Judge halts construction at self-storage site in Long Beach

Insite Property Group’s project stalls pending environmental impact report

Judge Mitchell Beckloff with rendering of 3701 North Pacific Place (LevittQuinn, InSite)
Judge Mitchell Beckloff with rendering of 3701 North Pacific Place (LevittQuinn, InSite)

A state judge has halted construction of a self-storage facility by the Los Angeles River in North Long Beach after a challenge by environmental groups demanding the land be used for a public park.

Judge Mitchell Beckloff ruled the city violated the California Environmental Quality Act when it approved the self-storage facility at 3701 North Pacific Place without studying its environmental impacts, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reported.

Insite Property Group, based in Redondo Beach, is developing the three-story, 152,700-square-foot storage building, offices, a car wash and parking for 578 RVs.

The project was approved by the city in December on a triangular lot north of the 405 Freeway and west of Los Cerritos, over objections the blighted lot be turned into open space.

The judge ordered the city to halt work on the project until it prepares an environmental impact report addressing significant environmental, biological, recreational and cultural impacts of the project.

The site is across the Metro line tracks from Los Cerritos Elementary School, Los Cerritos Park and a residential neighborhood.

The legal challenge was filed by Riverpark Coalition, an environmental group, and Los Angeles Waterkeeper, an environmental watchdog organization. They said the four connecting parcels had long been promised as a river park and nature preserve.

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“This win is a victory for park equity and environmental justice for the most neglected side of Long Beach and the Lower Los Angeles River,” Riverpark Coalition President Juan Ovalle told the Press-Telegram. “The ruling defends much-needed park space, as well as the specific goals of the Long Beach Riverlink Plan and L.A. River Master Plan.”

Attorneys for Insite Property Group and the property owner, Artesia Acquisition, argued in court papers that the mitigated negative declaration adopted by the City Council was sufficient and that an EIR wasn’t necessary.

They also said the proposed self-storage project made the most of the site’s awkward layout and would develop a site that had long sat vacant.

City officials have said that the lot is private property and converting it into a park was never on the table. They pointed to a history of blight, nuisances and homeless encampments.

— Dana Bartholomew