2006
Redondo Voter Survey commissioned by the City reveals that 60% of the voters polled felt that Redondo has too many condos. 31% felt we had enough condos. Only 6% felt we need more.

The City’s consultant pointed out that two of the top concerns of those Redondo residents polled were managing/limiting development and traffic.

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Facts and Myths about Measure DD

This is a BBR Archived page. The Land Use Initiative (Measure DD) passed and is now apart of the Redondo City Charter.

Learn the Facts about Measure DD

Myth: Measure DD would require a vote for photo of a starbucks iced coffeebuilding even one small Coffeehouse
Fact: Since Measure DD only addresses zoning changes, if a new coffeehouse wants to build in a current commercial zone it would not require a vote of the people.

In the unlikely event that someone wanted to build a Starbucks where your neighbor’s house currently is, in the middle of residential zoning - then yes it would require a public vote.

We felt in drafting the initiative that residents would want to vote if such a drastic change in zoning was proposed in the neighborhood!

(We have a hard time believing that a developer would be purchasing higher priced residential property to turn into less expensive commercial property. Zoning changes since the Heart of the City have mostly been changes from Commercial, Industrial, or Public uses to Residential.)

Myth: Currently we can vote on big development projects
Fact: Currently we cannot vote on large scale development without first getting the development project on the ballot via referendum.

Like the 2002 Heart of the City referendum, you may remember it was alot of work for volunteers requiring hundreds of hours educating the public and getting thousands of signatures. These referendums cost volunteering residents their private and family time.

Measure DD allows us to vote on big development projects once and for all - without needing costly and time-consuming referendums.

Myth: Modifying our Charter should be done only in extreme circumstances
Fact: We agree and this IS an extreme circumstance. Redondo’s land use trend of converting commercial and public property to high density condo zoning is an extreme circumstance that needs a check and balance.

We believe the actions of the City with regard to land use planning ignores the will of Redondo residents while adversely impacting our quality of life.

After years of trying to use city processes, the desires of residents falls on deaf ears. Ongoing high density planning activities advocated by City Planners include: Rezoning Catalina, rezoning Torrance Blvd for nearly 400 residential units, a mixed use project with 44 units on PCH, 750,000 square feet of additional development in our little harbor, the use of fatally flawed Heart of the City EIR….the list goes on.

Each of these requires an inordinate amount of resident efforts to fight these high density developments. Measure DD provides a check and balance that does not require residents to continually fight city hall to preserve their quality of life. A Charter Amendment means the City cannot change this check and balance without a vote of the people.

Redondo’s Charter Articles have been changed 91 times since 1951. 20 changes have occurred since 1990. City Council has placed 6 charter amendment propositions on the ballot since 2001.

A Charter Amendment is our only tool of last resort, we cannot continually do referendums, especially since the City has been breaking land use changes into smaller high density chunks.

Myth: The Initiative will hurt our schools
Fact: We believe that the practice of selling or leasing school property to be developed for uses other than school related uses needs to go to a public vote.

With the population of our City ever increasing, it is short-sighted at best to sell school lands that may be needed in the future.

The claim that Measure DD will impact school property values is being raised because the school district would like to have the option to develop what they consider to be surplus property into residential units. But for the most part this is a red herring because school districts usually only lease the land - which would not require a vote.

Myth: The land use initiative will stifle investment
Fact: The Initiative only affects large-scale developments by bringing them to a vote - it does not stifle business in Redondo rather it tailors it to the needs of local consumers.

Myth: The initiative will drive businesses away
Fact: The initiative was driven by the City’s accelerating trend of rezoning commercial and industrial property to residential property.

The City has been reducing the property available for business uses for years. They continue to rezone both public and commercial space to allow dense condominium projects.

Measure DD puts a check and balance on this conversion of zoning by requiring a vote.

Myth: You will not be able to remodel or rebuild your home without a citywide vote
Fact: The initiative does not require any vote for the remodel or rebuild of any residence. On our first initiative the opposition identified 5 homes out of over 29,000 that would be impacted because they did not conform to the current Commercial Zoning for their property.

Measure DD includes an exemption for all currently occupied non-conforming homes. Remodeling and rebuilding is not affected by Measure DD.

