|(Sept 27, 2017, 4:50 p.m.) -- LB Development Services spokesperson Kevin Lee provides details on the format city staff intends to use at its upcoming community meetings (it calls "workshops") regarding staff-proposed changes to LB's Land Use Element
City staff scheduled the community meetings after nearly thirty people testified at LB's Aug. 17 Planning Commission meeting in opposition to city staff proposed increased density maps, with some alleging a general lack of prior public outreach. The Planning Commission voted
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[LBDS spokesperson Kevin Lee text] The General Plan workshops will all be set up with several workshop stations. Stations will have themes -- everything from "General Plan Basics" to "Placetypes" and "Housing Needs" to "Sustainability," and more.
The "station" format differs from traditional "Town Hall" style meetings where members of the public can speak and be heard by the meeting audience (and by reporters), advocate their positions publicly, raise issues that some may not have considered and potentially influence the views of others. And with a "station" format, there's no public record and no public oversight of what city staff verbally tells residents in response to questions.
The City, via hired consultants, has previously used the "station" format on at least two polarizing issues: Rezoning a portion of SE LB (SEASP) and a proposed customs facility allowing international flights at LB Airport. Some who attended the SEASP "station" workshops voiced displeasure with the "station" format after the meetings, calling it a "divide and conquer" technique. At the first meeting on the proposed Airport customs facility, residents refused to get out of their chairs and move to separate "stations," leaving the somewhat flummoxed consultants with little choice but to allow residents to speak on mike...which they did.
On its website, Long Beach Development Services states:
[LBDS website text] The City to Host Four Community Workshops for General Plan Land Use and Urban Design Elements
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