The 320 Knob Hill project could be facing a delay. Photo by Chelsea Sektnan
A dozen South Redondo residents gathered last Thursday night to discuss the planned development of a property that has lain largely vacant since 2011.
Owned by the Redondo Beach Unified School District, the lot at 320 Knob Hill has been predominantly empty since the City of Redondo Beach elected to terminate its longtime lease on account of the escalating cost of rent.
Now, the land is being leased to a private firm, but before any development proceeds, the voters of Redondo Beach must approve the rezoning of the property. Currently, it is designated for public and school use.
“Your input tonight does matter,” the city’s community developer, Aaron Jones, said to the residents who turned out to Thursday’s scoping meeting. The purpose of the meeting, he said, was to collect public input into the scale and breadth of the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which will analyze potential impacts the proposed project might have on residents and the environment.
The public has until Jan. 17 to suggest issues the forthcoming EIR should cover, and will have a 45-day period to review the document upon its completion in March. The developer expects to issue a final EIR in July, and to hold public hearings through September before the project goes before voters at the ballot box in November.
The property at Knob Hill is being leased to Virginia-based firm Fountain Square Development West, which intends to construct an assisted living facility for seniors on the site should its project gain approval.
The proposed building will encompass 80,000 square feet — 50,000 square feet of landscaping and a two-story building with 96 units, dining rooms, a library, activity room, salon and spa, and café, all tailored to an architectural style reminiscent of downtown Santa Barbara.
The developer anticipates that 130 individuals will be housed at the facility, and that a full-time staff of caretakers will be on shift rotationally.
Most of last Thursday’s discussion centered on neighbors’ concerns about parking on streets that are often full to capacity on account of their proximity to the beach.
“I know on Avenue A – I don’t live there, but I have friends who live in apartments there – people come home and don’t have a place to park, so I think it’s a pretty big problem,” one resident said. “It’s a problem already.”
Jones said the city will conduct a full analysis of the project’s potential impacts on parking and traffic.
“After 26 years working for the city,” he said, “I know parking is a big issue… With every project we must make certain parking can be accommodated on-site in its entirety.”
He noted that the city has a “no net loss parking policy in the coastal zone.”
Photo by Chelsea Sektnan
“In other words, if we remove a parking spot,” he said, “we’ve got to replace that parking spot. It’s a big topic and it’ll certainly find its way throughout the environmental assessment.”
Currently, the project is designed to allocate 70 spaces – one parking space for every three beds, plus 25 spaces for employees. The facility is expected to employ 50 people on a revolving basis.
Responding to a question about the possibility of implementing permit-only parking on streets adjacent to the project, Jones said that the developer’s intent is to absorb all parking into the project.
“All neighborhoods in the city are eligible for preferential parking permits,” he said. “Sometimes they can be a two-edged sword. Some neighborhoods that have done it have regretted it, but then that’s a whole other process. IT is an option, but we would hope to properly work the parking situation to have no off site parking.”
The environmental analysis will also take into account the project’s impact on all intersections within 3,000 feet of the site, from Herondo to Palos Verdes Blvd.
Anyone with questions can contact the city’s associate planner Anita Kroeger at (310) 318-0637 x1-2248.