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Newsletter No. 16, Nov. 2, 2022

  • A case for rent stabilization for mobile-home parks.

  • 5G cell tower concerns.

  • Bike lane proposed for Flagler

  • Hillside remodel returns to Council

Torrance risks seeing its homeless population rise and its affordable housing stock shrink.


On the Nov. 8 agenda, the Council will have the opportunity to mitigate these potential problems by approving the proposed Rent Stabilization Ordinance that addresses mobile home issues.


Skyline Mobile Park has 265 spaces, which makes it the largest of Torrance’s 10 manufactured-home parks. One of two parks for seniors, its residents range in age from 55 to 103. Most are in their 80s and on fixed incomes.


Last year their longtime landlord sold the property to a company with a history of buying parks and jacking up rents for the pads that accommodate the not-so-mobile units. And that is what has happened here: In the last nine months, rents have risen almost 16 percent – with the threat of more increases to come.


Reaching out to the City, residents expressed fears that they may end up living in their cars. Torrance, which is not now meeting the state’s affordable-housing requirement, could fall even further behind.


For the last year, I have been copied on various correspondence to the Council and to City staff, in which residents have shared a list of grievances with the new owners.


Some on the Council have expressed concerns about the new owner, John Saunders, losing money. Based on the land’s value, he gambled he could raise rents and be profitable. The residents should not be punished for his business bet.


And Torrance should not lose this valuable source of affordable housing.


Before I go:


· A group of Hollywood Riviera residents are concerned about the placement of a 5G 30-foot cell tower in a parklet where Calle Mayor, Via el Chico and Via Los Miradores intersect. They are asking why the tower can’t be placed in a less invasive location as other towers have been. And they have spelled out in a document how this tower violates the City’s Small Wireless Facilities code revised on Aug. 10, 2021.


· Who doesn’t like a bike lane? Flagler Lane residents, that’s who. And for good reason. It’s the Beach Cities Health District’s latest effort to wrestle control of a quiet Torrance residential street.


BCHD wanted to turn its front door from Prospect in Redondo to Flagler, but Torrance said no. Its latest ploy is a request that on the surface appears to be for an innocent bike lane. But if approved it would legally mean Torrance would lose the control it has been able to exercise.


The Traffic Commission is considering the request at Monday’s meeting so residents are asking people to email PWTraffic@TorranceCA.Gov by 2 p.m. Monday. In the subject line, put Proposed Bike Lane Project and in the body, you can write a lot or just say: I oppose the Bike Lane Project.


This newsletter concerns itself only with Torrance issues, but I would be an unhappy taxpayer if I lived in the Beach Cities and was being taxed to recreate what appears to be a boondoggle.


· When Councilmember Aurelio Mattucci asked the City staff to create a moratorium on flight schools, I thought he was trying to take some of the credit for airport reforms from fellow Council Member Mike Griffiths.


Thanks to a reader who forwarded a Mattucci Facebook post on his son’s taking flying lessons at Torrance’s airport. This raises the issue of conflict of interest and adds another question about his request: Would this create a better business environment for an existing school in which his son is enrolled?

The airport is on the Nov. 8 agenda, and it is so much bigger than the number of flight schools. Residents are preparing to turn out in force to make sure the Council understands all the issues, which are spelled out in a petition with 768 online signers (as of this posting) and 124 paper signers. If you have airport concerns but have not yet signed, here is the link: https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/petition-to-reduce-torrance-airport-impacts-now


· The 139 Alameda appellants have revised their plans and are returning to the Council on the 8th. A Riviera Homeowners Assn. analysis says the changes are minor and don’t really address the reasons behind the Planning Commission’s denial of the original plan.


My hope: The Council will reject the plan and send it back to the Planning Commission, which has the time to address everyone’s concerns. It didn’t deny the original plan with prejudice, so it could work with the owners at no additional expense to them.


· Want to tell the City Council your opinion? Send it to CouncilMeetingPublicComment@TorranceCA.gov.


Mike Griffiths reports that the problem that I mentioned last time has been fixed: “This email did have serious problems, as it went to an intermediary staff's email for forwarding to councilmembers, creating an unnecessary and error-prone system which I demanded that it be fixed. And it was fixed. Now emails to city council go directly and immediately to all councilmembers (and select staff). No delays or human intervention.”


If you send it before 2 p.m. on the day of the meeting, it will be included in the supplemental material. If you just want to express an opinion on something, email CityCouncil@TorranceCA.gov. If you are discussing an agenda item, however, put Public Comment in the subject line.


Jean Adelsman

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