AES vice president Eric Pendergraft and Redondo Beach Mayor Steve Aspel bury the hatchet after decades of conflict, including litigation, between their respective parties. Photo by Brad Jacobson
By Mike Gin, Former Mayor of Redondo Beach
Chris Cagle, Former District 2 Redondo Beach City Council Member
For the first time, there is a viable, realistic solution to eliminate the power plant in Redondo Beach. The owner of this private property has a zoning proposal called the “Harbor Village Plan” that presents an approach that is both balanced and financially feasible. This proposal incorporates ideas from years of discussion about our Waterfront and enables the removal of the power plant for good. Next March every voter in our community will have a voice on whether or not to move forward on this very important issue.
The Harbor Village Plan presents a watershed moment for our community.
The credit for this historic opportunity belongs to us all. While our community has debated various approaches and ideas for the power plant site, our discussions have encouraged the property owner to develop this zoning proposal for alternative uses of their property.
The Harbor Village Plan enables the creation of new, non-industrial uses such as commercial and residential spaces, as well as open, green, and recreational areas such as trails, wetlands, nature preserves, bike trails, athletic fields and parks.
This zoning proposal provides our city with a framework to start working collaboratively with the property owner. It is not a final construction and development design plan. The proposal is the beginning of a rigorous public process, which will include a Council-approved Master Development Plan and environmental impact analyses. This process will include community discussions that will engage all of Redondo Beach with the property owner to help create a future for our city without a power plant.
The Harbor Village Plan provides a fair and reasonable return to the property owner for the value of their land and provides a mechanism for economic vitality and economic sustainability of our community for years to come. Also, through thoughtful design and development of the site, we could ensure that all development projects on the property will be environmentally sustainable.
As we’ve discussed the merits of the Harbor Village Plan, we want to provide you some context and history of our experience with this issue.
In 2002, a zoning change called the Heart of the City was proposed. It would have allowed up to 1,600 houses on the power plant site and 2,995 in the Heart of the City area. The community, led by one of this articles authors, Chris Cagle, rejected that proposal through a referendum and the City Council rescinded the plan. Chris was elected as District 2 Councilman and workshops were held in the community to discuss alternatives. Many ideas for removing the power plant have come and gone, but none have had the unified support of the property owner, the City and the community:
The Heart of the City Plan was supported by the property owner, but not the community
The original Village Plan was not supported by the property owner or the community
The Heart Park plan was supported by the community, but not the property owner
Measure G resolved inconsistencies in the zoning code for the Harbor, was passed by the voters, but did not address the future of the power plant site
Measure A tried to change the zoning on that site, but it was defeated at the polls and was also not supported by the property owner
We now have a proposal that merges elements of previous ideas into one balanced zoning document, “The Harbor Village Plan”. This zoning proposal is supported by the property owner who has the financial capacity to implement it. We believe it will earn the broad support of our community once everyone has had a chance to review it.
The Heart of the City Plan was not subject to a public vote, but this initiative will go on the ballot for every voter to consider.
The proposed zoning defines what uses will be allowed. The actual development will be subject to a thorough public process.
We both have been working on this issue for years and have watched many ideas vetted in the community. After a long history of debate and reviewing the details of this plan, we believe that the Harbor Village Plan builds on past efforts and represents the pivotal moment for us to come together and move our city forward.
The elimination of the power plant can become a reality for our city. But the property owner, City Council and the citizens of Redondo Beach all need to work together to make this happen. The Harbor Village Plan is a reasonable solution that can work for all of us. Please read the details of this initiative and give it serious consideration when it circulates in the city. Please join us in signing the petition to put it on the municipal ballot and join us in voting YES for the Harbor Village Plan in March 2015.