Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Another bad plan

There's a group of 'townhomes' going up behind my home. I'm not happy about them.

For one, although they are being constructed to condominium spec, they are rentals. Expensive rentals, I suspect. I tried fighting City Hall a year ago when the little sign went out in front of what was then a tiny single family home. I found out this ain't an easy task, especially when the neighbors don't bother to show up at the hearing. I fought the good fight, however. No one can say I didn't do my part to discourage yet another faux Spanglish-Mediterrimitation McRental by some out-of-town developer.

The framing is just beginning, the slab was poured sometime during the last few weeks. One thing I noticed today: ten feet of 'green' space isn't much, even if it is the width of the building. That is the minimum amount the city requires. My side yard is wider than that.

Imagine a back yard that's about as deep as a bathroom.

I went down to the city to look at the plans, just to make sure that, in fact, the area was as it was spec'd, and to let them know I'm watching. It's a very good thing I did, as I noted that the architect snuck in a little surprise in the 'green' space - a pad for trash receptacles. This is as a result of a complaint I had during the permit process - no one had spec'd an area for storing trash. Apparently, they can't compel someone to place their trash cans in the garage. So, as an afterthought, they thought they'd put 1) a dumpster, or 2) several trash cans adjacent to my back yard.

That made me a little unhappy. So, I shared that bit of unhappiness with Aquilla, the young woman in charge of this project at the City of Torrance Planning Department. According to her, the location was established to prevent trash cans from ending up on the street, or in front of the buildings, as per my request. She neglected to note that I also stated I didnt want trash cans in the back of the property adjacent to my back yard in the green space - which, of course, is where the current plans indicate they are located. This also means the already tiny green space has shrunk by several feet.

In addition, she claimed that they could request, but couldn't compel the owner to cover the trash area with some sort of structure to prevent the cans from being left open, and trash blowing hither and yon. This gave me an idea.

My next stop: Building and Safety. When there are harborage issues, garbage, or safety and health problems with an apartment or residence, you contact Building and Safety. They can issue fines or warnings, and they are quite good about it. They can make you a very unhappy camper if you don't comply with their requests. I put in a complaint with them about the existing plans. My hope is Building and Safety will compel the owner to place some sort of shed or structure around it to make it less of a nuisance.

If the owner doesn't want to be bothered by calls from the city on a regular basis, intiated by yours truly, I'd highly recommend he do it.


Jill said...

Good for you!
There are way too many cases of single-family homes being torn down to make way for multi-unit monstrosities and McMansions.
I would never think to go double check the plans like that.

So Cal Peeper said...

I got a call from Aquilla this afternoon, if you can believe it - she said she's adding a permanent
trellis cover to the enclosure - it has to be trellis'd per fire code. That's a plus. I'm sure glad I went down there, or it wouldn't have been added.

When the next election for Planning Commissioners comes around, I'll be posting a notice of the persons who voted for the last several bad developments. Time to clean out the trash!