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Those who pay won't hold sway, vows CM Garcia

by George Wiley

Is it a conflict of interest for a harbor developer to pay a portion of the fees for the Urban Land Institute (ULI) to assess what developments should take place in the Redondo Beach harbor and pier area?

Redondo Beach City Manager Lou Garcia doesn't think so.

"To me, it's a non-issue," says Garcia.

He does say that several developers in the harbor, including the AES power plant, have been asked by the city to "voluntarily" offset a part of the $105,000 ULI fee.

A partial list of those who have been asked to help "sponsor" the ULI study, in addition to AES, are La Caze Development Corp., Redondo Beach Marina, Crowne Plaza Hotel, and Marina Cove, Ltd.

The contributions received so far total about $18,000 out of about $50,000 asked for by the city, said Garcia.

The developers who helped pay were invited to a special dinner with the ULI team last Sunday. Contributors to ULI will also be on the list of local persons for the ULI team to interview before completing its study. But they were on the 120-name interview list before they were approached for money.

Garcia compares asking for contributions from developers to offset part of the ULI fees to the regular fees the city assesses developers when they bring in plans to be approved by the city. In those instances, applicants must pay for such things as environmental impact studies.

Garcia says the ULI contributions are the same thing. "There are no logo mugs, no secret handshakes," he says. "These are just like the regular developer fees for the city's planning process."ER