Is This the True Intent of the New LUE?

Fifteen new housing bills have been passed by Sacramento this year and signed by Governor Brown as have been various other housing bills within the last couple of years and more housing bills are pending for approval in the next legislative session. The housing bills passed this year go into effect on January 1, 2018. If the proposed LUE is approved, it will create residentially zoned areas throughout the city where developers can build increased density buildings and under certain conditions, with no parking. SB 35 allows for streamlined permits and once permits are issued, the developments can’t be stopped. The combination of these new bills along with a new LUE will drastically change the future livability of Long Beach.

Per state law, to move low to moderate income level residents in order to convert or demolish housing located in the coastal zone, alternative housing must be provided. Per state law, the location of this alternative housing must be in the coastal zone or three miles from the coastal zone, basically from the coast to four miles inland. One of the most noticeable aspects of the proposed LUE is the major increased density located in the vicinity of the traffic circle. The traffic circle is comfortably within that four mile distance.

Therefore, I am concerned that one of the underlying intents is to move low and moderate income people from the more valuable land located close to downtown, and close to the coast, to the traffic circle area and into “stack and packs.” Long Beach is currently one of the last cities where affordable housing is located close to the coast. There’s also an ongoing study to explore the possibility of removing the Port breakwater. The downtown and coastal land would become even more valuable if the Port breakwater is removed which will bring back waves and high quality surfing to the area.

Anecdotally, in what could be an indication of these plans, I have a family friend who lives at 8th and Atlantic and whose family has lived there for at least the last fifteen years since we’ve know them. She tells me that some of the apartment buildings in that area have been sold and there are major increases to the rents resulting in many residents moving out. Her rent has increased considerably but is now grandfathered in until all the vacancies in the building are filled. Numerous vacancies have remained due to the high rent amount requested for new tenants so they believe they can remain there for the foreseeable future.

At the August Planning Commission meeting, Amy Bodek, AICP, Director, Long Beach Development Services announced that the LUE would go to the City Council in October regardless of whether the Commission voted to recommend it or not. That seemed to indicate there was some unnamed deadline. I discovered that the deadline to submit an application to The Transformative Climate Community Program (TCC) was November 30. 2017 and I wonder if that was the reason for the rush to get the LUE approved.

TCC is funded by proceeds from the Cap and Trade auctions and was created in Sacramento by AB 2722 from the 2015 – 2016 legislative session. Its mission is to create a zone to transform communities within the most disadvantaged parts of the state as identified by the Cal Environ Screen. Environmental justice belief is that lower economic level families have less ability to cope with the effects of pollution and therefore must be classified at a higher risk level than middle and higher income families. The Cal Environ Screen uses data which includes multiple pollution sources which occur in one area, economic levels, and other data to map out and determine which areas are most at risk. https://oehha.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=4560cfbce7c745c299b2d0cbb07044f5

Long Beach has been identified as one of the cities with an area which will meet the requirements for funding from TCC (Page B-1).

http://sgc.ca.gov/resource%20files/10242017-TCC_FINAL_GUIDELINES_10_23_17.pdf

TCC grants are intended to fund planning activities that implement local land use plans adopted within the past five years. TCC funds will be used to support the construction of affordable housing near transit and for low-income households presumably at a greater distance from the pollution produced by the Port, the 710 Freeway, and closely located oil refineries (multiple pollution sources) because of the belief that lower income families have less resources to deal with the pollution.  As outlined in the July 2017 Draft Scoping Guidelines, applicants must define a contiguous project area that is no larger than five- square miles and is within the boundary of a single city and the areas must have a high risk of adverse effects from pollutants. Since inception, there has been a percentage of cap and trade money designated to be spent in disadvantaged communities. That has been changed by AB 1550, passed this year, to some of those funds may be used for disadvantaged communities.

On September 8, 2016, Mayor Garcia wrote a letter addressed to Governor Brown in support of AB 2722 (Burke) and TCC. In the letter, Mayor Garcia wrote: “Long Beach looks forward to partnering with the State and our local community on initiatives and benefits afforded through AB 2722.”

http://www.longbeach.gov/globalassets/city-manager/media-library/documents/government-affairs/position-letters—state/2015—2016/support-for-ab_2722-9.7.16_2.0/

There are also many funding sources available to build affordable housing in addition to TCC.

Another concerning factor in regard to the proposed LUE is that we’ve been told not to worry if the Towne Center is re-zoned for multi-use and increased density because it’s owned by the City. I always believe bills are passed for a reason and AB 2208, which was passed in 2016, states the airspace above sites owned or leased by a city or county is added to the Housing Element “land suitable for residential development.” Putting it into that category means that it will be evaluated to be placed on the list of available inventory to meet Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) goals. Airspace above refers to the possibility of additional stories being built above the existing stores. Lacking an inventory of city owned land I can’t determine if there are other areas with similar circumstances.

