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    News

    Douglas Park Council Hearing Rescheduled For Dec. 14, Will Include EIR Appeal And City Staff Discussion Of Land Use Issues


    Douglas Park, 5/4/04
    Source: www.douglaspark.org

    (Dec. 1, 2004, updated from initial post) -- Boeing Realty's proposed Douglas Park project (mixed uses including commercial, office, retail and 1,400 residential units west of Lakewood Blvd. between Carson St. and LB Airport) has been scheduled for a public hearing at the LB City Council meeting of Dec. 14, 2004 at 5:00 p.m.

    A City Hall release says the hearing will include an appeal from the Planning Commissionís unanimous Oct. 7 vote certifying the project's Environmental Impact Report...and will include staff presentations providing "an overview of the proposal, the proposed re-zoning of the site, and other land use issues."

    As first reported on October 26 by LBReport.com, a November 9 Council hearing on the project was abruptly postponed after LBReport.com first reported on October 12 that the office of a high ranking FAA official had said in a letter to a third party that inclusion of 1,400 proposed residential units on the northern portion of the former Douglas plant site would represent an incompatible land use with LB Airport.

    The FAA letter from the DC office of FAA Associate Administrator for Airports, Woodie Woodward, said LB City Hall is required "to take action to restrict the use of land next to the airport to uses that are compatible with normal airport operations"...and indicates the FAA will be monitoring the planning process "to ensure the city's compliance with its Federal obligations."

    The FAA letter replied to a letter from Candace Robinson, proprietor of the Long Beach Flying Club and Flight Academy, an opponent of plans to include residences in the project.

    The FAA correspondence prompted a meeting in Washington, D.C. involving LB Assistant City Attorney Mike Mais and LB city management project staffer Amy Bodek.

    [Dec. 1 update] Assistant City Attorney Mike Mais told LBReport.com that at the DC meeting, the city sought clarification from the FAA on the agency's position regarding the Douglas Park project. In April 2004 (as previously reported by LBReport.com) the FAA's Western-Pacific Airway Facilities Division submitted comments on the Douglas Park Environmental Impact Report (EIR), stating in part:

    The proposal includes low, medium and high-density residential land uses in the northern half of the subject site...Airport noise issues are a controversial and highly contested issue at Long Beach Airport...The introduction of new homes in the immediate proximity of the airport would likely generate noise complaints not only from the aircraft using Runway 12/30, but also Runway 7L/25R...[The EIR] is silent on the airport's need to ensure that the approaches to the runways remain clear and their grant-in-aid obligations to ensure that compatible land uses around the airport are maintained...While the EIR states that homes would be insulated to achieve an interior noise level of 45 CNEL, that does not account for noise impacts outdoors. The FAA has received complaints from people living near an airport, stating that while they can find relief inside their homes, they cannot enjoy their backyards due to the noise of over-flying aircraft.

    The EIR evaluates an alternative that does not include residential land use. Based on past history of noise complaints from residents near Long Beach Airport, we recommend the consideration of the non-residential alternative. This alternative would not introduce new non-compatible land uses in the immediate vicinity of an airport...

    Mr. Mais noted that the FAA's April EIR comments did not take the position that the project's residential component would be an incompatible land use...as FAA's Associate Airports Administrator Woodie Woodward wrote in a Sept. 2004 letter to a third party. ("A residential development next to the airport with 1,400 residential units represents an incompatible land use," Ms. Woodward's letter said.) Since the City was not the addressee and was not cc'd on the FAA's Sept. 2004 letter, the City was seeking clarification from the FAA on the matter, Mr. Mais said.

    Mr. Mais said the FAA's representatives indicated that they want to further review the EIR for the Douglas Park project.

    Mr. Mais said that to date (Dec. 1), the city has not heard back from the FAA on the matter. [end Dec. 1 update]

    On November 9, as first reported (again) by LBReport.com, the City Council held an agendized closed session for the purpose of conferring with the City Manager regarding the price and terms of payment for a strip of land adjoining LB Airport at the southern end of the Boeing property.

    City Attorney Shannon told LBReport.com that while he couldn't go into detail about the substance of the closed session discussion and limited what he said to general parameters, no publicly reportable action was taken by the Council. The item related to a meeting involving the City Attorney's office and the FAA in relation to a City of LB right of first refusal on the strip of land and the ramifications of this, City Attorney Shannon indicated.

    Boeing parcels Nov 2004
    Unofficial rendering of the strip of land based on L.A. Assessor web site data. Conant St. is northern border of property strip. Airport property line, roughly midway between Conant St. and Monlaco Rd., is southern border of strip.

    As previously reported by LBReport.com, the Douglas Park Environmental Impact Report (EIR) indicates Boeing Realty proposes to use the strip of land for "specific aviation-related uses...east of 3rd Street [western end of area] and south of A Street [aligns with Conant St. west of Lakewood Blvd.]...These uses will primarily serve as an amenity to businesses at the project site and may include hangar space for corporate jets and maintenance 'A' checks."

    The Minutes of the August 19, 2004 meeting of LB's Airport Advisory Commission state in part:

    [A Boeing Realty representative] stated that the acreage that could be devoted to aviation uses is south of Conant Street and is the stretch along the southern part of the Boeing property, adjacent to Airport boundary, part of which is within the Boeing enclave for the B-717 and C-17 programs. He stated that 25 acres, not within that enclave, could be available immediately for aviation related uses to be developed as part of the project. He stated that within the Boeing enclave, there is an additional 11 acres for a total of 36 acres within the City of Long Beach boundaries that could be developed as aviation related uses. He stated that the acreage could be used for a variety of uses beside aviation related uses, such as office, R&D, or light industrial. He stated that another site consisting of 22 acres that could be considered for aviation related uses is within the City of Lakewood.

    In an October release announcing postponement of the November Council hearing, Boeing Realty said the company sought the postponement "so it may respond to an FAA inquiry about the projectís compatibility with the airport." The release quoted a company official who said "[b]ecause we are fully compatible with airport-related guidelines and regulations, we are confident that any remaining issues regarding Douglas Parkís residential neighborhoods will be resolved."

    [LBReport.com has invited and will post comments from a Boeing-retained firm disseminating information about the project as received.]

    At an October 12, 2004 Council public study session, City Hall's Community Development Director Fallon voiced strong support for the proposed Douglas Park development, declaring "We believe that these 260 acres, if they are developed as we are suggesting, that Long Beach will have one of the finest, newest, well planned jobs and residential neighborhoods in Los Angeles County."

    She added, "Without this residential component of 1,400 housing units, Boeing may not have the resources to complete the commercial infrastructure and we could risk not adding jobs to our economy for a number of years."


    Previous related coverage:

  • City Att'y Says No Reportable Action From Closed Council Session Re Strip of Boeing Property Adjoining LB Airport

  • Douglas Park Council Hearing Postponed At Boeing Realty's Request To Respond To FAA Inquiry Re Project's Compatibility With Airport

  • City Att'y Office Plans To Confer With FAA Over Agency's Contention That Douglas Park's Proposed 1,400 Housing Units Is Incompatible Land Use; City Staff Backs Project, Says It Meets Legal Req'ts.

  • High Ranking FAA Official Calls Housing @ Douglas Park Incompatible With Airport Uses

  • Planning Comm'n OK's Douglas Park Project, Sends It To Council


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