Bell Gardens : Building Moratorium OKd

A 45-day moratorium on the issuance of building permits within the Central City Redevelopment area has been unanimously approved by the City Council.

The moratorium, approved Monday, will give the planning staff more time to conduct a study that would amend the city zoning ordinance and land use element of the city's general plan, City Manager Claude Booker said. An economic development study by Los Angeles County's Community Development Commission is under way.

Both studies will give city officials an idea of what kind of development would be best for the area, said Robert Dickey, director of community development. He said the city has been "really taking off" since the successful completion of a major redevelopment project--the Toys R Us shopping center on Florence and Eastern avenues that opened in November--but city officials want to update the zoning ordinance to correspond to long-range planning as determined by the studies.

A moratorium was needed, Booker said, because several developers who want to build commercial and residential projects in the area have approached the city in the last three months. But the city's 7-year-old redevelopment plan has "inconsistencies with zoning" now, he said. The redevelopment area is zoned for commercial and residential uses.

Although the zoning study was initiated more than a year ago, a turnover in planning staff last year slowed the progress, Dickey said.

The plan incorporates an area east of the Long Beach Freeway between Gage Avenue and Clara Street and west of Ajax and El Selinda avenues, and an area about 100 feet east of Eastern Avenue and south of Florence Avenue.

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