AB 1397 specifies RHNA goals are selected from the category of “land suitable for residential development.” And according to the technique described in Long Beach’s Housing Element, the Towne Center could be placed towards the top of the inventory list. On Page 86 from this report:

“Identifying Sites Suitable for Housing

In identifying the sites available for accommodating the 2014-2021 RHNA, the City began by reviewing and updating the sites inventory compiled for the previous Housing Element (2008-2014). Due to the depressed housing market and associated economic recession, development activities in the City have slowed in recent years. Many of the sites identified in 2008 are still available for development.

The original sites inventory was compiled using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis, staff knowledge, and field survey. Using the GIS, existing zoning (units/acre) and parcel area were used to calculate the potential maximum housing units allowed per parcel for the entire 50 square mile City. Then the improvement-to-land value ratio for each parcel was calculated by dividing the value of improvements (buildings) by the value of the land (from Los Angeles County Assessor data). For example, a parcel with improvements worth $500,000 and land worth $1 million would have an improvement ratio of 0.5. The lower the improvement ratio, the higher the potential for recycling the parcel into a new development. Then, the list of parcels was sorted by maximum housing units permitted. Only parcels with an improvement ratio of less than 0.6 were included. Parcels with improvement ratios higher than 0.6 were considered less likely to recycle than those with lower improvement ratios. This is a fairly conservative assumption as economic studies typically use a ratio of 1.0 as threshold for recycling feasibility. This analysis identified 120 parcels that could accommodate 12 units or more on each individual parcel (the size of a small garden apartment building). This list was reexamined to verify that the GIS analysis was identifying valid parcels. (A density of at least 30 units/acre is needed to accommodate lower income housing targets.) Staff knowledge of existing uses, aerial photos, and field checks were used to screen properties with near-term development potential.

Staff reviewed the 2008 sites inventory, updated status of specific sites, and re-evaluated potential development based on current trends. To accommodate the 2014-2021 RHNA, additional sites are included in the inventory. Ultimately 31 sites are included in the sites inventory (many with multiple contiguous parcels) as having the potential to accommodate the City’s RHNA (Table 39 Error! Reference source not found.). A detailed list of the properties identified is included in Appendix B.

The City primarily focuses in areas where densities can exceed 30 units per acre. Each site is comprised of multiple contiguous parcels with lot consolidation potential. Among the 31 sites identified (see Table 39), seven are vacant, with the remaining 24 sites being developed with existing but underutilized or marginally viable businesses. The majority of the underutilized sites are currently used as surface parking lots, vacated buildings; others are occupied by small independent businesses. These uses do not represent the highest and best uses for the sites and are not consistent with the City’s vision for these areas. Specifically, Sites 2, 3, 6,13, 19, and 22 are interim surface parking lots under City ownership. Several are vacant lots owned by the City (Sites 12 and 24), and several are vacant lots owned by the LBCIC (Sites 27, 28, and 31). In addition, one vacant lot is owned by Habitat for Humanity.”

http://www.lbds.info/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=4185

Per SB 35, It has not yet been determined by the Department of Housing and Community Development what information will need to be included on the year end housing report. This report must be completed by April 1st and a public meeting must be held to discuss the contents.  I suspect that many of these newly classified residential and mixed use properties could make their way onto the list of “land suitable for residential development” and consequently as land designated to meet RHNA goals. This could be due to the unknown, at this time, requirements of the year end housing report and based upon the wording in SB 35 which says to include in the report “local efforts to remove governmental constraints to the maintenance, improvement, and development of housing pursuant to paragraph (3) of subdivision (c) of Section 65583.” Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) will not release their methodology for how RHNA goals are determined. There are also nebulous new government codes which refer to housing goals and not specifically RHNA housing goals.

A concern is that if these newly re-zoned properties are included on the RHNA list, housing advocates will make demands that developments be built in some of these locations based on “environmental equity” principles which have been included in many areas of state housing laws and another term used in CA government code – “socio-economic equity.” I have asked for a definition of “socio-economic equity” from my state and local legislators. I received a reply from two of them stating they can’t provide a definition and no reply from the third. In addition, one of the housing bills (SB 167) passed this year allows for very generous legal compensation if certain conditions are not followed. There’s no way for me to understand the extent of the possible implications.

City employees and City Councilmembers have stated inaccuracies about many items, particularly about SB 35. At this point in time, a reasonable person may doubt any information they provide. They have not been upfront with the citizens about 15 housing bills passed by Sacramento this year, and previously passed bills, which will be effective and have a major impact on the implementation of the proposed LUE if enacted. In addition, large numbers of stakeholders have no knowledge about any of this. It’s been suggested multiple times that a notice be enclosed in city utility bills to which one response by the city was: “not everyone gets a utility bill” as if notifying most is somehow inferior to not notifying everyone.

