Updated: Oct 4, 2022
This is how the Highrose/Veranda development project can be stopped. Governor Newsom signed AB 2011, which makes clear that no low income housing should be located within 3,200 feet of a facility that actively extracts or refines oil or natural gas for health and safety reasons. This development clearly borders the Chevron El Segundo refinery. It’s not 3200 feet, its 10 feet!. The size and sprawl of this project is due in part to the density bonus awarded to the developer because of the 6 low income units included as part of it’s approval. Keep in mind, the 2013 Ordinance, 13-0006 on the books, passed by City Council which permits this project, allows developers to declare open season on our coastline’s skyline. This ordinance is a means to override our local laws. Last Friday at 3pm, City Council approved Phase 6 of the housing requirement study which identifies sites around the city to be rezoned for high density housing. This has the potential to put up to an additional 3000 units or more in the City. Considering there are relatively few rental units in our city, the impact will be huge. We need to repeal City Ordinance 13-0006. It puts too much power into the State’s hand and removes our local zoning requirements which allow for normal review levels on every issue – environmental, density, traffic, parking, building height, etc., and it relaxed our zoning laws across the board on every aspect of our General Plan. The California Constitution guarantees all cities the right to pass and enforce their own laws, therefore, the State legislative branch cannot pass laws that attempt to interfere with our laws. Our rights come from the California Constitution, not the State legislative branch. This is an important issue for Manhattan Beach and the look and feel of our community in the future.
It has become quite obvious to anyone paying attention to Highrose Project, which reeks of back room deals and the long arm of Sacramento. For those of you who do not know, the Highrose Project is a 4 story, 79-unit monstrosity to be built at the corner of Rosecrans and Highland Aves in El Porto. A developer seemingly swoops in, as if in the dead of night, to be awarded a never before granted building permit, and build a structure far beyond established city building codes, as well as be exempt from environmental impact studies. This behemoth of developer excess ignores limits and enforcements, while smacking the face of each and every person or entity that has built in the City of Manhattan Beach over the past 100 years.
Why does this one get a pass? Why does this one seemingly breeze through the environmental and traffic study scrutiny that all others before it seem to have fallen? The answer is politics.
Politics from the high hills of Sacramento and our seemingly placid City Council, either eager to appease, or bamboozled by the overlords of the Golden State. So much so that in 2013, our City Council comprised of members, Mayor David Lesser, Mayor Pro Tem Amy Howorth, Council Member Wayne Powell, Council Member Mark Burton, Council Member Tony D’Errico voted to vote along to get along, and to hands down approve, and not oppose, ANY mandates to be dictated from our state capital. That’s right, this past City Council, members who are currently asking for your vote for a seat on the current council, passed an ordinance which appears to remove any and all established or pending rules, ordinances, or laws from the city and citizens of Manhattan Beach, in favor of overreaching state mandates. Frankly, I don’t think they even understood the severity of how this ordinance was crafted to punitive hamper the city down the road. Sacramento wants what Sacramento gets, and the City Council can totally and irredeemably ignore the wishes of the citizenry, by dictum. This is regardless of the theatrics put on in the halls of the City Chambers, or closed circuit broadcasts of the Tuesday night meetings. Furthermore, the current council, under pressure from the public, took no action at the August 16th meeting and chose to kick the can kick the can down the road until September’s council meeting.
(update - Sept. meeting pushed as well)
Regardless of politics, the environmental, traffic, and population impact at the corner of Rosecrans and Highland will be devastating if this 50 foot Highrose Project goes forward. It will permanently and irrevocably disrupting the traffic flow, add to the congestion, and produce more local pollution, not to mention the unknown consequences of building directly under the scenic beauty of our… oil storage tanks. That’s right, this development will have more optical impact than those industrial eyesores that are uphill from the build site along the north edge of Rosecrans.
This will also be the first of many for developers to use the “low income” ruse as only 6 of the units earmarked as low income units. This is a means to destroy the low skyline we enjoy throughout most if not our entire coastline. Manhattan Beach will begin to look like Santa Monica with it’s towering, claustrophobic beachfront, and the our city will never be the same. When I’m elected, I will work to better understand how we rescind these ridiculous mandates, like this one from 2013, which are now ordained into the Manhattan Beach City code. We need new leadership to keep these developers at bay, and from over populating our already taxed thoroughfares and traffic routes. I will do all that I can to minimize the size of the Highrose project if not stop it all together.