Screen grab of the latest LUE for Council District 4.
City officials today released revised maps of the Land Use Element, which has come under fire in recent months as the proposed density and building height allowances drawn up in the plan have roiled residents claiming it would irreparably damage the character of their neighborhoods.
“It is clear from the community input we have received that changes to the proposed maps were necessary,” said City Manager, Patrick H. West, in a statement. “These maps continue to protect existing single-family neighborhoods across the entire city, and responds to specific issues raised by the community, while acknowledging the need for smart planning for our future. I am pleased with the direction these revisions have taken, and look forward to the Planning Commission and City Council’s input going forward.”
The maps are meant to meet projected job and housing needs, as well as address concerns related to height, density, additional housing units and traffic, officials stated. They show modified multi-use designations to commercial designations, proposed height reductions in several areas and lighter intensity uses throughout. They also reflect a reduced density of 686 acres through height-reduction and modified land-use designations.
The LUE, which the city is in the process of updating, builds on the already adopted Downtown Plan, Midtown Specific Plan and South East Area Specific Plan by planning for the city’s commercial areas and mixed-use corridors, officials stated.
They noted that no changes were made to traditional shopping centers, industrial job centers, the Port of Long Beach, the Long Beach Airport, parks and open spaces or single-family neighborhoods.
“Only about 16 percent of the City is available to accommodate projected housing demands,” officials stated. “Of that approximate 16 percent, the majority is proposed for lower-density development such as three-story apartments, townhomes and small mixed-use buildings.”
Some of the more contentious areas include a shopping center in District 5 at Spring Street and Bellflower Avenue where previous drafts would allow for up to five-story developments. The most current draft shows that number reduced to three stories.
In District 6, near Long Beach Boulevard and Willow Street, an area that proposed allowing development of up to 10 stories was partly reduced with some of that area now showing an allowance of only five stories.
In District 4, near the Traffic Circle, which allowed up to six-story developments, the new plan now shows a mixed allowance of heights from four stories to six stories. At Bellflower Boulevard and Stearns Street, areas that before allowed developments to be up to five stories tall now show a new limit of up to three stories.
After seeing the revised plans today, District 4 Councilman Daryl Supernaw said in his Friday newsletter that he will not support the proposed LUE map for his district.
“While most of the height increases were removed east of Clark Ave., much of the density remains on the western side of our district,” he said in his newsletter. “The Los Altos Shopping Center, southeast of Bellflower and Stearns, remains mixed use commercial/residential. The proposed heights, while reduced from the August map, still include increased density on the north/south corridors of Clark, Los Coyotes Diagonal, Redondo and Cherry. Also, the east/west corridors of 10th St., Anaheim and PCH include increased height.”