Signal Hill : Council Extends 2 Construction Moratoriums

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to extend two controversial building moratoriums for one year, keeping expansion-minded motel owners on Pacific Coast Highway and developers with plans for vacant hilltop land on hold.

The moratoriums were passed last spring to halt new building in two development trouble spots, in order to allow city officials to study and amend Signal Hill's general plan. A temporary stop was placed on new motel and hotel construction on prostitution-plagued Pacific Coast Highway last May. When the original 45-day moratorium ended, it was extended for 10 1/2 months. The City Council's Tuesday night action will extend the moratorium until May, 1986.

The hilltop building moratorium, which affects choice vacant southwest and northeast portions of the hill, also began as a 45-day stop and was extended 10 1/2 months. The most recent extension will prohibit new construction until April, 1986.

When the hilltop moratorium was passed, the city was sued for $7 million by a development company that had just purchased land in the affected area. Filed by the Signal Hill Co.--a partnership of Orange County oil man Jerrel C. Barto and Orange County developer Byron M. Tarnutzer--the suit alleged that the longer the company was prohibited from building, the more money it lost.

Developers could get a break, however. According to Mayor Gerard Goedhart, the two construction halts could be lifted as early as September, when the general plan amendments are scheduled for completion.

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