Meeting On Proposed Home Depot Dev'ment (Studebaker/Loynes) Draws Overflow Crowd, Speakers Raise Traffic, Noise, Pollution & Other Issues
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(April 8, 2004) -- Roughly 300 people attended a meeting on the scope of an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for a development that would replace a tank farm on Studebaker Rd. at Loynes Dr. with a Home Dept site plus a restaurant and other commercial uses.
An earful of opposition ensued, with speakers raising issues ranging from traffic, noise and pollution to wetland wildlife.
The overflow crowd at Kettering Elementary School caused some to stand in doorways....
...while others sat in the aisles.
Among those attending was retired LB Vice Mayor/3d district Councilman (and now novelist) Doug Drummond.
LBReport.com reported details of the proposed project on March 21 and residents spread the word via email. Opponents came armed with petitions entitled "Stop Home Depot" and gathered names and addresses of others likeminded...including email addresses for future communication.
LBReport.com posts excerpts of public testimony below. Audio coverage may follow. Check back with this web page for updates.
Our transcript excerpts are unofficial, prepared by us; not all speakers or their comments are indicated; ellipses indicate deletions.
Janice Dahl: ...I think we can do a lot better with that land than a Home Depot...When we were told that Los Cerritos wetlands could not be saved, and we found out that with hard work, with Ann Cantrell and Don May and few others that some people don't like because they're so outspoken, but it got done and things are getting saved, and Bolsa Chica is getting saved, and Long Beach needs more open space, period. [applause]
Dan O'Connor: ...What has happened prior to tonight?...It strikes me that government documents are not written in 45 days and this work must have begun more than a year or two or three [ago]. I'd like to know what's been going on before this community. [applause].
Don Mills: ...Inglewood beat Wal-Mart. [applause].
Dave Bates: ...I'm the president of the Island Village Homeowners Association. We're your neighbors off 2d St., and last night we came together...and the vote for the homeowners association was totally to oppose this project. We feel that the loading dock which is facing away is facing exactly towards us. [laughter, applause]...
Ann Cantrell: ...I'm here representing the Los Cerritos wetlands which is right across the street from this proposed development...
...In this document [initial study] it says that there is not enough capacity to move the sewage from this large project during the day so they will have to put it in a holding tank, and then they will build a pipe across the Loynes Dr. bridge and they will be piping this sewage after hours. [audience displeasure] There is a mention that there might be odor [laughter] connected with this, and so that would be one of my first questions...
...Los Cerritos wetlands main concern is the biological aspect of this. The effect that the light, the traffic, the noise is going to have on what you know is a prime wetlands right across the street, filled with all kinds of birds, many of them on the threatened and endangered species list...
Lenore Pruitt: ...You can't even get on and off the freeway there at the 22 and 7th. Can you imagine what that's going to be like with a Home Depot there? And the diesel trucks? C'mon. The Port can't even deal with the diesel trucks down there and we have dirty air. I got to dust my house every day. And it's filthy air. We do not want a bunch of diesel trucks here...
Ben Goldberg: ...I'm the president of the association here at University Park Estates [applause]. I have been for, I want to say, almost six years now...
...Crime is absolutely the key area that's going to be impacted by this particular project. We will absolutely have the worst increase in crime in, probably the whole state, if they put that Home Depot project in here...
...The reality is we will as an association take an official vote and stand on this as well and represent as a collective group, but I will tell you and I will warn you, that's not really what we need. We need every single person in here to get on the stick and email or write.
And I will say this to you. We were notified, the board was approached, on the possibility of this project about three months ago. Three months ago they said...we're looking at this deal, and we're thinking about taking down the tanks...and of course the first thing the board said was 'you're out of your mind.' We've had a problem with the Iron Triangle for all these years. We have a problem at 2d and PCH. The only escape route...is Loynes...which, it took, how many years to finally get temporarily fixed...
...I can't even imagine they would waste the money to do an EIR study on traffic. I mean is there anyone in their right mind that can believe that traffic will not be negatively impacted to a point of no return...
[audience member: "Where do you stand?"] All I'm saying is, well I'm against the Home Depot proj, what kind of, it's a ridic [laughter]...I live on the corner of [cites location]...
The project is proposed to include a 7,000 sq. ft. restaurant (plus 2,050 sq. ft. of outdoor eating area), a major 30,000 sq. ft commercial use and a 15,000 sq. ft pad along with a 104,886 sq. ft. Home Depot, plus an adjoining Garden Center of 34,643 sq. ft. The development at 400 Studebaker Rd. would be south of a power plant (that will remain). 918 parking spaces are proposed on the roughly 16.5 acre site.
Access to the site is proposed via a new primary entry at the signalized intersection of Studebaker Rd. and Loynes Dr. and by two new secondary entries providing right/in, right/out access from Studebaker Rd.
To view the proposed site plan in pdf form, click here.
The project will require a Conditional Use Permit (retail trade in the IG (General Industrial) Zone), Local Coastal Development Permit and Standards Variance.
A City Hall agenda distributed at the meeting indicated comments in response to the Notice of Preparation pertaining to the scope an content of the draft EIR can be submitted no later than Friday, April 23, 2004 [Update: As of April 11, City Hall's Planning & Building Dept's web page said "the comment period [on the EIR Notice of Preparation] has been extended to May 5th, 2004, by close of business"] (with comments directed) to:
Dept. of Planning and Building
City of Long Beach
333 W. Ocean Blvd.
Long Beach, CA 90802
Comments may also be emailed to: Angela_Reynolds@longbeach.gov.
For further information, check the Dept. of Planning & Building's web page at: www.longbeach.gov/plan/content/environm.htm
The Notice of Preparation and Initial Study (describing the project and giving City Hall's view of potential environmental effects known to date) are available for public review at LB's Main (101 Pacific), the Bay Shore, El Dorado and Brewitt Libraries, and LB's Planning and Building Dept. at City Hall.
Contact us: mail@LBReport.com