Cudahy Council Approves Construction Moratorium
City officials are the first to admit that they have done almost nothing to prevent their town’s fast-growing population from overwhelming city services, but last week they made their first stand against uncontrolled growth.
The City Council voted 4 to 1 to impose a temporary moratorium on residential construction throughout most of the city while officials figure out how to handle Cudahy’s burgeoning population. Councilman John Robertson voted against the moratorium.
Councilman Joseph Fregeau said: “Everyone I talk to has said, ‘Hey, we have enough people in Cudahy. Let’s stop and see what we’ve got and what we’re going to do.’ ”
By the latest county estimates, about 21,000 residents are crammed into the square-mile city, making it the third-most-crowded municipality in the county. City officials said schools are crowded, streets are clogged with traffic, water supplies are strained and the sewer system is overtaxed.
The moratorium “is something that should have been done years ago,” Fregeau said. “But back when it should have been done, the council had its mind on other business.”
The moratorium limits construction of apartments, homes or duplexes in multifamily residential areas, which cover about 70% of the city, Fregeau said.
Cudahy joins a handful of cities in Southeast Los Angeles County that have clamped down at least temporarily on building permits in a bid to control some neighborhood development. Maywood, the most crowded city in the county, approved building restrictions last year. Whittier and Montebello recently passed construction moratoriums.
The Bell and Norwalk councils had also ordered moratoriums. Bell’s moratorium was in effect for a year before being lifted. Norwalk officials on May 1 placed a 45-day moratorium on building in a downtown area where small apartment buildings are replacing aging single-family residences, but a proposal to extend the moratorium for 10 1/2 months failed to receive the required four-fifths council approval required by state law.
A moratorium is initially limited by law to 45 days. A city council can then extend a moratorium up to two years, but only with the approval of four-fifths of the council members.
During the 45-day moratorium in Cudahy, city staff members will study the city’s development standards and their effects on growth, Planning Director William Davis said. Employees will also begin updating the General Plan, which is the master plan for developing the city in the future.
Fregeau said the council would like to reduce the number of residential units per lot, increase requirements for open space and enlarge the industrial area.