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Redondo Council Rejects Condo-Commercial Plan

March 03, 1994|JAMES BENNING | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

A proposal for a $40-million development combining condominiums, a health club, restaurants and retail shops was killed by the Redondo Beach City Council Tuesday.

City planners were enthusiastic about the 163-condominium project because it would have allowed residents to shop and work close to home while giving retailers a built-in customer base.

But council members, who defeated the project 3 to 2, said they feared the development would bring more traffic to the area around Pacific Coast Highway and Vista del Parque and hurt nearby merchants.

"This situation is going to create even more of a nightmare (for parking)", said Councilman Stevan Colin, who joined Joseph Dawidziak and Robert Pinzler in defeating the proposal.

Council members Greg Hill and Marilyn White supported the development.

The project, proposed by Bidamar Corp. of Glendale, would have been the first of its kind in Redondo Beach. It would have contained 37,000 square feet of retail shops, including a dry cleaner, a shoe repair shop, a bookstore, a coffee shop and a flower shop.

Bidamar is purchasing the 4.7-acre site at 1840 S. Pacific Coast Highway from Peyton Cramer Ford. The car dealership plans to move, possibly to Torrance.

Bidamar had dubbed the project "The Campanile" for the Mediterranean-style bell tower that would have served as its central landmark. The design by the Santa Monica architectural firm Johannes Van Tilburg includes colorful awnings, cobbled streets and wrought-iron balconies.

The Planning Commission unanimously approved the project in August, but the decision was appealed to the council by area residents.

"I'm very happy democracy exists," said Delia Vechi, a 20-year resident of the city who opposed the project.

Bidamar representatives said they had bent over backward to please city planners and neighbors. The company agreed to install a traffic signal on Pacific Coast Highway and add a right lane at the intersection of Palos Verdes Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway. In addition, they agreed to install 80 more parking spaces than the city required.

Since 1991, company representatives have had 40 meetings with area residents, said Brooks Roddan, a spokesman for Bidamar. The proposal was scaled back from 203 condominiums to 163.

"What you have here is a property rights crisis," Roddan said. The company is considering several options. Roddan did not rule out a lawsuit against the city.

Despite the company's efforts, many residents still weren't satisfied.

"I can't step out onto the street without getting run over," said George Patris, 66, a lifelong resident of Redondo Beach.

The 163 condominiums would have ranged in size from 1,000 square feet for a one-bedroom to 1,800 square feet for three bedrooms, a den and a loft.

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