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South Bay Digest

Hermosa Beach

May 30, 1985

The Hermosa Beach City Council voted this week to deny a school board request to rezone a portion of the former Prospect Heights School for residential development.

Instead, the council left the five 25-by-100-foot parcels zoned "open space" and offered to pay the Hermosa Beach City School District $7.50 a square foot--about $94,000--for the land. The council acknowledged that if the parcels had been zoned residential, they could have been sold to private developers for about $90,000 each.

Five residents who spoke before the council opposed increasing the area's population density and urged that the rezoning be denied.

Twelve parcels at the north end of the school's site, which are zoned residential, have been sold and are being developed as single-family homes. Another eight parcels bordering Prospect Avenue between Hollowell Avenue and Gentry Street have been sold to the city for eventual use as a park.

The school board had hoped to sell the remaining five parcels, between the residential development and the proposed park, for additional homes. But school board President Karen Gale, noting that the board has had long and difficult negotiations with the city for various surplus school properties, said she was not surprised the request was denied.

"By their action tonight, we've technically lost $300,000," Gale said. She said the board had intended to "protect the rights of the schoolchildren" by seeking to develop the land to its full potential.

She said the board probably will consider the council's offer at its meeting next Wednesday but will also consider other possibilities, such as trading the parcel for comparable city-owned land that could be developed.

The vote against the rezoning was 3 to 2, with Councilmen Tony DeBellis and John Cioffi dissenting.

The Planning Commission had recommended allowing three more units for a total of 15 homes on the school site.

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