Council Will Finally Take Up Land Use Element After A Year of Public Angst, Outrage

The Long Beach land use element could take a significant step forward Tuesday night as the the city council takes up the item for the first time since study sessions held last year set off fierce debate between residents and planners over how the city should look after future development.

The LUE has changed significantly since its place type and height maps first caught the public’s attention last year. Through a variety of public and private meetings with neighborhood groups and hearings before the city’s planning commission, proposed density and height allotments have been rolled back in nearly every district across the city.

https://lbpost.com/business/development/planning-commission-forwards-slimmed-down-version-of-lue-to-city-council/

In December, planning commissioners amended the plan by reducing about 98 acres of proposed density in council districts two, four, five and six. Some of the more contentious pieces of the original proposal, like using some currently commercially zoned properties in East Long Beach for mixed-use residential uses, were weeded out. Maximum heights along major corridors like 7th Street and Bellflower Boulevard were also reduced.

The current maps set to be considered by the council may undergo further changes as this will be the first time the council can actually propose alternatives to the density and height allowances in their individual districts.

If the council does decide to move forward with the maps next week it could still be some time before anything is finalized. The project’s environmental impact report would still need to be recirculated to the public and be subject to certification votes from the planning commission and the city council, both of which will include further public input.

Council Delays Opinion On Controversial Senate Zoning Bill As Changes Are Expected

Once the LUE clears those hurdles a city staff memo says it could likely take about five years for the city to adopt and implement necessary changes to zoning codes and other city regulations, which are also subject to council approval. Any individual projects from developers would still have to undergo the normal entitlement processes which would also include approval from the city’s planning commission and city council.

The city council postponed taking up the LUE item earlier this month to see what changes might be made to a California senate bill that could have huge impacts on local housing laws. SB-827 proposed exempting developers from local zoning laws including density restrictions and parking requirements if they’re located near transit hubs. In an email to constituents Fifth District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo said that the amendments to the bill would be discussed at the March 6 state legislative committee meeting.

“At that meeting, I will stand firm in my commitment to ensure that we are maintaining our local controls in how our City strategizes and decides planning and zoning in our district, and I find it appropriate that we are able to hear this on the same day that we as a Council and community get to decide the fate of our own local Land Use,” Mungo said in the email.

The council’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 5:00PM inside City Hall, located at 333 West Ocean Boulevard.

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Jason Ruiz has been covering City Hall for the Post for nearly a decade. A Long Beach resident, Ruiz graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in journalism. He and his wife Kristina and, most importantly, their dog Mango, live in Long Beach. He is a particularly avid fan of the Dallas Cowboys and the UCLA Bruins, which is why he sometimes comes to work after the weekend in a grumpy mood.
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