The Community Keeps Development at Bay

Since its inception, the Riviera Homeowners Association has been a fierce defender of the Hillside Overlay, written into the Torrance City municipal code decades ago, . It is up to the Torrance Planning Commission, and ultimately the currently seated City Council to make decisions based on the merits of a given residential expansion, weighed against the Hillside Overlay’s development standards, design review criteria, and limitations for hillside and coastal development.

On July 21, at the Planning Commission meeting,  20 residents of the Riviera area spoke on behalf of a homeowner, Mathilda  “Mike” Terre of Calle de Arboles, who was facing a proposed large two-story development next door to her long-time home.  The same neighbor and builder had proposed similar projects for the same lot seven times previously. 

 This time, thanks to the large number of Riviera neighbors attending the meeting and speaking on her behalf, Mrs. Terre and the Hillside Overlay had a big win. Although the Planning Department had recommended that they approve the project, the Planning Commission unanimously denied the project with prejudice, meaning that the builder cannot come back and propose another project for that lot for two years.

The Commissioners stated they were happy to see members of the community come together to support their neighbor and the Overlay.  We think the Commissioners finally realized the importance of the Overlay to residents.  

Loreen Trevino, founder of the grassroots organization Uphold the Hillside Overlay said, “We are an army of neighbors ready to fight for the Ordinance!”   Judy Brunetti of the Riviera Homeowners Association stated, “This is what happens when people are willing to come down to City Hall and participate. They notice when people are involved.!”  

Mike Terre, the homeowner, said, “Thank you to everyone who spoke tonight and who had a sign on their lawn. I am very, very grateful.” We were happy to see her so happy and relieved!

Next steps will be a letter to City Council recommending an amendment to the Hillside Overlay and changes in the Planning Department process.  Stay tuned!

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