A decision to lift height limitations temporarily on homes in some parts of Redondo Beach turned acrimonious Tuesday as City Councilwoman Barbara Doerr accused her fellow council members of pandering to developers--a charge they angrily disputed.
"Why don't we just sell all the zoning to the developers?" Doerr snapped, after failing to muster the four votes necessary to extend for another year a temporary 32-foot height limit that had been in effect since last February in some parts of the city.
Councilwoman Kay Horrell declared Doerr's characterization "a lie."
"You're not going to get away with sitting there, lying like that, lady!" she added.
Horrell and Councilman Terry Ward, who opposed the extension, argued that limits imposed under interim control ordinances are confusing and create a patchwork of zoning laws that are difficult for builders and homeowners to understand and comply with.
They noted, too, that city staffers are expected by April 17 to have before the council a citywide ordinance for measuring and limiting building heights.
The expiration of the height limitations April 1 means that--at least until April 17--the city's old restrictions will be in force for buildings on 25-foot-wide lots in those areas zoned for 17 or fewer residential units per acre.
Those limits allow buildings to be up to 38 feet high and permit homeowners to use their basements as living areas as well as for storage.
After the exchange--which was broken off when Mayor Brad Parton restored order by yelling, "Knock it off!"--Doerr contended that some council members had reneged on campaign promises to curb runaway growth.
"A lot of people at election time say they want to curb the impact of development, but the vote of the council reflected a pro-development mentality," she said. Doerr added that she doubted the council would resurrect the height limitations when asked to consider them again next month.
But Parton said Doerr misjudges the council members, who simply want to zone the city comprehensively and avoid governing by stopgap ordinance.
"I think we just have a difference of opinion, and I get incensed when she starts challenging people's ethics," Parton said.