' VIDEO: See/Hear It: Proposals To Increase Density (Advancing In Sac'to And City Hall) A Hot Topic At Community Meeting With Assemblyman O'Donnell And Councilwoman Price '

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See/Hear It: Proposals To Increase Density (Advancing In Sac'to And City Hall) A Hot Topic At Community Meeting With Assemblyman O'Donnell And Councilwoman Price

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(Sept. 10, 2017, 6:55 p.m.) -- Actions advancing in Long Beach and Sacramento that could enable developer-desired density were a hot topic at a Saturday (Sept. 9) community meeting at Ballast Point in SE LB with Assemblyman Patrick O'Donnell (D, Long Beach-San Pedro) and 3rd dist. Councilwoman Suzie Price.

To view LBREPORT.com on-semand VIDEO coverage of salient portions of the Sept. 9 O'Donnell-Price community meeting click this link.

Among the issues that came up were:

  • The SE LB (SEASP) rezoning (area roughly from PCH/Loynes to Seal Beach border) scheduled for a Sept. 19 Council vote (LBREPORT.com coverage here)

  • City staff's proposed density increase maps accompanying a proposed re-write of LB's Land Uses which, if approved by the Council, would invite increased density in various parts of the city (LBREPORT.com coverage here, here and here)

  • SB 35 that could come to a Sacramento decisional vote within days and could require cities (including LB) to approve developer-desired multi-unit residential buildings where residential uses are zoned but without currently required public input, local parking requirements, CEQA neighborhood impact reports or City Hall decision making authority [LBREPORT.com coverage here, here and here.]

[Scroll down for further.]

Assemblyman O'Donnell reiterated his opposition (announced two days earlier) to SB 35 (details here), calling it "not good for Long Beach, not good for the state of California, because state law would override your local community, your local city's ability to plan itself and that's going to allow for a lot more density...I'm a big advocate of stopping that bill and I hope you will be too," (drawing applause.) Assemblyman O'Donnell added, "Sacramento should not be planning your city. Your cities should be planning your cities."

Councilwoman Price said she agrees "completely with Assemblyman O'Donnell's regarding the state mandating density on a city. I think the city needs to decide what works for the particular city at that location, given the traffic conditions and environmental sensitivities in the area."



To LBREPORT.com's knowledge, LB Mayor Robert Garcia hasn't publicly opposed or otherwise stated his position on SB 35. During an August 31 "Ask Me Anything" hour on Twitter, Garcia didn't respond when a resident asked him for his position on SB 35. As of 6:00 p.m. Sept. 10, the Mayor's City Hall office hasn't responded to LBREPORT.com emails on Sept. 3 and Sept. 5 asking if during the multiple months SB 35 has been pending if Mayor Garcia has publicly opposed SB 35 as written or unless amended.

SB 35 passed the state Senate in June (25-12) with "yes" votes by LB state Senators Ricardo Lara (D, LB-Huntington Park) as well as Janet Nguyen (R, SE LB-West OC); it has thus far had the support of Sacramento's Democrat-majority legislative leadership and requires only 41 Assembly votes with 54 seats held by Dems. (In other words, SB 35 could safely garner a Dem majority and pass the Assembly despite Assemblyman O'Donnell's "no" vote.)

Earlier this year, the City Council approved a 2017 "state legislative agenda" with verbiage reciting that the City will oppose measures detrimental to local control including on land use matters. The city of LB's Manager of Government Affairs, Diana Tang, tells LBREPORT.com that City remains officially neutral on SB 35, but is "working with the author on amendments, consistent with the City's state legislative agenda as it relates to local control."

SB 35 is now coming to a possible vote within the next few days with a Sept. 15 deadline for passage this year. SB 35's full text can be viewed is at this link. Numbered pages 11-23 show how, with few exceptions, SB 35 would effectively end most LB City Hall decision making, current public input and local parking requirements.

As previously reported by LBREPORT.com, the City of LB's Director of Development Services, Amy Bodek, has confirmed that the City of Long Beach would be subject to SB 35's mandates at this time.


