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Sepulveda Corridor Could Be Transformed

May 23, 2018 07:42AM ● By DigMB Staff
The city of Manhattan Beach could take a big step forward this evening toward a revived Sepulveda Corridor, as notable zoning changes come before the Planning Commission.

The two major changes in the proposal would allow "mixed-use" development (commercial with residential) along Sepulveda Blvd., while also raising permissible building heights to 40 feet. 

The mixed-use amendment to city zoning rules would apply only to the commercial areas along Sepulveda Blvd., and would represent the first time any form of residential development was allowed in the area.

The building height amendment, which also applies only to Sepulveda, is designed in part to encourage new hotel development. 

A working group of citizens and experts tackled the need for enhancements to Sepulveda late in 2017 and early this year. Their recommendations formed the basis for the zoning change proposal. 

The zoning changes are also intended to enliven Sepulveda with:
  • hotels,
  • high-end restaurants,
  • museums (specifically those meeting a definition of "cultural institutions" and
  • community theaters.
The proposal to allow housing development along Sepulveda - only as part of mixed-use development - drew praise on MB Confidential from local real estate broker Dave Fratello, in a post this week. (See "How About Life ON Sepulveda?")

Speculating about whether there might be a market for housing along Sepulveda, Fratello said, "There's no doubt." He added:

"Some units might get ocean views. Others, city/mountain views to the east or north. Maybe most importantly, townhomes or condos along Sepulveda should be among the least pricey real estate in Manhattan Beach. (The city report promises 'affordable' residential; we all know that term is relative.) If they've got the treasured ZIP code, new homes are going to move."

Individual projects along Sepulveda would still face scrutiny for various impacts on traffic, parking and neighbors, among other issues. The higher building heights may not be practical in all cases, if a neighboring property would suffer too great a loss of light. New buildings may be set back even further from Sepulveda than current structures, to widen a pedestrian corridor along the boulevard. 

After action by the Planning Commission, the proposed zoning changes would ultimately go to the City Council for approval. 

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