To build or not to build? Long Beach edition

Zoning legislation has not been updated since 1997

Oct.October 10, 2017 12:00 PM
Photo Illustration of Long Beach skyline (Getty Images/ Creative Commons)

Long Beach residents showed up in herds at Whaley Park on Oct. 4 to voice their concerns about officials updating the Land Use Element to allow for more density, the Press Telegram reported. The Town Hall meeting was called by Mayor Robert Garcia, who isn’t allowed to vote on legislation but wanted to hear his constituents’ thoughts.

City officials are pushing for a complete rewrite to the 1989 edition of the Land Use Element, a hand-written ordinance that’s been guiding development from a time when Long Beach had 44,000 fewer residents. A draft calls for taller buildings, including five- and six- story buildings around the Traffic Circle, and 10-story buildings in the Wrigley area and near Anaheim Street, Pacific Coast Highway and Willow Street.

Southern California Associated Governments recently determined the city would need over 7,000 new housing units between 2014 and 2021. City Hall would need to permit roughly 5,900 homes to meet that goal.

Neighborhood residents, however, believe opening the floodgates to new development will increase traffic congestion and give way to crime.

Two more Town Hall meetings are scheduled to take place.

Anti-density sentiment is rampant in coastal cities, whose residents fear their neighborhoods will lose their sea-side charm and become replicas of Downtown. Just down the Bay, Redondo Beach City Council recently extended a moratorium on mixed-use development to ten months. The ban, however, contrasts sharply with what folks in Sacramento are preaching and signing into law to encourage apartment development during a housing crisis.[PT] – Natalie Hoberman

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