At the O'Donnell-Price meeting, residents pressed for further on the density issues. A fifth district woman asked how close SB 35 was to passage, and Assemblyman O'Donnell acknowledged it is very close to passing (producing audience groans.) O'Donnell advised residents to call Sen. Nguyen [a Republican who voted "yes" on the measure in June, but will have a chance to vote against SB 35 if it passes the Assembly and returns for concurrence in the Senate] and Governor Brown's office [who's publicly urged the legislature to enact the type of measures included in SB 35.]



The 5th district resident pressed for further on the density locally. "[W]here are we on our Council, individually each Council person seems to say 'oh no, those density maps are terrible; I'm definitely against it' and yet we seem to be stuck in neutral. This should already be a done deal. They should already be not passing. Nobody wants those high density maps. Everyone's against it and yet they still seem to be stuck in neutral at the local level" (audience shouts, yes.)

Councilwoman Price reiterated that she agrees completely with Assemblyman O'Donnell's position on SB 35. "I do not want the state imposing mandates on us that we have no control over," she said...and segued to responding to the 5th district resident's question regarding City Hall staff's proposed density increase maps. That led to a pointed exchange with (what we presume to be) a Third district constituent:

Councilwoman Price: ...I'm not opposed to density as a blanket rule. I think there are places and opportunities for increased housing and density that make sense, and I think there are areas where they don't make sense. For example, in downtown there are some areas where it absolutely makes sense to have increased density. In Belmont Shore, there may be areas where it makes no sense at all. I have seen the proposed of the 3rd district. I have some concerns regarding where the proposed density is there, but those maps came about after a lot of discussion with my community and with me personally with the Development Services team to talk about what I would be comfortable with and what I wouldn't be comfortable with.

So by the time the maps came out, we already had a lot of discussions about where they were proposing density and what I would be OK with and what I wouldn't be. There are some areas where they have proposed density in my district that I have an issue with and I will probably be making a recommendation when it comes to Council to reduce density in those areas.

But overall, I like the proposals that they've made in regards to most of the density recommendations in the Third district.

I have not, I'll be honest with you, looked at the density recommendations for the other districts. I'm assuming that Council members in those districts are having community meetings with their own residents...

3rd dist. man: ...So let's be clear on the Third District...You're OK with those maps.

Councilwoman Price: Some of them. There are some changes I'm going to make for the Third district.

Resident: What are they?

Councilwoman Price: I don't know officially yet.

Resident: So you don't have any changes.

Councilwoman Price: No. I do have changes to them but I don't know what the changes are going to be yet. I can tell you one area in Belmont Shore...

Resident: [cuts her off] You're speaking out of both sides of your mouth.

Councilwoman Price: Well, I don't know what to tell you, sir. I'm going to be making some changes to them. I don't know the totality of those changes. I'm not going to tell you right now what those changes are going to be because my community meeting, where I'm going to be listening to my residents, has not happened yet, so I cannot commit today to the changes that I'll be making, but what I am telling you, and this isn't both sides of my mouth and I hope you're listening, I am going to be making some changes to the maps.

Resident: Well I can already tell you that your constituents want to see all that high density to go away (audience approval, right)...get rid of it, it's not fair for the churches, it needs to get out of here, it's not East Long Beach and no one wants it, I can already tell you that...

Councilwoman Price ...And I'm going to be more than happy to listen [at upcoming scheduled meetings] but if they're saying we don't want any density increase in the Third district, I can tell you right now that's not going to happen...

Resident: ...The constituents don't want any of that...

Councilwoman Price: ...I understand your passions and I understand you feel very strongly but I will tell you I speak with my constituents all the time and not everybody may agree with you. Some will, but some may have a different perspective and that's why we have community meetings, that's why we have opportunities for emails...Please come [to Councilwoman Price's Sept. 23 community meeting] please come up and express your concerns because I can tell you there are community groups and associations that are OK with some of the density proposed. We've already met with them...


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