Another Puzzle Piece

What I’m discovering backs up my belief that this City’s LUE action is taken hand in hand with Sacramento and the recently passed Housing Bills.

One of the pieces of the puzzle I’ve found is that one of the housing bills recently passed provides financing from Cap and Trade funds to build low income housing developments in specified areas. Low and behold, some of the proposed re-zoning coincides with those same specified areas. Some of these are obvious choices but others are more brazen selections.

Assembly Bill 1550 (Gomez, Chapter 369, Statutes of 2016) increased the percent of Cap and Trade funds used for projects located in disadvantaged communities from 10 to 25 percent and added another 10 percent to benefit low income households or communities. The bill directs:

  • A minimum of 25 percent of the proceeds be invested in projects that are located within and benefiting individuals living in disadvantaged communities;
  • An additional minimum of 5 percent be invested in projects that are located within and benefiting individuals living in low-income communities or benefiting low-income households statewide; and
  • An additional minimum of 5 percent that are located within and benefiting individuals living in low-income communities, or benefiting low-income households, that are within a ½ mile of a disadvantaged community.

Look at the map on the following link. Put a Long Beach zip code in the search and then you can move the map around to see the whole city. Keep in mind, some areas are not showing up as one of the categories on the map because they’re not yet zoned for residential or mixed use. Both the areas around the traffic circle and the Towne Center (both remain on the proposed LUE to be rezoned) fall into the second and third funding category from the above list. And there are other areas of the city with similar circumstances.

Let’s ask Council Member Stacy Mungo AGAIN how safe the Towne Center is from being built into density housing developments! They want to rezone it for mixed use six story which with the Density Bonus Law can end up being nine stories. It’s within the ½ mile of a disadvantaged community and it’s within a low income area so funding is available from cap and trade money to build low income housing developments. There’s a reason why they haven’t changed that proposed zoning back to commercial. And there’s a reason why AB 2208 was passed to put it on the list of “land suitable for residential development” which results in putting it on the list of inventory to use to meet Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) goals. Done deal. They have something in mind for that property. Perhaps that empty field and maybe move the gas station out which takes up a lot of area.

And we can’t use the term high density (oh no!) because even though to us, the stakeholders, that’s how we would label it, the Planning and Development Department tells us what they are proposing “technically” is not high density but instead medium density. We don’t want to be labeled misinformed NIMBY’s, do we?!

And now I know why Christopher Koontz (AICP, Advance Planning Officer) threw a panicked look at Amy Bodek (AICP, Director) during the December 11th Planning Commission meeting when the Commissioner requested that the properties around the inner rim of the traffic circle be kept commercial zoning. At the time, I thought it was because of the reduction in available space for increased density (I’m not going to be called a misinformed NIMBY [STAMP FOOT]) housing developments, which was part of it, but now I realize it was because that’s a lot of the area where the Cap and Trade funds can be used.

More to come!

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