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    Details Emerge on Possible LB City Hall-State Lands Comm'n QW Bay Land Swap

  • State would put tidelands designation on land within median b/w northbound/southbound lanes of "Shoreline Drive" (from roughly B'way to 7th St.) plus L.A. river adjacent areas north and south of Shoemaker Bridge; uses would include recreation, hiking, bike trails, wetlands; city has previously planned such uses. Total: approx. 10 acres

  • State would remove tidelands designation from footprints of four controversial comm'l uses at QW Bay, effectively facilitating City Hall desired DDR development. Total. approx. 3 acres

  • City Council could vote on deal Aug. 21 or 28; State Lands Comm'n has agendized issue for Aug. 29 in Sacramento
  • Fwy median 1

    To facilitate a City Hall desired retail project at QW Bay, should California taxpayers trade parts of tideland trust land at QW Bay for inland property, including a currently inaccessible median strip (partially shown above) bounded by access roads connecting LB to the 710 freeway? has learned that if a proposed land exchange now being discussed is approved by the CA State Lands Commission (CSLC) and the LB City Council, state tidelands designation would be removed from the footprints of four controversial commercial uses at QW Bay, effectively facilitating a City Hall desired development by developer DDR. These areas total roughly three acres.

    In exchange, tidelands designation would be placed on two general areas of city owned (or soon to be owned) land:

    Fwy median 2

    One area (part of which is shown above) consists of a greened rectangular median between the northbound and southbound lanes of "Shoreline Drive" (in this area basically access roads connecting the 710 freeway to downtown LB); the north and south roadways split between Broadway and 7th St.; the land involved lies between them and cannot presently be accessed by the public. The parcel to receive the tidelands designation does not extend all the way to the L.A. river (but the city also owns the strip of land west of the southbound lanes, which does extend to the river.).

    The second general area consists of land both north and south of Shoemaker bridge on the east side of the L.A. river. Unlike the land enclosed by the "Shoreline Dr." freeway access roads, this general area of land does extend to the L.A. river and could be accessed by the public.

    Together, these areas total roughly (perhaps slightly less than) 10 acres. Under the proposed land exchange being discussed, these city owned lands would become state tidelands trust property, conveyed back to the city for conversion, under LB Dept. of Parks and Rec. jurisdiction, to recreational, biking, hiking and wetlands uses and the like. City Hall says it's in the process of doing this already. initially reported weeks ago that LB city staff and CA State Lands Commission staff have been quietly been negotiating a land swap. On August 15, the State Lands Commission announced its August 29 meeting agenda in Sacramento would include the following two items:

    88. CALIFORNIA STATE LANDS COMMISSION (PARTY): Consideration of Public Trust Policy Issues regarding use of tide and submerged lands. (A & S State Wide)

    89 CITY OF LONG BEACH; CALIFORNIA STATE LANDS COMMISSION (PARTIES): Consideration of a proposed Exchange Agreement that would transfer approximately three acres of land north of Shoreline Drive (Queensway Bay Parcels) from the City of Long Beach to the State, exchange of the Queensway Bay Parcels by the State to the City for other property (Los Angeles River Parcels) the Los Angeles River Parcels to be held by the State as trust property, terminate the public trust on the Queensway Bay Parcels by the Commission and issue a 49-year lease of the Los Angeles River Parcels to the City of Long Beach, Los Angeles County.

    CSLC Executive Director Paul Thayer told his agency's materials on both items were still being finalized on both items and on that basis declined to provide details of the arrangement at this time.

    Locally, responding to an inquiry from, Vince Coughlin, special assistant to LB City Manager Henry Taboada, provided a general verbal outline of some salient points of the proposed exchange.

    Mr. Coughlin said the roughly ten acres of land (the area between the north and southbound "Shoreline Dr." plus the area surrounding the Shoemaker bridge) would be conveyed to the state and receive a tidelands trust designation. The state would then reconvey these areas to the City of LB for conversion to recreational (hiking, biking, picnic areas) and wetlands uses that City Hall says are already planned.

    The rationale: The QW Bay property involved is not actually on the water but is buffered from the water by a roadway. In contrast, part of the land to be swapped (the area directly surrounding Shoemaker bridge) actually borders on the L.A. river and could be converted to re-create wetlands and City Hall says it already has plans to put recreational uses in the area.

    Thus, the reasoning goes, the land to be dedicated to the state may be more appropriate for public recreational uses in the tidelands, including hiking trails, bike paths, wetlands, picnic areas and the like.

    The LB Dept. of Parks and Recreation would proceed to implement its recreational plans under city jurisdiction but within the tidelands trust.

    The City owns most of the land to be conveyed to the state, except for one piece on which a transaction is pending (or may have been recently concluded with Edison) for about three acres previously approved for conveyance by Edison to the City years ago; LB taxpayer acquisition cost nil or basically nominal, perhaps $10,000 or less.

    On hearing of the proposed land exchange, veteran environmentalist Don May of California Earthcorps told, "I'm in shock. This has statewide implications because it allows priceless public tidelands to be traded away to suit City Halls and developers. If this deal goes through, no California public coastal land is safe."

    Additional reaction is pending as we post.

    The land swap proposal will likely come before the City Council for approval prior to the State Lands Commission's meeting. The Council has two regularly scheduled meetings -- August 21 and August 28 -- before the State Lands Commission meets on August 29.

    The State Lands Commission meeting will take place August 29 starting at 9:30 a.m. in the Auditorium, First Floor, 1500-11th St., in Sacramento.

    The members of the State Lands Commission are Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (chair), State Controller Kathleen Connell, and B. Timothy Gage, CA Director of Finance.

    Although the State Lands Commission administers state lands, the state legislature holds the ultimate power. State lawmakers (including LB area Assemblymembers Alan Lowenthal, Sally Havice, Jenny Oropeza and State Senator Betty Karnette), or others, could theoretically introduce legislative language that if passed by the Assembly and Senate and not vetoed by the Governor could halt the proposed tidelands swap.

    As of August 15, Assemblymember Lowenthal's web site continued to say that while on the City Council [until December, 1998], Mr. Lowenthal "played a key role in the revitalization of downtown Long Beach and the development of the Queensway Bay Project and Aquarium of the Pacific."

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