Hundreds of people packed a LUE meeting in North Long Beach earlier this year to voice their concerns on the impact the plan could have on their communities. Photo: Jason Ruiz
The last public meeting before the land use element (LUE) is expected to head to the city council is scheduled for Monday December 10 where a capacity crowd will likely pack the council chambers to try and sway the planning commission’s vote.
Currently, the planning commission is scheduled to forward the revised LUE maps and land uses to the city council level for that body to consider in the coming year. The LUE and its proposed density and place-type maps have roiled a contingent of homeowners in the city that claim allowing taller buildings to be constructed near single-family neighborhoods will irreparably harm their quality of life and their property values.
The city says that as part of its general plan, the LUE must be updated as mandated by the state to accommodate for forecasted growth expected in the city over the next 40 years. Some members of the community have alleged that the plan merely represents a streamlining of sweetheart deals meant to draw developers to the city. The LUE is a guiding document for future developments in the city but does not require maximum allowable land uses to match what is eventually built on a parcel going forward.
A Facebook page, “Say NO to the Land Use Element” has put out a call to action to residents to show up to the special meeting December 11 where the planning commission is expected to vote the LUE to the council level.
“There are still tons of people who are blissfully unaware that their city is going to be fundamentally changed right under their noses. And as soon as they find out, they wake up from their slumbers and are ready to take action,” the most recent post on the page reads. “You each get three minutes at the Planning Commission to speak, make them count, even if it takes all night.”
The planning commission was previously scheduled to forward the issue, part of the city’s revamp of its general plan, in August, but the commission voted to delay that action.
Outgoing Director of Development Services Amy Bodek’s comments at that August 17 meeting that she was “taking it to city council October 3 with or without your [the planning commission] recommendations” set off an outcry on social media and prompted Mayor Robert Garcia to step in and order more public outreach meetings.
Over the past few months, those meetings, which have spanned the city in both large venue formats and more intimate settings held by individual council members, have led to a growing call from some homeowners that the city needed to abandon many of the LUE’s provisions. Bodek was a constant source of criticism at those meetings and some members of the NO group have claimed responsibility for Bodek’s departure from the city to take a job as the top planning officer for Los Angeles County. Her last day with the city will come later this month.
The city released revised land use maps in early November that showed some reductions in density allotments but the concessions have not silenced the NO crowd.
Orange “Say No” signs have sprouted up on a growing number of lawns in the city and a capacity crowd is expected to be on hand Monday to once again voice its opposition to the plans.
If the planning commission does vote to forward the documents to the city council it doesn’t mean that the land uses are etched in stone. Multiple city council members have remarked that changes are still to come once the plan advances to that arena, likely in 2018.
The planning commission special meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:00PM inside City Hall.