Two waterfront sites ruled out for temporary pallet shelters, Seaside Lagoon backup

Two harbor front locations were proposed as locations to house a temporary homeless shelter were deemed infeasible. A third proposed waterfront location, Seaside Lagoon, will be considered as a contingency if the site at 1521 Kingsdale Avenue does not work out.

REDONDO BEACH—Redondo Beach’s Seaside Lagoon has been deemed a backup site for a temporary homeless shelter program should the approved location become infeasible by Dec. 30. The Redondo Beach City Council on Nov. 10 voted 4-1 to direct staff to carry out a pallet shelter temporary emergency transitional housing program at 1521 Kingsdale Avenue, with Seaside Lagoon evaluated as a backup.

The council also approved a funding agreement with the county of Los Angeles to receive $420,000 in federal CARES Act funding for the project.

Redondo Beach has a tight deadline to get the temporary homeless shelter set up in order to utilize the federal CARES Act funding. Per the requirements, at least one individual needs to be housed by Dec. 30. The Kingsdale site does require some prep work, prompting the council to put a contingency, Seaside Lagoon, in place should the work not be completed in time. The city would still need to get a permit or waiver from the California Coastal Commission to use Seaside Lagoon.

“I have a lot of concerns about Seaside Lagoon,” Council member Todd Loewenstein, who cast the dissenting vote, said at the Nov. 10 meeting. “We got liveaboard boaters literally across the street, a hundred feet from where this could happen, you have the Portofino, you have Seascape locations and I have a lot of concerns about the Kingsdale location.”

The program will be made of 15 Pallet shelters, tiny pre-fabricated homes with enough room to sleep two people. The temporary shelter will serve as an extension of a variety of efforts to aid the homeless the city has initiated over the past 15 months. It is also in part an effort to protect the homeless from severe illness amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Redondo Beach Pallet shelter

The Council agreed to keep the Pallet shelters in place for six months, at which time they will re-evaluate.

“If it goes sideways, we can shut it down in a month or two,” Mayor Bill Brand said at the Nov. 10 City Council meeting. “We have great security, its going to be fenced off, there’s going to be cameras, 24-hour security, that was a big contingency of ours that was met and most importantly we’ll be able to help the homeless in Redondo.”

It had initially been proposed for the Pallet shelters to move to Moonstone Park after the first six months at the Kingsdale site. However, Moonstone Park would require a permit or waiver from the Coastal Commission and was deemed infeasible by city staff. City Attorney Michael Webb said initial feedback from Coastal Commission staff was use of Moonstone Park would raise issues related to coastal access since the area is an active coastal recreation area and a waiver would be unlikely.

Another waterfront site, the SeaLab property at 1021 N. Harbor Drive, was offered up by the new property owner as another possible location for the temporary shelter.

“I am willing to provide 20,000 square feet of the property at no cost to the city for the first six months of the program as I finalize plans for its redevelopment,” Leo Pustilnikov, the SeaLab property owner, said in an email to the city.

Staff evaluated the location for suitability for the program and returned to the City Council at the Nov. 10 meeting with a determination that it was also unfeasible. According to a staff report, the variations in grades, debris, unknown substances and material present at the site and disruptions to contiguous useful space, would require significant investment in time and cost to address the various constraints. It would also require Coastal Commission approval.

Some boaters, paddlers, and hotel managers spoke in opposition to a waterfront location at the Oct. 20 City Council meeting where the discission on the topic stretched four hours. Several members of the public also raised concerns about the Kingsdale location due to its proximity to several schools and residences. Others vocalized their support for the program at the Nov. 10 meeting.

Under City Council direction from the Nov. 10 meeting, the city will begin preparing the Kingsdale site. The council also directed the city attorney to return with an ordinance prohibiting camping within 500 yards of the emergency transitional housing facility.

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