The 50-foot-tall, four-story apartment building can front Rosecrans and Highland Avenues in the El Porto neighborhood of Manhattan Beach.
In March, real estate developer Frank Buckley applied for a waterfront building permit in the city to build an apartment called Highrose El Porto. The staff is currently reviewing the proposal and community development director Carrie Tai will make an initial decision on the application in the first week of February, assistant planner Ted Faturos said in an email this week.
The proposed 96,000-square-foot building will be located on two adjacent lots, 401 Rosecrans Ave. and 3770 Highland Ave., which will merge into a single site. According to the city’s website, the plans include demolishing the Verandas Beach House event venue and the Tradewinds Village retail building to make way for a new residence.
Highrose will have 79 apartments, six of which will be reserved for people with “very low incomes”. The Department of Housing and Urban Development considers the “very low income” to be $59,100 for a family of four, or $41,400 per person in the Los Angeles area as of 2021.
Affordable apartments have made the process non-discretionary under state law, Fatouros said, meaning project approval is in the hands of staff and does not require a public hearing. However, the public can appeal Tai’s decision to the Planning Commission, he added, and, if necessary, appeal the body’s decision to the city council.
The current law, the California Public Resources Code, limits the challenged criteria to area development standards, Tai said at a city council meeting Tuesday, Jan. 18, such as height, setbacks, buildable area and driveway width. The proposal was not on the agenda, but council members asked for clarification on the process after residents raised concerns about the project, which could create too much congestion on North Manhattan Beach.
The ministerial nature of the project also means it does not have to undergo an environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act, Fatouros said.
It will take staff a couple of weeks to write findings and process paperwork before Tai decides whether to approve the application, she added at a meeting on Tuesday.
Residents received public notices of the building application in the mail starting Jan. 6 and had until Monday, Jan. 17 to file preliminary appeals and public comments for Tai to consider. They will receive another letter after the initial decision has been made.
The apartment building will also include 21 studio apartments, 11 one-bedroom apartments, 40 two-bedroom apartments, and seven three-bedroom apartments ranging from 512 to 1,727 square feet. There will also be a two-story underground garage with 127 parking spaces, seven motorcycle spaces and 27 bicycle parking spaces.