A rendering of the proposed 48-unit apartment complex at 525 Broadway.

The Long Beach Planning Commission unanimously upheld preliminary design plans for a proposed seven-story mixed-use apartment building Thursday night over the objections of existing residents who said the project at 525 E. Broadway would block them off from natural light and reduce air circulation.

Residents of the neighboring Atlantic Plaza condo building immediately north of the proposed project pleaded with the commission not to approve the project as proposed, citing effects on their quality of life, and alleging it would imperil residents in the event of an emergency.

“It just feels like a slap in the face, bordering on cruel for a developer to come in and box in our building,” one resident, Jennifer Celio, previously told the Long Beach Post.

However, planning officials and the city attorney’s office advised the commission that they’d have to show cause to deny a project that complies with local zoning rules.

They also clarified that part of the original approval of the project included the fire department signing off on it, confirming it didn’t create an obstruction for emergency vehicles trying to access existing or planned structures.

Planning Commission Chair Mark Christoffels thanked the residents for turning out to share their opinions on the project but said that the commission could not use sympathy as a reason for denying a project, it would instead need to show that the project was actually dangerous or non-compliant with city code.

“Obviously if it meets code, it meets code, and we’re not going to change code here this evening,” Christoffels said before the vote.

Residents appealing development they say will cut their homes off from sunlight, fresh air

Jason Ruiz covers City Hall and politics for the Long Beach Post. Reach him at [email protected] or @JasonRuiz_LB on Twitter.