Myth: The initiative proponents are a bunch of NIMBY’s (Not in My Back Yard) that want to stop growth
Fact: We are a group of Redondo residents from every district that care about the future of our city. Many of us feel that irresponsible land use decisions have eliminated commercial zoning and increased population density while ignoring the long term impacts on city revenues.

Some of us represent concerns about traffic, congestion and pollution, and over burdening of our schools and local hospitals. Many of us understand that the history of development in Redondo despite the best intentions of city officials has made some grave mistakes.

Somehow in the process of land use for large projects the goals for the community become mixed up with the goals of the developer and the community ends up on the losing end once again.

For this reason, we support a land use initiative to at the very least bring large scale developments to a vote of the people - so we all can decide on zoning changes that affect our quality of life for years to come.

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Myth: The land use initiative will drive unreasonable costs on the city
Fact: The initiative requires the proponent, for example, the developer, not the city of Redondo, to pay the costs of an election. It’s one extra step in the process of growth and development and we feel it’s well worth it to be able to develop in our fair city.

Myth: But what if the city is the proponent of a major zoning change, won’t that be expensive?
Fact: If the city is the proponent, we would have to foot the bill, but costs can be kept low:

Investment in elections measuring the public will on land use for large scale development is a minimal investment considering that these decisions will affect Redondo for generations to come.

Myth: After the Heart of the City, the city has gotten the message of balanced growth
Fact: If only that were true. The city continues to rezone public and commercial space to allow for dense condominium projects, including building condos at 25 units/acre on Catalina, in the Heart of the City Zone. Remember how we all voted against the dense zoning that would give us 20-25 units per acre there?

While the Planning Commission agreed with the citizens that RMD was too dense for that acre the City Council voted to Upzone it to RMD = 23 units per acre.

To justify these actions the City Council sited Beach Cities Transit as a reason to approve more density because it would supposedly cut down 185,000 car trips per year!

Unfortunately, that is also not true. A critical transport for our seniors and disabled people here in Redondo, in reality, the BCT buses are not saving us 185,000 car trips per year - we run the system at a deficit of $1.5M annually with less than filled capacity.

Myth: We have too much commercial property already
Fact: The elimination of commercial properties and incentivizing of blighted business areas where residents could actually work or shop locally only exacerbates the traffic related impacts of increased residential density.

The approval of projects that increase population density without the corresponding investment of the city’s infrastructure required to support these increases continues unabated.

-- Potholes, city sewers and lighting and landscaping all must be taken into account as each new residence is added. The impact to our quality of life is measurable. Many of us drive long hours to and from work and commute daily during rush hour traffic (as most working residents do) we feel the direct impact of these unbalanced land use decisions.

Myth: The current City process works
Fact: The current process is not working. On a recent land use change for property east of Catalina Blvd, that included commercial and public property, the City Council ignored the neighborhood residents, overrode the Planning Commission recommendations, and INCREASED the density. Local residents who voiced their concerns at Council meetings were confused and dismayed at this decision.

At Torrance Blvd., rezoning to 189 condos was quickly pulled after the threat of a lawsuit appeared based on the city’s woefully inadequate environmental analysis. The project is now stalled, and again, costing us money.

Local residents and business owners alike are wondering what the future holds for Torrance Blvd. Will we have 2-4 story buildings with 8 foot setbacks lining the Torrance Blvd. corridor (like Huntington Beach or Santa Monica) with tons of gridlock traffic or will we get an expanded bike path with nice shops and cafes - all for strolling and shopping as one goes down to the Pier?

Whatever the future holds for this area, wouldn’t it be nice to vote on any large scale development that affects our quality of life?

Myth: The Land Use Initiative isn’t radical enough - I don’t want any development at all
Fact: Sorry - the initiative is only to allow a vote on large scale development. We are not totally against development but do share your concerns. This is why it is so important to get out and vote - and vote for people who share your views about development.

Right now, the city council is approving land use changes in smaller pieces to avoid the expected public opposition that larger plans bring. For example, the Heart of the City area is being broken down into pieces. The rezoning for a portion east of Catalina (mentioned above) is just the first step. That first small step approved zoning that would allow over 80 condos.

