LBHUSH2 leader Rae Gabelich accuses City Hall of piecemeal Airport development in violation of CA Environmental Quality Act
(January 16, 2003, updated 4:00 p.m.) -- Activists vowed immediately to appeal to the elected City Council a Jan. 16 vote by LB's Planning Commission to approve -- for a five year period -- a Conditional Use Permit for a City Hall proposed use of part of the Veterans Stadium Parking Lot (on Clark Ave. north of Conant St.) for daily parking from 7 a.m.-9 p.m. for airport and/or airline employees, airport car rental storage and valet parking, saying it "is not intended for parking use by the general public."
The proposal, previously reported by LBReport.com seeks roughly 500 parking spaces. A city staff memo detailing the plan, which LBReport.com posted on a link below along with the proposed use conditions, indicated City Hall sought the spaces because "with five car rental agencies operating at the airport, additional vehicle storage area is necessary at this time. This need may be mitigated or even eliminated with the future completion of an anticipated 4-5 story parking structure."
The Planning Commission vote was 5-2 (Sramek and Fields dissenting).
Among those testifying against the proposal were LBHUSH2 leader Rae Gabelich and veteran LB activist John Deats.
In a potentially significant development, Ms. Gabelich explicitly accused City Hall of pursuing piecemeal airport development in violation of the CA Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)...a charge that could carry increased weight after a December, 2002 LBHUSH2 community forum in Cal. Hts., previously reported by LBReport.com, at which LBHUSH2 announced it has retained an environmental lawyer and urged residents to chip in financially to build a legal war chest that could fund a possible CEQA challenge to anticipated City Hall plans for permanent enlarged passenger facilities at the Airport.
Also testifying against the proposal were John Deats and Frank Acevedo. Mr. Acevedo faxed his opposition to the Planning Commission...and cc'd his testimony to his Councilman, Rob Webb in the 8th district. Mr. Acevedo's faxed testimony said in pertinent part:
...My opposition is based on the following:
1 - Any actions that promote the use of the airport that will make it
easier for the facilities to expand and may have a potential of
impacting the quality of life due to any growth should be stopped.
2 - I frequent the many weekend activities held at the Veterans Stadium.
Parking for these events is difficult to find as it already exist.
Removing some of this space for the proposed use of business enterprises
is wrong. These weekend activities are the heart of what makes Long
Beach a wonderful place to live and enjoy. The antique and auto events
have grown to become regional events and draw many participants both as
sellers and buyers. Even the slightest impact to these events can make a
Fundamentally we should not allow private enterprise to have exclusive
use public space.
Mr. Acevedo's letter to the 8th district Councilman said he hoped Webb was "holding true to [his] commitment of no growth regarding the Long Beach Airport as...indicated by your field office staff."
As previously reported by LBReport.com, Mr. Acevedo attended a December public meeting convened by LBHUSH2 in Cal. Hts. in which (as an audience member) he urged recalling Councilmembers who supported growth at LB Airport.
The Veterans Stadium airport parking issue will now be set for a City Council hearing in the coming weeks. During that period, residents are free to communicate their views to Councilmembers (LBReport.com maintains email links to the Council offices on the left side of this page and our front page.)
At the coming City Council hearing, the public (pro and con) has an opportunity to be heard, after which the Council will vote on the matter.
In the public interest, LBReport.com posts the city staff memo describing the Veterans Stadium airport parking lot proposal in detail below. Some salient excerpts: