The developer trying to build a contentious mixed-use project at the former Bristol Farms site in south Redondo Beach is putting its lawsuit against the city on hold to apply for a smaller project.
Legado Redondo has agreed to submit plans for a 115-unit project with 21,539 square feet of commercial space, City Attorney Mike Webb announced at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.
“This isn’t a deal to approve that agreement,” he explained. “It’s a deal to put the lawsuit on hold.”
The lawsuit, filed in August by Legado, alleges the City Council attempted to sidestep state housing laws by shrinking the size of the project at 1700 S. Pacific Coast Highway to 115 units from its original size of 180 units, which qualified for a density bonus.
Legado has faced fierce opposition from residents who organized in a group called Save the Riviera since it unveiled plans in March 2014 to renovate its 4-acre site.
The original plan called for 180 contemporary apartments and 37,600 feet of commercial space. Critics said the project was too large, dense and wouldn’t fit in with the character of the neighborhood.
Since the first proposal, the project has gone through several iterations. Legado proposed a 149-unit version of the project, and then a 146-unit plan with a Mediterranean feel. The commercial space has consistently decreased with each version.
The Planning Commission ultimately suggested a 128-unit plan, and tied improvements to the Palos Verdes Inn, which was destroyed in a fire and has sat empty since June 2015. The City Council then recommended 115 units, paired with deadlines for the hotel design.
Webb said if calculations are correct, the smaller footprint will mean that requirements for traffic mitigation measures can be sidestepped.
Nils Nehrenheim, a representative for Save the Riviera, said the 5-0 decision shows his group was right.
“We were asking for what was legally true and correct. What they were asking for was flat-out over-development and the city was allowing it,” he said.
Legado has 60 days to submit the project, and planning staff will have 30 days to review it. The City Council will then take final action within 45 days. The city will retain full discretion to approve or deny the project, Webb said.
“It’s a potential for a very exciting situation,” he said. “It’s something everyone could live with.”
Representatives from Legado did not return a call for comment.