Just recently, the City has decided that our harbor and pier areas need 750,000 sq ft of new development. That is almost double that of the new El Segundo Plaza at PCH/Rosecrans.

Myth: Residents do not care about the conversion of commercial property to condos
Fact: We know from the 2006 Redondo Voter Survey commissioned by the City that 60% of Redondo Beach voters felt that Redondo has too many condos. 31% felt we had enough condos. Only 6% felt we need more. People in Redondo care about their city and density and traffic caused by over development is one of their top concerns.

A vote on this initiative will be the ultimate determinant of how much the people care about the current trends and processes of the City with respect to land use changes.

Myth: The initiative is anti-democratic or is against our representative form of democracy.
Fact: The initiative has been a democratic tool in California since 1911. The initiative is by nature democratic, requiring a binding vote of the residents. It came into being as a check and balance for situations where elected representatives fail to implement the will of the people for one reason or another.

It was created exactly for the situation Redondo faces to today. Had Redondo residents exercised this option in the 1960’s, we might still have a town center and be able to see our coastline and harbor from PCH and the north end of the Esplanade.

Ideally, our representatives would vote for what their constituency wants. For one reason or another Redondo’s representative processes for land use change have failed. Referendums and threats of lawsuits are the continued evidences of this failure. The initiative is the democratic tool designed for the situation Redondo faces now.

According to a survey conducted by Mark Baldassare from the Calif. Public Policy Institute, "Nearly seven in 10 (68%) say it is a good thing that a majority of voters can make laws and change public policies by passing initiatives, while only 24 percent think it is a bad thing. This positive perception of the initiative process is also largely unchanged over the past five years, and it is widely held across political groups, regions of the state, and racial/ethnic groups." Read the entire survey on the PPIC website, here: http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=626

Myth: The average voter is not intelligent enough to make land use decisions.
Fact: This is an insult to our voters, especially long time Redondo residents. Land use decisions affect everyone who lives, drives, walks, shops, works, worships, plays or goes to school in the city of Redondo.

For that matter, our councilmen are average citizens with no special qualifications or training in land use. They are no more qualified than the average citizen to make land use decisions and rely on city staff and the planning commission for recommendations.

Measure DD allows specific, easy to understand descriptions to be presented to the voters of Redondo so that they can make informed decisions. The requirements are also designed to prevent city staff from manipulating the data to try to skew the vote of the people.

Presented with these simple metrics, the people of Redondo can certainly make the decision whether a major land use change is worth the impacts they will feel directly on their lives and the lives of their children.

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Myth: The initiative impacts rights of property owners
Fact: The initiative does not impact the rights of property owners. If you own a single family dwelling on an R-3 lot, you can build anything that conforms to that zoning. However, anyone buying property with one zoning speculating that they can get a zoning change, is taking a risk. No one should expect to buy an R-1 lot and expect to able to put up a 25 unit condo or apartment.

Several commercial areas of the city are rundown because the property owners are awaiting rezoning to residential. That is exactly what happened east of Catalina. The property owner stated he did not invest in the commercial property because he bought it to put up residential units.

Our City decided to rezone that property to RMD= 23 units per acre. (Corner of Catalina Av and Francisca Av)

Our City is incentivising the neglect of our commercial zones by making these upzoning changes.

Learn more about Upzoning on our Traffic Report Page

Myth: Condos bring necessary revenue to the city.
Fact: While each new resident brings in $170 in property tax revenue, actual costs are $350 in services. It sounds hard to believe, but it’s true. That’s why in most cities, residential use ranks 5th in desirability due to the cost. What does that mean? It means that industrial and commercial uses are absolutely necessary to bring in net positive revenues.

If the city focused on making our existing commercial zones thrive rather than zeroing in on developing residentially - we would see city revenues increase. Business is our economic mainstay, not condos.

Myth: The initiative traffic thresholds are too low
Fact: Our transit corridors and major intersections are near capacity. The thresholds were developed from traffic analysis that determined the size of land use change that would trigger a key intersection going from a Level of Service of E to F. As an intersection approaches capacity, relatively small changes in traffic cause significant impacts to traffic. Our traffic infrastructure is at the ragged edge of capacity. One bus stop or garbage truck stopped on PCH during rush hour ripples traffic impacts back throughout the corridor. Another important concept to understand is that most businesses in Redondo accommodate traffic that would happen anyway. People must get groceries, clothing, and other essentials. So these businesses do not generate new traffic, they merely determine traffic patterns for traffic that is going to happen anyway.

