|(Oct. 19, 2017, 9:55 a.m., text added 4:10 p.m. and Oct. 20, 12:40 p.m.) -- Nearly 500 people assembled in an event-tent next to LBPD's North Division station at Scherer Park on Weds. Oct. 18 for the fourth and final city staff workshop (Town Hall plus one-on-one information stations) on city staff proposed Land Use Element. (Photo below via CONO Facebook page)
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|Councilmembers Al Austin, Suzie Price, Roberto Uranga and Vice Mayor Richardson made opening remarks, stressing that the city staff proposed maps (June-August version can be viewed here) aren't final; they remained for varying periods, exited before the meeting ended at roughly 10:00 p.m. but remained long enough to hear the intensity of public opposition, including audience anger voiced by a number of residents.
Councilman Daryl Supernaw (also attended the second and third meetings from start to finish) didn't speak but remained to near the meeting's conclusion. Councilmembers Lena Gonzalez and Dee Andrews didn't attend the Oct. 18 meeting, or the three prior public meetings, nor did Mayor Robert Garcia, who left for Port-related travel to Asia.
Among other officials observing the proceedings: LBCC Trustee Jeff Kellogg and LB Planning Commissioner Andy Perez.
We counted 519 total seats, with some, but not many, empty when the meeting began shortly after 10 p.m. Some in the audience had attended at least one of the previous three meetings (based on a show-of-hands sought by Councilwoman Price) but most were new attendees. Some speakers said they only recently learned of proposed land use changes and their neighbors remain unaware.
As in the previous three meetings, public testimony was overwhelmingly opposed. Speakers in opposition were age-diverse and, with a young homeowner, race-diverse. Three individuals (one a lawyer identifying herself as having previously worked with developers) spoke in support.
As at the Whaley Park (Oct. 4), the audience applauded/cheered when [paraphrase] staff indicated that not updating the Land Use Element wouldn't accommodate government-agency (SCAG) anticipated growth.
The first speaker, Louise Ivers, former chair of LB's Cultural Heritage Commission, displayed the photo below.
In an email to LBREPORT.com, she explained: "I live in north Alamitos Beach, which is scheduled for 5 and 7 story apartments not only on 7th St. from St. Louis to Alamitos Ave., but from the west side of Walnut to Alamitos Ave. in residential areas. The photo shows a mid-1980s "crackerbox" that has 20 units and 20 parking spaces (on Rose Ave.) It was this type of development that caused overcrowding, parking impaction, noise, pollution, and trash in NABA. Now the LUE projects higher and bigger 'sons of crackerboxes' for almost all of NABA, which will be the death blow for our historic, founding neighborhood. Needless to say, I oppose the LUE."
A number of audience speakers disputed, and some called misleading or untrue, some city staff statements. These included the proposed LUE's relationship to zoning, which retired Councilwoman Rae Gabelich notes is cited in part of the proposed LUE, and veteran community advocate Kerrie Aley, who cited the LUE's accompanying EIR and its detailed zoning change timeline.
Others advocated that the City of Long Beach do what they said the City of Lakewood has done: [paraphrase] declined to try to meet the Southern CA Ass'n of Governments (SCAG) "Regional Housing Needs Assessment" numbers of new housing, which speakers acknowledged would cost City Hall some state transportation dollars...but said it would be worth it.
When one speaker raised the issue of SB 35 [whose passage the City didn't oppose] that uses SCAG's RHNA numbers to trigger "streamlined" city approval of developer-sought low income projects, city staffer Carrie Tai said LB's City Attorney office is studying the measure, but from her initial reading of the bill it might have somewhat limited real-world impacts.
Staff also stated that single family home density is roughly 7 dwelling units per acre, although the LUE (as shown on a PPT slide and stated verbally) proposes to allow from 7 to 18 dwelling units per acre (depending on subsequent zoning). [18 dwelling units per acre is townhouse-type density; the controversial Riverwalk (Riverview) development on the former Will J. Reid scout park site is roughly 13 dwelling units per acre.]
Council of Neighborhood Organizations (CONO) Exec. Dir. Robert Fox blasted city staff and this time went further, drawing audience applause when he advocated unspecified City reforms. CONO's Nick Rose streamed live video, now visible on demand on CONO's Say NO to the Land Use Element Facebook page (video embedded below).
Simultaneously appearing online is a new Facebook page -- LB Reform (which CONO's Say NO to the Land Use Element Facebook page calls a sister page) indicating a public outreach session is scheduled at 12:00 noon Saturday Oct. 28 at the Petroleum Club, 3636 Linden Ave.
"All citizens of Long Beach are invited to join us for the formation of a reform platform, including our own General Plan, says LB Reform. The page's Profile Picture includes a graphic calling for [paraphrase] ending transfers of Council "officeholder" accounts, 25% reduction in city management pay, 25% reduction in total city management staff, neighborhood ass'n involvement "at every level," incentivizing neighborhood driven policy, withdrawal from SCAG, community policing...and a full-time City Council.
Reached after the meeting, Mr. Fox told LBREPORT.com that these are his proposals and will be brought to CONO's governing groups for their input and decisions shortly.
As in the prior LUE meetings, city staff didn't make video or audio recordings of what the public said and how they said it. CONO's Nick Rose streamed video, embedded below:
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