Councilwoman Mungo Creates Video re LUE Making These Statements That We Question
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Editor's note: Some readers who don't live in ELB's 5th Council district may wonder why some 5th district residents are disturbed by the responses of Council incumbent Stacy Mungo on the major ELB and citywide impacting issue below. Our story below, one of three we publish today, may help explain this. (The other stories are here and here.)(Dec. 10, 2017, 5:20 p.m.) -- Faced with "Say NO to the LUE" lawn signs throughout her Council district and facing two re-election challengers (Corliss Lee and Rich Dines), Fifth district City Council incumbent Stacy Mungo has sent a Dec, 7 mass emailing ("Neighborly News, Special Edition: Land Use Element Action Items") linking to a video she produced in which she makes some statements that are accurate but mixes them with statements that we question below.
LBREPORT.com analyzes its content and provides our perspective below:
As a threshold matter, Councilwoman Mungo's video doesn't mention the Council option to "receive and file" the LUE although she has publicly acknowledged elsewhere that it is a legal option.
In addition, she cites building heights based on the latest proposed map but doesn't note that the map indicates heights could end up higher if a developer seeks and receives density bonues and other incentives in state legislation.
In her six minute video Councilwoman Mungo visits four key ELB locations (Bellflower/Spring, Wardlow/Los Coyotes, Spring/Palo Verde, Towne Center.) Her video is accurate in noting that city staff (after public pushback) backed off on some proposed increased building heights and densities it sought in June 15-August 17 proposed maps, but the November maps continue to propose some noteworthy residential density increases from the status quo. Councilwoman Mungo doesn't say what tweaks she might accept in exchange for accepting other consequences of the LUE (in ELB and beyond) for the next 20 years.
Mungo Nov. 6 video
[Bellflower/Spring] "The new version of the maps divide out about 15 acres of that property to say "community commercial," the way that it is today. The other portions of the maps, still show "mixed use."
The new maps show s three story mixed use building where there is currently a one story commercial building (with two stories currently allowed.)
"The new version of the maps...pulls out 16 of those parcels and protects them as community commercial. With the rest of the properties that was originally zoned to be either residential,.commercial or mixed use, it went from moderate density to low density."
The area is currently zoned for commercial uses. Management backed down from its June-August maps, but the new map would still allow a three story mixed use with residences that aren't allowed today
[Spring/Los Coyotes Diagonal] "In the current version of the maps, a portion is carved out to stay community commercial and the other portion is designated low density up to three stories of either commercial, residential or a mix of both. So we as a community have to provide our input on what we think it should be."
New maps would allow three story mixed use buildings where current commercial buildings are one story and the current height limit is two stories. Councilwoman Mungo doesn't say whether she supports or opposes the proposed changes.
[Spring/Palo Verde] "This corner was originally moderate density/mixed use, but through the communication of many of the residents, the city staff has turned it to community commercial, so community commercial at two stories which is approximately the height of some of the buildings that exist here today, and there's one little carve out that the building we all know and love that was medical office, and hopefully will be medical office again soon, so at this corner, the heights are going to stay the same and it's going to maintain its status as commercial."
The new maps would let three of the four Plaza commercial quadrants remain two story commercial buildings where most of the current commercial buildings are one story with two stories allowed.
[Wardlow/Los Coyotes] "On the map, it looks like a bow tie...Currently, a portion of the property is in escrow. Long Beach City College owns the vacant lot that's fenced-in behind me along with the office building behind me and the medical office in front of me, so this is all up for sale in that transaction. This parcel was originally in the first version of the maps mixed use, moderate density, either residential commercial or both, and the individual looking to purchase the property had two different visions for the property. Now that the property is a firm line that Ralphs and these two buildings and the vacant lot are commercial, that developer would be in a position to develop that as commercial, while the community has some mixed communication to my office. Some of the community are interested in a senior housing and senior center that would be a partnership between SCAN Healthcare and the developer. Others feel that maintaining it as commercial would be the ideal situation. What we as a community need to do is come together and decide what we want so that when these maps are finalized in the new year, we'll be able to give a great direction to the developer on what we as a community want. If the community decides they want to keep this property all commercial, that's definitely an option. If the community decides that they'd like somewhere for them to move into seniors and a senior center, then we would need to work hand in hand with the developer to put some covenants on the property to ensure that if in the future the property changed hands that we as a neighborhood would be protected."
The areas north of Wardlow Rd. would change to three story mixed uses, where there are currently only one story buildings. Councilwoman Mungo takes no position on this.
The area south of Wardlow Rd. would be two story commercial only, and her verbiage invites the inference that she's discussed future development of the area with a possible purchaser/developer.
[Towne Center] The Long Beach Towne Center was originally under the maps six stories moderate density, and it currently shows as five stories moderate density. Some of the considerations that we as a community have discussed are the fact that Long Beach actually owns this property and is the landlord to Vestar. So no matter what the maps say, we as a community can always control the density of this property.
A City Council majority, not the 5th district Councilmember or 5th district residents, controls the property. Councilmembers in other districts might have a number of reasons to approve imposing impacts on the NE corner of the 5th Council district if the LUE lets them do so. Although the city is the landlord, the LUE would still apply, with the impacts of state legislation enabling and some cases incentivizing mixed uses and increased density.
"...[J]oin us in the new year when a date has been decided to make decisions on this map at the Long Beach City Council level, when I get my first chance at putting my mark on this map and making it look more and more like the community that we all know and love."
Councilwoman Mungo took office in mid-July 2014. She has had from at least May 2015 to the present to publicly state whether she supports, opposes, or would settle for tweaks in city staff's variously proposed LUE maps. Instead, she speaks in generalities using terms she can later define as she wishes. For example, at public meetings, she now displays a banner stating "I will NOT support increased density in the 5th district...Let's work together to protect the character of our residential neighborhoods." But does the first sentence mean she won't vote for any increased density in the 5th district, or tmight she vote for increased density in some locations while saying she doesn't "support" it? The second sentence is also unclear, leaving her free to define protecting "the character" of neighborhoods as she pleases. Does she believe one can protect the "character" of some neighborhoods while still allowing higher building heights and increased commercial density? Until Councilwoman makes that clear, we don't know. Councilwoman Mungo is also a member of the Council's State Legislation Committee, but didn't use that position or exercise her right as an individual Councilmember to agendize an item explicitly opposing SB 35 and other Sac'to land use/density/multi-unit housing legislation.