The former site of an historic church will soon become home to a new single-family residential project. Photo: Google screenshot
East Long Beach could soon be the home to a new single-family housing project after the Long Beach City Council voted to deny an appeal and move forward with a 40-unit project on the city’s boundary with Hawaiian Gardens.
The Dorado project, which was unanimously advanced for a final reading at its next meeting, will be carried out by a Newport Beach-based firm, Preface. Set in the former footprint of the Park Church, the 40-unit development will offer single-family homes ranging between 2,400-2,700 feet and much needed housing in a city that is more accustomed to building up instead of out due to lack of space.
To do so, the council had to approve a series of motions including amending land use and zoning rules that had previously applied to the site’s use as a church but will now serve as residential. It also had to deny an appeal by a residents group attempting to block the project due to what it called an unsatisfactory environmental impact report (EIR).
The appeal was filed by Warren Blesofsky on behalf of Long Beach Citizens for Fair Development on the grounds that the EIR, among other things did not address adequate alternatives to the project, underestimated traffic impacts that would come along with the project and failed to take into account the historical significance of the church itself.
“The EIR only analyzed alternatives that meet almost none of the project’s objectives,” Blesofsky said. “The project objectives are to have desirable housing be created, the EIR should be required to consider a reduced development alternative to meet some of the project objectives.”
He added that the EIR should have included plans that incorporated the chapel into the layout of the community or even sought out alternative locations so to leave the church intact. Blesofsky and the group have challenged housing projects in the city before, most recently filing a challenge to the Shoreline Gateway project in downtown that sought to construct the tallest building in the city as well as a similar effort in May 2016 regarding the sale of the Jergins Trust plot.
The five-acre lot near the intersection of Norwalk Boulevard and 226th Street became an item of contention for neighbors after the church was sold over two years ago and sat vacant, inviting homeless and others to utilize the facility in recent years.
“The residents have reached out to me and said ‘Approve it, and approve it quickly. We don’t want a vacant lot, we want to take down the tarps and build and see and get past the dust and dirt that will come with construction’” said Fifth District Councilwoman Stacy Mungo who represents the side of town that the project will call home.
She added that in addition to keeping a consistent property value like those in the surrounding communities—the homes are expected to sell starting at the high $700,000s or more— they could provide an avenue for older residents to remain in that part of the city even if their current homes are no longer adaptable to their current needs.
Mungo said that residents in neighboring communities who might be aging out of their homes, which were built in the 1960s and lacked bedrooms on the first floor, could be provided an option with the The Dorado project, as it will come with an option for a first-floor den that could be used as a master bedroom.
“So, should you have ailments that keep you from moving up and down the stairs as you get older in life, these properties are made in a way that they can be changed later in life, or start in a position where you have a bathroom and a bedroom on the ground-floor,” Mungo said.
The gated community, and any children that might eventually live there, would currently be subject to a school district outside of the city, but Mungo said that in previous discussions Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) Superintendent Chris Steinhauser had expressed a possibility that it could be absorbed by the LBUSD.