BELLFLOWER — The City Council has put off voting on an ordinance that would reduce density in multiple-family residential areas while officials study a proposal to widen some streets in the city.
The council voted 3 to 2 Monday night to delay the final vote on the ordinance until Aug. 28.
If approved, the ordinance would automatically end Bellflower's two-month-old moratorium on new development in multiple-family residential areas, City Atty. Maurice O'Shea said. The moratorium was approved by the council on June 12 for a 45-day period, but last month was extended to one year, assistant planner Bruce Leach said.
If the ordinance is approved, Leach said it would be the first zoning reduction in Bellflower history. This is the first real evaluation of density, he said.
"I'm disappointed," said Councilman Bill Pendleton, who voted against the postponement. "All we did is spin our wheels and waste time. What does the widening of streets have to do with density and parking?"
The proposed ordinance calls for a reduction of up to four units per acre in medium- and high-density residential zones throughout the city. The current medium-density standards of eight to 17 units per acre would be revised to eight to 13 units per acre. High-density standards of 18 to 25 units per acre would be changed to 14 to 22 units per acre.
The ordinance also would require one additional parking spot per bedroom for units of three or more bedrooms. These units also must provide half of one parking space for guests.
Councilman Joseph Cvetko, who made the motion to postpone voting, said the ordinance does not address the widening of narrow streets in multifamily residential areas. If the ordinance is approved, he said, the moratorium would be repealed and developers would start building before street-widening costs were studied.
"It's time to bite the bullet," Cvetko said. "We can hold a second reading to give us time not to kill the moratorium at this point."
Nelson Oliva, deputy city administrator, said widening some of the streets including Rose, Cedar and Ramona streets, could cost as much as $1 million per block because of the length of the streets.
Leach said many of the residential blocks are close to half a mile in length. A typical block, he said, is about a third of that length.
In the meantime, Bellflower's moratorium is still in effect.
Leach said that when the moratorium began, four projects were put on hold. Since then, about 20 other projects have been proposed, Leach said.
Virginia Boggs, a developer with Boggs Realty Co. in Bellflower, said she favors the ordinance and taking the extra two weeks to study street-widening costs and sources of funding. "The purpose of the moratorium was to discuss density," she said. "This does not impede development and I think they are moving in the right direction."
If street widening or any other addition to the ordinance is made, the ordinance must be resubmitted to the Planning Commission, City Atty. O'Shea said.
The possibility of this delay irritated Pendleton, who said some city officials are afraid of rapid development in Bellflower.
"The issue is growth, and growth won't go away," he said. "To adopt slow growth is just to shove it in someone else's back yard. Progress keeps happening."