However, each new residential unit generates between 5 and 12 NEW traffic trips per day – new residents going to work, going to the grocery store, dropping their kids off at school, going to the pharmacy, etc... Local business attracts current city traffic while NEW residential units create NEW traffic. Get More Traffic Facts here

Our current zoning allows for over 5000 new residential units or over 29,000 new car trips per day. Land use changes from commercial to residential only add to the dilemma. Similarly, schools, parking, recreational facilities and emergency rooms face capacity problems with each new residential unit.

Many people are unaware that our emergency rooms divert emergency ambulance traffic 20% of the time because they are over capacity! This really happens. Because our town is already near or in some instances over capacity, relatively small changes create huge impacts on quality of life, health and safety.

The initiative thresholds are designed around one of the critical metrics: the level of service of our critical intersections.

Myth: Measure DD prevents much needed affordable housing
Fact: Not true. According to Redondo’s 2000 Housing Element, our current zoning allows for over 5000 additional residential units to be built. This zoning already makes allowances for affordable housing.

Measure DD does not touch this or any current zoning that affects affordable housing. Finally, Measure DD excludes any affordable housing requirements that are required by law.

Myth: Quimby fees collected from new residential units are effective in providing adequate recreational resources
Fact: Most of the Quimby fees for Redondo have gone into funding for the Redondo Performing Arts Center deficit or on maintenance. No significant increase in park land has resulted from the collection of Quimby fees on new residential units. In fact our ratio of parkland space per resident has decreased since Quimby fees were put into effect.

City Information - Myths or Facts?
You Decide

From the City Website:
"Caltrans reports decrease in traffic: When the State of California’s Department of Transportation (Caltrans) recently released its 2006 average daily traffic counts on State highways, the City of Redondo Beach was pleased to find traffic on Pacific Coast Highway decreased last year by eight (8) percent."

Myth: The City routinely does extensive traffic analyses before planning large scale developments and interprets the data correctly
Fact: We have found that the City uses faulty traffic data or skews the data to support more development. They consistently deny that over-development and traffic are linked despite our increasing traffic woes.
Read the details on our Traffic Report page

Here is one quick example of the traffic data the City wants to use for Torrance Blvd/PCH. (This is the same corner where a drug store is just been built. The City wanted to force the builder to build residential units above the store but the owner soundly rejected that idea as being bad for business and the community.)

Recent Traffic Analysis by City:
Recent Traffic analysis by City results of Torrance Blvd/PCH Intersection = LOS D
Traffic Study by hired City Consultants with very similar traffic numbers = LOS E
Commercial Traffic Software using the exact same traffic counts that the City used produced by BBR = LOS E

LOS E is generally deemed as unacceptable in most cities and is one step away from gridlock. The City analyses are unreliable and do not reflect actual traffic conditions or projections.

Myth: The City's website and a City Special Report both say that, "From the City Website and City Special Report:
“Development activity in Redondo Beach continued at a slow rate in 2006. There was a net increase of 59 residential units completed in 2006” imby fees collected from new residential units are effective in providing adequate recreational resources

Fact: In a January 2, 2007 staff report to City Council -“Significant Projects completed, under construction or approved in 2006”: 8 units at Artesia/Aviation; 218 units on Ruxton Lane; 12 units at 615-621 PCH, and 12 units at 528-542 N Francisca."
From our addition, that means 250 additional residential units cited in this staff report alone. All of these units replaced commercial properties.

Also, these developments were not cited in the staff report:
- Zoning change adds 89 units on Catalina Blvd – 12 units currently under construction
- 48 unit condo on Artesia under construction

Our findings show that the total additional condos in Redondo for 2007 now equals a whopping 310 and it's growing. Note: This exceeds annual net housing increases of the 70’s.

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We hope these facts have informed and enlightened your thoughts about land use. Questions or comments please contact us at: info@buildingabetterredondo.org

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