LYNWOOD — Despite months of angry protests from homeowners opposed to construction of more rental units, the City Council Tuesday refused to extend a moratorium on new apartments.
The 3-2 vote means that the freeze, which was first imposed Oct. 15, will expire Jan. 31.
Before the vote was taken, Councilman E. L. Morris' remarks about ending the moratorium brought loud yells of protest from many who had crowded into the council chamber during a public hearing on the moratorium.
Morris, councilmen John Byork and Louis Thompson voted to allow construction to resume. Mayor Robert Henning and Councilwoman Evelyn Wells voted to extend the moratorium.
"I think we should be listening to what the citizens are saying," Henning said.
Staff Study Sought
The mayor last week had asked the city staff to study provisions on apartment zoning in the city's general plan to see if there could be limited construction of apartments in certain areas. Vicente Mas, director of planning, said the study was incomplete but that the staff will continue to work on it.
Supporters of the moratorium who attended the public hearing said they were disappointed with the vote.
"I'm despondent. This is frustrating. I'm just a truck driver. I don't know what we will do, but we will do something," Howard Rorrel, one of those leading the protest against more apartments, said in an interview.
Rorrel said that a petition to recall Morris and Thompson was one possibility.
Alex Bramlett, another opponent of apartment construction, accused Morris and Thompson of supporting the moratorium last fall in order to be reelected in November.
'Less Than Honest'
"You have been less than honest. Why did you declare a moratorium in the first place? You deceived us in every way. You just promoted your own reelection," Bramlett said during the public hearing. "You are disgusting."
"It is tough to make a decision," Morris said before casting his vote. "Someone has to do it. Hopefully, I can continue to represent those who oppose and those who support."
While many of the more than 100 people jammed into the chamber apparently supported extending the ban, a few--especially developers whose projects were affected by the moratorium--spoke in favor of lifting it.
"We have a duty to provide housing to renters. Renters' voices are not being heard. They deserve nice housing," said Alexis Galindo, a Downey developer who had a 15-unit complex put on hold by the moratorium.
Present Controls Favored
"I'm pro-growth but it can be controlled by the present zoning control," said Jeff Boysen, a Burbank developer. Boysen said he intents to build a 55-unit apartment complex in the city.
In October, more than 250 residents had signed petitions protesting proposed construction of a 10-unit apartment complex and the Galindo units. Prompted by the petitions, the council placed a 45-day freeze on construction while it studied the situation. After the first moratorium expired, the council placed an additional 45-day freeze on construction.
The city's planning staff said that 14 proposed projects with a total of 195 units had been affected by the moratorium.