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Bell : Planner Raises Need to Slow Residential Growth

January 19, 1989

Community Development Director William Phelps is urging the Bell City Council to review the city's chief planning guidelines and make "necessary changes" to slow residential growth in an area identified as the most densely populated section of the county.

In a special hearing Monday night at the Bell Community Center, Phelps told the council that population increase is the most serious issue facing this 2.8-square-mile city, located in the heavily Latino Southeast portion of the county.

"We are a very small community. We can only hold so much," Phelps said during the sparsely attended hearing, held to discuss a council proposal to extend a 45-day moratorium on residential construction for at least a year.

Among changes in the city's General Plan, revised two years ago, Phelps suggested that city officials increase minimum lot width, impose height restrictions, increase required open space and require more guest parking on lots.

City officials have complained that Bell's official population figure of 28,000 may be an underestimation, as more and more families move in together, partly because of high housing costs. "People are forced to double up," Councilman George Cole said.

The council will hold a public hearing Monday night on its proposal to extend the moratorium.

The temporary ban on issuing building permits was approved last month when the council was told that hundreds of property owners had built apartment units behind their single-family homes, a violation of city zoning law. The permits were issued by city staff members, who apparently misinterpreted the zoning code and allowed overdevelopment, Phelps said.

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