Art of The Possible Updates
ART OF THE POSSIBLE UPDATE 3
JULY 15, 2023
On July 11, 2023, the Hermosa Beach City Council heard from the City’s Community Development Director and members of the public regarding proposed revisions to the City’s “Housing Element.” At the conclusion of the hearing, the City Council requested that members of the community (particularly those opposed to the inclusion of St. Cross’ properties in the Housing Element’s “Sites Inventory”) contact the City with any suggested alternative sites.
The City Council is scheduled to conduct its next public hearing on the proposed revised Housing Element on August 8, 2023, at 6:00 pm. Our understanding is that the City Council currently expects to vote on the proposed revised Housing Element at that meeting.
We want to thank members of St. Cross who attended the July 11 meeting. Civic engagement is a hallmark of Episcopal theology, and participating in the zoning process is one more way that St. Cross can serve others as a sign of God’s love. We also thank our neighbors and community members. Whether you spoke for or against approval of the proposed Housing Element, we appreciate hearing everyone’s opinions and concerns.
For those of you who were unable to attend the meeting, the statements given by Reverend Josh Paget and Senior Warden Jack Tedford during the meeting are below.
Statement of Rev. Josh Paget
Hermosa Beach City Council
July 11, 2023
Good evening. Thanks for your time and dedication to this, to the Mayor, Council members, city staff and fellow citizens. My name is Josh Paget. My address is 1730 Loma Drive. I am one of the clergy at St. Cross Episcopal Church – the site of much discussion.
St. Cross Episcopal Church has been a member of this community since before Hermosa Beach was a city. We have been here as part of this community. And from that day to this one, the church has existed to serve this community and to serve alongside of this community. For all that time, we have cared about our neighbors and our neighborhood and about Hermosa Beach and the bay cities community.
St. Cross is an active member of this community. We participate in the St. Patrick’s Day parade; we provide parking on Fiesta weekends; we participated in Fiesta; we’re glad to be a member of the chamber; we have had booths there; we are a proud supporter of the Pride Week in the past few years; and we are proud to be the venue for the Hermosa Beach Historical Society Annual Fundraising Event. During the holidays, we are one of the sponsors of the tree lighting, and have participated in that by hosting arts & crafts booths. And for years we have hosted a big community event during the holidays, free to the community, of a production of Handel’s Messiah. Our clergy serve as police chaplains and have been members of the Rotary and Kiwanis. And St. Cross is an instrumental partner in starting the Hermosa Beach Community Garden; we continue to harvest and donate fresh fruits and vegetables to local food pantries.
On our site, we care about the safety of kids and parents who walk and bike through our parking lot every day. And we enjoy seeing all of the dogs that come as well. In fact, we created a miniature dog park that we call the Divine Canine Retreat Center. If you’re walking by, there’s a doggy-level water fountain. And also, hey, free poop bags because - with all those dog walkers - community output came that they were upset about dog walking and all the poop. So we sought to respond to that community input.
We love our city. Our members live here. We work, shop, play and learn here. Anything that we do to redevelop our residential properties will be something that we believe will integrate into the neighborhood. And we would never, never do any development without input from our neighbors.
We at St. Cross have had these properties as a blessing from generations past who sought to support the mission of the church to serve the community. And they scrimped and saved to buy those properties to use for the mission to serve the community. And as we continue to discern how to use those properties and the best practices, we seek to initiate a separate community engagement process when there are plans to be revealed, when there are design concepts to be shown. When we get to that point in our process we will be more than happy to invite neighbors, to provide accurate information and invite their input because we believe that whatever project we eventually develop on our site will only become better, and a better project, through community involvement.
Statement of Senior Warden Jack Tedford
Hermosa Beach City Council
July 11, 2023
Good evening. I’m Jack Tedford. I'm the Senior Warden at St. Cross.
I'd like to begin by talking about what St. Cross actually owns in the Monterey area. Our main parcel – our central parcel – on which we have our sanctuary, our parish hall, our education building, [and] our church offices, is about 1.2 acres and is located at 1818 Monterey. Designating this parcel allows the City to satisfy 30 of the 558 RHNA units that it needs to show the state is available for development.
We also have some residential properties to the south that are adjacent to the main parcel. There’s some on Monterey - a couple of parcels. There’s some on Loma in the southeast section. To the north, we have four parcels to the northwest. And then we also have four parcels that are zoned residential in the northeast which we use for parking. In all, it appears that the St. Cross sites that have been designated constitute 66 of the 558 RHNA units allocated to the City. That's 11.8% of the amount that the City needs to designate.
Some of our residential properties are in need of replacement and refurbishment. As a result, a couple of years ago we formed a committee that we call “Art of the Possible” in order to try to take a look of what we may do in order to improve our properties. Around the same time is when the City was having to figure out how to satisfy the state law. And through a conversation, and a series of conversations, we agreed and we requested that we be included in the Housing Element.
We believe that it provides St. Cross additional flexibility in terms of what it may be able to develop on parcels that are already residential and need to be redeveloped - in some cases, the properties rebuilt. And at the same time, it also helps the City satisfy its obligation under RHNA.
I want to be clear about some things, though, particularly because of some of the rumors and other statements that have been made in the community over the last couple of weeks:
• We are not going to tear down the church.
• We have not sold any of the properties.
• We are not planning to sell any of the properties.
• We are not in escrow as to any of the properties – that was the rumor de jour yesterday.
• We have not entered into any contract with a developer to work on the residential properties.
• We are not even talking with any developers at this time.
The church is not going anywhere. We are not going to tear down the church and build a 50 unit low-income housing development. I'm really sorry that the public has been misled by emails and texts that have been sent out about that.
I want to publicly acknowledge that while the opposition, I believe, is fueled by false and misleading statements that have been made to the public, there are real, valid concerns that we recognize and that we even, to some extent, share. Parking. Traffic. Safety. Corridors for pedestrians, for the people who walk the dogs through our neighborhood and visit our property every day. We cherish our neighbors and have no intention of ignoring their concerns. And in fact, we agree with many of those concerns.
Finally, I want to make a statement that I hope everybody in the room can agree to, to some extent or not. I want to acknowledge and thank the City Council, the Planning [Commission], Director Tai, and the city staff for the hard work that you all are doing and have done over the past few years on this Housing Element. It is a difficult thing, as you observed, to satisfy the state law requirements. I believe that everybody who’s been involved in this project from the beginning to now and in the future deserves major credit and kudos.
Thank you very much.
If you would like to receive updates from St. Cross about theproperty development, please join our email list by registering here.
If you are interested in learning more about the City’s current zoning policies and aspirations, specifically about the rezoning of the St. Cross properties, the City has a website devoted to the housing element (including a FAQ answering some questions relating to our properties), which can be accessed here: https://tinyurl.com/HB-