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First (Again) on LBReport.com

2nd/PCH City Staff Report Doesn't Recommend Specific Level of Development or EIR Alternative" And Instead Recommends "Development Envelope" Based on Height, Floor Area Ratio & Residential Density AND Recommends Action on LCP/SEADIP Amendment BEFORE Any Specific Project Approvals

(Oct. 6, 2011, latest update 10:55 p.m.) -- In a closely watched recommendation on the proposed 2nd/PCH development -- a project marked by polarizing opinions, Long Beach city staff is declining to recommend "a specific level of development or EIR [Environmental Impact Report] alternative as it pertains to the amount of retail commercial floor area or other possible building intensities for various land uses. Rather, staff believes that establishment of a development envelope governed by height, floor area ratio, and residential density that is mindful of future development on nearby sites is an appropriate first step."

Artist rendering, secondandpch.com

Comments as received are below.

City staff's report, co-signed by Zoning Administrator Derek Burnham and Director of Development Services Amy Bodek, is agendized to accompany the Oct. 12 Planning Commission hearing item. It includes the key verbiage below:

City staff acknowledged that "the applicant [developer] has clearly stated on numerous occasions that a reduction in residential density will result in a non-financeable project and will request that the Planning Commission set aside staff recommendations in favor of a more financially feasible alternative. However, regardless of any economic projections from the applicant, all staff recommendations to the Planning Commission are based on the land use and planning considerations listed above regarding revitalization of the project site, future development compatability with surrounding properties, and the adoption of land use and development standards that would be appropriate for other nearby sites." (This verbiage is part of staff's discussion of on "Project Economics," immediately below.).

Summarized, city staff's recommendation to the non-elected (Mayor chosen, Council approved) Planning Commission is:

1) Adopt a Resolution with Findings of Fact and a Statement of Overriding Considerations certifying a Final Environmental Impact Report (EIR 04-09);
2) Recommend City Council approve a General Plan/Local Coastal Program Amendment and Amendment to Subarea 17 of the Southeast Area Development and Improvement Plan (SEADIP); and
3) Continue requests for Site Plan Review, Tentative Subdivision Map, Standards Variance and Local Coastal Development Permit approval to a date uncertain for a mixed-use project consisting of 325 residential units, 191,475 square feet of commercial retail space, 100 hotel rooms with 4,368 square feet of hotel restaurant space and 3,510 square feet of hotel meeting space, 21,092 square feet of non-hotel restaurant space, a 4,175-square-foot science center, a 99-seat theater, and 1,440 on-site parking spaces.

City staff also recommends certifying the final EIR with a "Statement of Overriding Considerations"::

To view the full staff report, click here. Access to the attachments with the full report is here.

Reactions as received

Elizabeth Lambe, Exec. Dir. Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust

"It looks as if the staff' s recommendation would be to allow residential buildings up to a 6 stories, plus a hotel up to 12 stories tall. If you couple those allowances with the immense amount of retail that is still a part of this proposed development, you still have a precedent setting, traffic generating nightmare. Low rise and low density is how the area around the wetlands is zoned and it should remain so. We are disappointed in this staff recommendation."

Alex Cherin (Community Outreach for the development team)

"We are still reviewing and digesting the staff report and comments and will have a more detailed statement tomorrow [Friday]."

Further as we learn it...and we welcome your comments below.

Disclosure: The Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, which opposes the 2nd/PCH development as proposed by the developer, has an advocacy ad on LBReport.com's front page (www.LBReport.com).

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