Redondo Beach Voter Approval of Zoning Changes, Measures DD and EE (November 2008)

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Two competing City of Redondo Beach Voter Approval of Zoning Changes, Measures DD and EE ballot question were on the November 4, 2008 ballot for voters in the City of Redondo Beach in Los Angeles County, California.

Both measures were approved. However, Measure DD obtained 58.51% of the vote, while competing Measure EE obtained 50.34% of the vote. Therefore, in any areas where Measure DD and Measure EE were in conflict, the provisions of Measure DD prevail.

  • Measure DD is an initiative that earned a place on the ballot because its supporters collected over 6000 signatures on petitions.
  • The second ballot measure about growth issues was placed on the November ballot through the referral process by a vote of the Redondo Beach City Council. That measure is Measure EE.

Both ballot measures required voter pre-approval of major land-use decisions and changes.

The citizen initiative (Measure DD) applies to any zoning changes that would:

  • Have the effect of converting any public land to private use,
  • Change business zoning to residential or mixed-use developments with certain density limits, or
  • "Significantly increase" traffic, density or intensity of use in a neighborhood.

According to the BBR, when any such zoning changes are in the works, they must be put to a vote of the people, rather than being decided by a zoning commission or the city council.

The city's competing ballot measure (Measure EE), if it had gone into effect, would have:

  • Prevented any zoning changes to non-residential uses in single family dwelling neighborhoods.
  • Prevented the rezoning of parks and open space to any other type of zoning,
  • Limited the height of buildings within the Coastal Zone to current 45-foot specifications.
  • Any proposals by the city's Planning Commission that changed zoning beyond those parameters would have had to go to a public vote.

Election results

Measure DD

Measure DD
Approveda Yes 17,412 58.72%

Measure EE

Measure EE
Approveda Yes 14,528 50.85%
These final, certified, election results are from the Los Angeles County elections office.

Contrasting DD and EE

Supporters of Measure EE said that the main difference between the two measures is that Measure DD would require project-by-project voter approval while the city measure would require public votes at a "much broader level, rather than project by project."

Diels, a supporter of Measure EE, said the major difference between the two was:

  • "Ours is clearer, concise, and protects single-family residence zones, parks and coastal zones. It’s not taking away anybody’s property rights, and it’s subject to environmental review. Theirs is confusing, complicated, is an economic threat and does not protect single-family zones."

Supporters of Measure DD said that:

  • Measure DD says that any zoning change must still undergo a full CEQA review.
  • Measure DD puts all major upzoning including upzoning residential neighborhoods and upzoning all public property to a vote.
  • Measure DD is broader in scope than Measure EE. Measure EE avoids the zoning changes that have been most prevalent in Redondo.
  • It isn't true that Measure DD would require voter approval of projects. Rather, Measure DD says that a public vote is only triggered by major zoning change actions, not specific projects.

Arguments against Measure EE

Supporters of Measure DD argued against Measure EE by saying:

  • Measure EE does not address the core concerns that motivated residents to qualify DD for the ballot.
  • Measure EE does not address the trend in Redondo to convert business zoning and public land to high density condo zoning.
  • Measure EE only protects some public property. It does not protect public right of ways and school property, and both of those types of property have recently been rezoned to condo use.
  • Measure EE protects a relatively small part of Redondo land that is vulnerable to re-zoning, especially given that the harbor has already been rezoned with height increases.
  • With minor changes the Heart of the City zoning and the Torrance Boulevard rezoning to condos and mixed use would not require a vote under EE. Nor would the over 250 condos recently developed and in development on Ruxtan Lane and Artesia Blvd.
  • Measure DD would have required a vote for major zoning changes like these examples, whereas Measure EE would not have.
  • Measure EE treats condo-dwelling Redondo residents as second class citizens. Residents in single family housing get more protection than those that live in condos.

The public relations battle

Save Redondo is a Political Action Group fighting measure DD (the residents' ballot measure). It gets 99.5% of its funding cumulatively from California Association of Realtors Political Action Committee (over $50K in donations), Apartment Owners Association Political Action Committee, Marina Cove Limited ($13,000), the AES Power Plant ($5,000)and Councilmen, Commissioners and Chamber of Commerce leaders that have been long time advocates of more extensive development in Redondo. Less than 0.5% of Save Redondo's donations come from normal everyday residents.(Save Redondo FPPC filings). Last minute filings show that Save Redondo has spent over $110,000 fighting Measure DD.

The group's opposition to the citizen-initiated measure (DD) is based on two main factors (per Save Redondo web page and flyer):

  • The assumption that if DD passes, and people have the opportunity to vote on development projects, they will reject them.
  • A second assumption is that all investment in Redondo will dry up if DD passes.
  • And, if that happens, the city of Redondo's tax revenues will decrease, because less development means less property and other taxes.
  • And, if tax revenues decline, all the city services offered by the City of Redondo will have less money to spend, including its public safety services, and therefore, the quality and quantity of those services will decline.
  • Save Redondo literature and website do not cite sources substantiating their position on revenue and resident voting.

Supporters of Redondo DD, the citizen measure, disagree with this opinion. They say:

  • The city revenues in Newport Beach have increased (34% in five years) since voters in that city passed the Greenlight Initiative, which, like Redondo DD, requires a public vote on zoning changes. (Newport Beach Revenue Report 2007) Newport also increased fire department staffing and built a new fire station during this time (per telecon with Newport Beach Fire Department. According to the Daily Breeze, the Assistant City Manager of Newport Beach stated that significant investment has occurred within current zoning.
  • Over 30 California cities and most of New England require public approval on zoning changes, without an apparent degradation in their public safety services or general tax revenues.
  • It's not true that voters will vote against development proposals if the proposals go to a vote; for example, Newport voters voted for a new general plan that included development increases in parts of the city, residents of the City of Davis voted for a green Target, and Manhattan Beach voters voted for development at their Metlox site. Obviously voters in New England have voted for some development since the early 1700's. Residents have proven they will vote for balanced development.

Additional arguments include:

  • Councilman states Measure DD (the residents' initiative) will cause affordable housing to spring up everywhere (City Council meeting video). However, both measure EE and DD have the same language with regard to affordable housing, which is based on state mandates (per text of each ballot measure). The idea that developers will flood Redondo with development projects that are 100% affordable housing is a scare tactic that is not rooted in fiscal reality.
  • Councilman states Measure EE underwent environmental review(Reported in Daily Breeze and Beach Reporter) Both EE and DD are administrative processes (not zoning changes) so they in themselves have no environmental impact and consequently it is a non sequitur to claim that Measure EE underwent an environmental review.
  • Graphs have been displayed at Councilman Town Hall meetings with the representation that the graphs show the impact that Measure DD would have on the city's revenues. A California Public Records request showed that the graphs were comparisons of 2007 to 2008 City revenues and had nothing to do with the residents' measure (DD).(City response to California Public Records Request)
  • The same councilman was reported to be misrepresenting zoning in his district calling R-2 and R-3 zoned (multi family townhome/condo zoning) "single family" zoning. This was in response to his consitituents concern that they were less protected than R-1 (single family housing)zones under EE.
  • All three authors of EE and two additional councilmen have joined "Save Redondo" per Save Redondo literature and web page. Many residents question how the Council who voted for EE (which is ballot box zoning) could join a group that is against ballot box zoning.
  • Councilman Aspel, one of the three authors of EE, has stated at town hall meetings he recommends residents vote against DD and his own measure, EE.
  • Former Councilmen Bob Pinzler stated in the Beach Reporter that EE represents "a cynical jab at the initiative process." He then went on to evaluate that EE gives voters the chance to vote on zoning changes "that are not likely to happen."
  • "Save Redondo" has published information stating that DD would require a city-wide vote to upgrade the kitchen of a local coffee shop. Discussions with City officials revealed that the owner of the properties would want the whole block rezoned. It is this rezoning that would trigger a vote under DD not the remodeling of the kitchen.

Ballot questions

Measure DD

Measure DD: "Shall an Initiative to amend the Redondo Beach City Charter by adding Article XXVII to require voter approval of specified changes in allowable land use be adopted?"

Measure EE

Measure EE: "Shall the Redondo Beach City Charter be amended by adding Article XXVII to require voter approval before any of the following changes in allowable land use or development standards could be made: rezoning of single family residential zones; rezoning of low density multi-family residential zones to any higher density residential zone; rezoning of park or open space; or any zoning amendment that would increase the height limit on buildings in the Coastal Zone?"

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