The Los Angeles Planning Commission has approved new restrictions on residential development in San Pedro after a fierce three-year battle by community residents to greatly limit the construction of apartments and condominiums.
"Our hard work has paid off," Jerry Gaines, president of the San Pedro and Peninsula Homeowners Coalition, said after the commission's action Thursday. "The community should be proud, very proud."
The commission's decision, pending final approval by the City Council, would make significant changes to zoning outlined in San Pedro's 1980 community plan. That document was ordered revised by city lawmakers in 1989 after a wave of new apartment and condominium construction sparked an uproar in the community.
The subsequent review of San Pedro's zoning plan led a citizens' advisory group appointed by Harbor-area Councilwoman Joan Milke Flores to recommend changes that would reduce the potential for high-density development in the community.
The group's recommendations, according to planning studies, would effectively limit the community's population to about 90,000, compared to the 103,000 residents who could be accommodated under existing zoning in residential neighborhoods. Currently, there are about 75,000 residents in San Pedro.
The commission's action, according to Gaines and others, was most significant for Old San Pedro and Point Fermin--two areas of the community originally targeted for higher-density zoning.
In Point Fermin, the zoning approved by the commission would allow only single-family homes or two houses per lot, not one house for every 2,000 square feet of land as originally proposed. And in Old San Pedro, curbs on multifamily housing were also approved by the commission. Only one unit could be built for every 2,000 square feet of land, not the 1,500-square-foot standard permitted under the old zoning law.
Mario Juravich, an aide to Flores, said the commission's action represented a significant step in allowing future development in San Pedro but only under conditions that do not permit wholesale disruption of neighborhoods.
"We feel very good about it," Juravich said.
While the zoning recommendations await council action San Pedro's residential developments will continue to be subject to tough interim zoning regulations.