.

    They want to attract millions of people to Redondo Beach. This has to be done with public transportation and not car travel as there is simply not enough parking.

    Furthermore, if there is a disaster or emergency on the pier when the pier is crowded with millions of people and the streets around the pier are flooded with traffic, how are fire, ambulance, and police going to access the pier? The city will need a hover craft ambulance service to support the added traffic.

    The Mayor has said this development will not effect the city and the need for more city workers. They will need more city police officers and security officers to run a tight ship.

    Also, they will need to find a way to combat the homeless issues that will arrise as the homeless are dropped off here by the bus system of Los Angeles County.

    It is in my opinion that the lagoon stay a lagoon and not be opened to the sea water. This water is already heavily polluted. The lagoon should have treated healthy safe water for babies and little children to enjoy the water’s edge. As I did when I was little.

    The lagoon area, should be doubled in square footage terms, not shrunk.

    The footprint of the proposed development should be at leased trimmed by a third if not a half.

    There really is no reason to have a street down the middle of the retail mall. This is a walking area for people and should be more like a beach park. Not a mall. The current ingress and egress of the property is packed bumper to bumper during the summer time peak days that are hot days and weekend days. The traffic can not move an inch for hours as a result of overcrowding. Putting a drive down the middle of this proposed development is simply illogical.



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