The city has tried a new tactic in its bid to purchase the Greenwood School site at a below-market rate for a neighborhood park.
Under the state law, a public agency can acquire up to 30% of a district's total surplus school property for recreational uses for as little as 25% of the market value.
When the city Department of Parks and Recreation first drew up its acquisition plan in November, it listed only 3.5 acres of Meadow Park School and the 3.44 acres at Greenwood as surplus property. Under that plan, the city only qualified to purchase about two acres of the Greenwood site.
Under the new plan approved by the City Council on Tuesday, the city now lists more than 40 acres of surplus school land, making the entire Greenwood site less than 9% of the total surplus property available.
City Atty. Stanley Remelmeyer said he is interpreting surplus school property as any sites owned by the Torrance Unified School District since the 1981 effective date of the law and not used for school purposes.
Under that definition the city has included Perry, Sepulveda, Parkway and Carl Steele School sites, all of which were sold to private developers in the last four years.
A spokeswoman for the school district said the district does not consider those sites as surplus, but is still investigating how the state defines the term.
Representatives of the city and the school district will meet Jan. 16 to discuss the matter.
In November, a district advisory committee said an appraiser had placed the value of the Greenwood site at $2.2 million if the land was sold to a private developer for single-family homes. However, the district could expect to receive only $962,000 if the city purchased the land.
Homeowners near Greenwood have said they prefer that the property remain as open recreational space.