It's not exactly the arches the city wanted, but Lawndale finally has a fancy gateway at its northern border.
The new landscaping at Hawthorne Boulevard and Rosecrans Avenue was unveiled last month, said Tim Elliott, the city official who handled the project. New sod, trees and flower beds were planted and a decorative trellis was added to the welcome-to-Lawndale sign.
The city had conducted a contest to select a fitting design for a border marker, and two concentric arches were chosen. Then the city learned it could not use $44,000 in federal redevelopment money it had planned to use to pay for them. The arches did not fit in with the grant's goal of eliminating urban blight, according to the Los Angeles County Community Development Commission and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. But landscaping would be OK, the agencies said.
Elliott said the project cost $25,000 and all the work was done by city employees.
After two years and assorted headaches, Steven Tondre has shaved his shed, and Rancho Palos Verdes has dropped the misdemeanor charges it filed against him for building it.
Tondre was cited for the violation in September, 1984, when a city official driving by his home saw the 16-foot-long, 6-foot-wide, 6-foot-high shed, which was closer to the property line than the minimum 10 feet allowed by the city's building code.
Tondre, 39, appealed to the city planning department and city council--and paid a $400 fee to request a variance--but failed to get city approval for his addition. When he refused to take it down, the city filed the criminal charge.
The city dropped the charge after he cut six inches off the shed. But Tondre, an electronics engineer, hasn't dropped the matter. He still has a $1-million lawsuit pending against the city and two code enforcement officials who he says trespassed on his property.
Whether to keep those giant signs on Pacific Coast Highway is the question as Redondo Beach planners meet with representatives from the billboard industry this week to discuss possible limits on such advertisements.
After the Planning Commission and Planning Department urged that billboards be banned in the city, the City Council ordered city planners to discuss a compromise ordinance with officials from Foster & Kleiser and Gannett Outdoor, two companies with billboards in the city.
Redondo Beach has 36 billboards--some as large as 300 square feet--mostly spread along a 2 1/2-mile stretch of PCH. The Planning Department contends that the signs, which have been outlawed in several beach cities, are a nuisance and contribute to visual blight.
The City Council enacted an emergency moratorium on new billboards in March, 1984, that is still in effect.
City planner Kevin Callahan said the two sides will meet to work up a draft ordinance that will allow some billboards. The department will present a progress report to the City Council on April 29.