Councilwoman Mungo Signals Her Support -- On These Terms -- For Land Use Changes That As Proposed By City Staff Would Invite These Density Increases In Parts Of Her ELB District And Beyond is reader and advertiser supported. Support independent news in LB similar to the way people support NPR and PBS stations. We're not non-profit so it's not tax deductible but $49.95 (less than an annual dollar a week) helps keep us online.
(June 11, 2017, 6:10 p.m.) -- Councilwoman Stacy Mungo has signaled her support for changes -- on these terms -- to the city's Land Use Element that, as presently proposed by city staff, would invite density increases in parts of her ELB district.

In a June 10 emailed statement included in a mass emailing she titled: "For the Record: Councilwoman Mungo Provides You with the Facts," Councilwomam Mungo wrote:

[Councilwoman Mungo text] The City is currently in the process of updating our General Plan, a document that is required by California state law and which only happens once or twice in a generation. Residents are naturally concerned about the impact that this update might have on our neighborhoods, which are largely residential and comprised of single-family homes. I want to be very clear: I will not support a General Plan update that changes the overall nature and residential character of our community.

Under the Land Use Element of the proposed General Plan update, the commercial corridor at Spring Street and Palo Verde Avenue, for instance, would be designated a "Community Commercial PlaceType" that places certain restrictions and guidelines on how the land is used in that area:

  • Recognizing that community-serving businesses play a vital role in meeting the commercial shopping, goods and service-based needs of Long Beach businesses and residents;
  • Promoting development projects that are compatible with adjacent residential uses and which respect neighboring developments;
  • Requiring adequate setbacks along with visual and noise buffers to separate auto-oriented developments from adjacent neighbors; and
  • Prohibiting the use of that land for apartments or homes.

Within these parameters, I believe the updated General Plan will be able to attract exciting new businesses and jobs to the Fifth District without altering the small community feel that we all treasure.

The future is likely to include more home delivery and less demand for physical locations for shopping, and this means we need to evaluate what would make sense for our neighborhoods should the trend of online sales continue to rise and more retailers vacate their existing locations.

[Scroll down for further.]

But what does Councilwoman Mungo mean by "within these parameters?" The "parameters" she quotes are from city staff's verbiage to its "update" to Land Use Element that accompany the ways in which city staff proposes to replace LB's current Land Use Element in Councilwoman Mungo's 5th Council district. Sources: See Proposed Land Use Element at pp. 87 and 89. Also District 5 Proposed Heights/Changes

In Councilwoman Mungo's 5th district, city staff proposes to allow up to three story buildings at the Spring St./Palo Verde "Plaza" commercial quadrants and the Bellflower/Spring SE quadrant commercial center (red in map below), in addition to allowing three stories in smaller commercial nodes along Los Coyotes Diagonal north of Spring St.("Pavilions" center) and north and south of Wardlow Rd. (purple in map below.)

At the smaller commercial centers (purple areas) city staff also proposes to allow some residential uses (such as "mixed use" developments.) Most of the commercial buildings in both these locations (red and purple) are one story with up to two stories legally allowed. (Two medical buildings at the SW Spring/Palo Verde quadrant were long-ago permitted with three stories.)

PlaceTypes, Draft Land Use Element, p. 149

As for ELB's surrounding residential neighborhoods (yellow area in map), the proposed Land Use Element rewrite classifies this area as within the "Founding and Contemporary Neighborhood" Placetype which would allow from 7 dwelling units per acre [LB's traditional single family residential neighborhood density] to up to 18 dwelling units per acre. City of Long Beach Advance Planning Officer, Christopher Koontz, tells that 18 dwelling units per acre is the absolute maximum within the Founding and Contemporary Neighborhoods PlaceType and stresses that the "vast, vast, vast [reiterates it three times for emphasis] majority of existing single family neighborhoods will remain as they are today."

Mr. Koontz adds: "In the event new land comes available, such as a school or church closing, and it is developed as single family, the land use element would guide that future development. These could be traditional single family homes, traditional homes on small lot, row homes or duplexes. They would not include 'condos' as those are typically understood because this placetype is not intended to include stacked or 'multifamily' buildings'" and cites the accompanying proposed Urban Design Element which shows the different types of single family and duplex residences that could be developed in the future (see pp. 49-51 of the PDF, numbered pages 41-43.)



Councilwoman Mungo's text above appears under the heading "Land Use Study Session" but doesn't link to details or mention that the proposed Land Use Element revision is in fact scheduled to come to the City Council on Tuesday June 13 at 4 p.m. for a study session (likely general overview and discussion, not voted action) and likewise to LB's Planning Commission on Thursday June 15 at 5 p.m. (likely more detailed discussion but not voted action.) Public testimony is allowed at both meetings in the City Council Chamber (333 W. Ocean Blvd.) with speakers normally allowed three minutes each to speak, sometimes reduced to two minutes if a large number of speakers appear.


Sponsor: Computer Repair Long Beach

Councilwoman Mungo's emailed statement on the matter follows an April 24 public meeting in which she disputed facts about the Land Use Element revision accurately stated by constituent Corliss Lee who sought (but failed to receive) the Councilwoman's support in opposing three story building heights at Palo Verde/Spring [ coverage here].

City staff's Land Use Element revisions propose increased residential and commercial densities in several areas citywide, aiming to create economic, market-driven incentives [to mainly commercial land owners] to re-develop current uses on their property invited by higher allowable building heights and mixed residential and commercial uses.

When ultimately adopted (with or without tweaks, amendments or other changes) by a City Council majority, the new Land Use Element will become the legal foundation for subsequent changes to LB zoning code that specifies in detail what homeowners and commercial property owners can or can't do on their properties citywide. A City Council majority can change city-staff's proposed Land Use Element revisions and has ultimate approval authority over what is or isn't adopted.



On Friday June 9 at 10:00 a.m. (when many people were at work), Councilwoman Mungo's office held an outdoor event at Wardlow Park at which City Development Services staff were present for what her office called "Development 101 Community Workshop." Councilwoman Mungo's monthly (May 24) "Neighborly News" email dispatch didn't mention the upcoming June 13 Council or June 15 Planning Commission study sessions on the Land Use Element and previewed her June 9 outdoor event as "Do you have questions about home improvement permitting requirements? Would you like to discuss property maintenance or code enforcement issues? Are you interested in the City's General Plan Land Use Element, which is the road map to the City's future?"

Among those present at the June 9 event was Christopher Koontz, the city's primary policy staffer in charge of the Land Use Element re-write. He fielded questions and heard comments from residents who'd learned of the proposed Land Use Element changes. Councilwoman Mungo wasn't present at the event.

Sponsor first reported on city staff's proposed Land Use Element revision in May 2015 and continues to provide coverage as city staff's proposed changes near Planning Commission voted recommendations and City Council voted decisions. For's most recent detailed coverage, click here.

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Developing. Further to follow on

9:21 p.m., June 11: Added citation to the pages in city staff's proposed Land Use Element from which Councilwoman Mungo quotes her "parameters."

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