For Years, Studebaker/Loynes Industrial Property Has Stood Quiet/Undeveloped But That May Now Change. Property Owner Proposes "Studebaker Rd. Business Park"; Planning Comm'n Will Hold Hearing/Vote Subject To Possible Appeal(s)
|(Nov. 7, 2019, 7:20 a.m.) -- For years, the SE LB property on the east side of Studebaker Rd. in the area of Loynes Drive has remained mainly undeveloped. Just south of the AES power plant, it wasn't pretty, but some nearby residents liked it because it was quiet. That may now change.
Today (Nov. 7) at 5:00 p.m., LB's Planning Commission (non-elected/Mayor-chosen/Council approved) will hold a public hearing with voted action (subject to potential future appeals, see below) on a proposal by the property's owner to develop the property consistent with its current industrial zoning. It proposes to create a "Studebaker Road Business Park" with two new 35-feet tall concrete tilt-up industrial buildings (91,700 sq. ft and 47,500 sq. ft) and 168 parking spaces + 43 optional parking spaces (grasscrete parking.)
City staff contends the proposal raises no major environmental/neighborhood impacts and has submitted a "Mitigated Negative Declaration" for project approval. However veteran LB environmental/open space advocate Ann Cantrell has voiced concerns on social networks that the proposal appears to allow 24/7 truck traffic along with creating noise and light impacts (among others.)
[Scroll down for further.]
An agendized city staff report states in pertinent part:
The project would support potential uses such light manufacturing, warehousing, assembly and distribution. Office spaces would be provided in the interior frontage of each building to support the business operations. As proposed, the provided parking would support industrial uses that require one parking space per 1,000 square feet of gross floor area (GFA). The provision of additional grasscrete parking would enable flexibility for permitted industrial uses that may require a higher parking ratio than the typical warehouse use (which requires one parking space per 1,000 square feet of GFA. With incorporation of additional grasscrete parking, the site would provide parking at a ratio of 1.5 parking spaces per 1,000 square feet of GFA. The SPR Committee required this additional parking to avoid developing a building that would have limited flexibility for a change of use that could render the building obsolete for reuse...
(Artist renderings/plans can be viewed here.)
Depending on the outcome of today's Planning Commission hearing, the proposal's next stop may or may not be appeals to the Long Beach City Council and perhaps to the CA Coastal Commission. "The western project area is partially situated within an appealable area of the Coastal Zone, while the remainder of the site is in the City's jurisdiction of the Coastal Zone," city staff indicates.
In 2006, the property's then-owner (a Tom Dean-LLC) sought to change the property's industrial zoning to enable a "Home Depot"-anchored commercial development. The proposal split the community, led to five hour Council item in Oct. 2006 that produced a split vote (6-3, O'Donnell, Schipske, Gabelich dissenting) and begat a lawsuit from the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust (non-profit wetlands protective advocacy group) and nearby University Park Estates residents. A Superior Court judge ultimately ruled that City Hall's EIR was flawed, effectively requiring changes that the then-property owner declined to pursue. For years nearly nothing happened...until now.
To satisfy a LB zoning requirement to allocate 30% of the 6.69 acre site to open space, and the property owner proposes to provide part of the open space "on site" and dedicate a remaining 1.81 acres off-site -- on the west side of Studebaker Rd contiguous to the Los Cerritos Wetlands -- by transferring it to the Los Cerritos Wetlands Authority, a governmental body overseeing collection of wetlands areas for public use. The LCWA/government body (that stands to receive the 1,81 acres of land) has submitted a letter supporting the proposed project; its governing board currently consists of LB Councilmembers Suzie Price (chair, in whose 3rd Council district the proposed "Studebaker Rd. Business Park" is located, project is located) and Roberto Uranga, Seal Beach Councilmember Schelly Sustarsic and an appointee of the state Coastal Conservancy, Sam Schuchat.
The property is immediately south of the AES power plant, where state regulators and LB City Hall actions approved major changes (AES calls them upgrades) now being completed that will create what it calls an "energy center" offering a more aesthetic/less intrusive visual profile while home to one of the world's largest (to date) lithium-battery power storage facilities.
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