Four more opportunities for the community to give input into the General Plan Land Use Element and Urban Design Element, documents that guide development and building in Long Beach, have been scheduled, city officials announced today.
The announcement comes a week after Mayor Robert Garcia released a statement in support of the Planning Commission’s vote to recommend halting the Land Use Element (LUE) after it heard from dozens of residents concerned that new rules allowing maximum building heights to be increased would change the “character” of the affected community.
"The Land Use Element is an important community document that will guide development and building across Long Beach for decades to come,” Garcia stated last Friday. “City Staff has been working very hard on presenting their recommendations to the community and the Planning Commission. It is important that there is adequate community input before the Land Use Element is presented to the City Council.”
His statement came a day after Development Services Director Amy Bodek told the commission during a meeting that city staff was taking the LUE to City Council October 3 with or without their recommendation on the land use maps. This was despite the commission voting 4-1 to send the maps back to staff with instructions to conduct additional community outreach.
The LUE, something that has been under construction for over the past decade, sets land uses into policy in a sort of “constitution” as the city’s advanced planning officer Christopher Koontz referred to it during a study session in June. It codifies what can be built, how much of it can be built and where it can be built. The last land use element was adopted in 1989.
Koontz said the plan looks out to 2040 and tries to anticipate the needs of neighborhoods and how they might function. It will also make assumptions based on a recently passed mobility element that calls for less parking with the premise that more people will use mass transit, and proposes higher allowable building heights to help combat the state’s growing housing shortage.
Before the planning commission’s vote last Thursday, they heard from residents—mostly from the Wrigley neighborhood in west-central Long Beach and from eastern council districts which are largely single-story, affluent single family residences—who said the proposed LUE maps would lead to traffic gridlock, parking scarcities and crime.
Over 30 public meetings and presentations about the LUE have been held across the city in the last 18 months, officials stated.
Residents and property owners may attend any of the following upcoming citywide community workshops:
- Saturday, September 30, 3:00PM-5:00PM at Veterans Park Community Center, 101 East 28th Street
- Wednesday, October 4, 6:00PM-8:00PM at Whaley Park Community Center, 5620 East Atherton Street
- Saturday, October 14, 11:00AM-1:00PM at Best Western Golden Sails Hotel, 6285 Pacific Coast Highway
- Wednesday, October 18, 6:00PM-8:00PM at Expo Center, 4321 Atlantic Avenue
In addition, residents can obtain more information about the plan, or comment and give feedback online here.
Following the workshops, the LUE will be presented to the planning commission in a study session for review and comment, and subsequently for recommendations, according to city officials. Once the commission makes recommendations, the LUE will be presented to the City Council for deliberation and input before adoption.