With a few tweaks, the Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend approval of the LUE on December 11, 2018 in opposition to the vast majority of 80 public speakers. Approving the proposed LUE will most likely be on the Long Beach City Council’s Agenda sometime in January 2018. In my opinion, I believe there is no chance for it not to be passed. Once it is passed, it will not be possible to go back due to Sacramento housing bills which greatly restrict local control.  Once a permit is approved, streamlined or otherwise, the development can’t be stopped.

The unintended consequences may be vast and are unknown to us, the stakeholders.

I’m asking for an attorney to get involved to help us stop this insanity. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

Janet West

My Reply to Assistant City Attorney’s Memo on SB 35

The memo has some accurate and insightful parts but although I’m not an attorney, I’ve looked back at the applicable parts of the bill and I don’t see how he came up with some of his information. Granted, it’s a very complicated bill, probably purposely designed so. To point out one mistake that’s pretty obvious, he says nine units is the cut off. The bill says ten units. Copied and pasted directly from SB 35:

SB 35: “(i) The project includes 10 or fewer units.”

 

He says earthquake zones are not included but he left out some pretty important details. A lot of Southern California is in an earthquake zone, as is a lot of Long Beach. That section of the bill copied and pasted here says:

From SB 35: “(F) Within a delineated earthquake fault zone as determined by the State Geologist in any official maps published by the State Geologist, unless the development complies with applicable seismic protection building code standards adopted by the California Building Standards Commission under the California Building Standards Law (Part 2.5 (commencing with Section 18901) of Division 13 of the Health and Safety Code), and by any local building department under Chapter 12.2 (commencing with Section 8875) of Division 1 of Title 2.”

Same thing with flood plains:

From SB 35: “(G) Within a flood plain as determined by maps promulgated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, unless the development has been issued a flood plain development permit pursuant to Part 59 (commencing with Section 59.1) and Part 60 (commencing with Section 60.1) of Subchapter B of Chapter I of Title 44 of the Code of Federal Regulations.”

I haven’t included wetlands in my flyers because they’re not zoned residential or mixed use.

He mentioned zoning regulations several times incorrectly instead of stating that the General Plan (which the proposed Land Use Element Plan is part of) is determinant – not zoning.

I don’t agree with his analysis of the prevailing wages section. That is a very complicated part of the bill but I just don’t see how the bill can be interpreted the way stated in his memo.

At least he got the parking right. 🙂

***********************************************************************

City of Long Beach Working Together to Serve

Office of the City Attorney

November 27, 2017

Honorable Mayor and City Councilmembers

Michael J. Mais, Assistant City Attorney

Senate Bill 35 (Streamlined Approval Process for Certain Types of Housing Developments)

We have recently received inquiries regarding newly enacted Senate Bill 35 and its relationship to the City’s General Plan and Land Use Element (LUE). Below is a summary of the Bill’s major provisions and we will be available to respond to specific questions regarding the potential impact of SB 35 on the LUE at the time the issue is brought before the Council in mid-December. In the meantime, if any member of the Council has a specific question regarding SB 35 or would like further briefing, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Senate Bill 35 (SB 35) is one of several housing related bills passed by the Legislature and signed by Governor Brown on September 29, 2017. SB 35 creates a streamlined approval process for certain multi-family type developments in cities and counties that have failed to approve enough housing projects to meet their state required Regional Housing Needs Allocation (“RHNA”). The new law is specifically applicable to charter cities such as Long Beach. Qualifying projects meeting the strict requirements of SB 35 could be approved on a “ministerial”, rather than “discretionary” basis, and therefore would not be subject to full environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The purpose of SB 35 is to facilitate and expedite the approval and construction of affordable housing units throughout the state.
SB 35 requires Long Beach and other jurisdictions to enhance their annual reporting requirements to the State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) so HCD can determine whether a particular jurisdiction is on track to meet its RHNA allocation. For example, cities will be required to file an annual report with HCD that specifies the number of housing units, broken down by income category, that have been issued full entitlements for construction during the previous reporting period. If HCD determines that a jurisdiction is deficient in approving enough new housing units by income type (or if a jurisdiction fails to file the required annual reports with HCD), then the “streamlined” approval process could be available to a developer if a proposed development meets all of the other ridged requirements of SB 35. SB 35 also requires HCD to create new annual reporting forms for use by cities and counties and requires
HCD to develop new guidelines to implement the various provisions of SB 35. It is anticipated that the new guidelines may not be available from HCD until sometime during the end of calendar year 2018.
To qualify for a streamlined approval process, a project must involve a development that contains at least two residential units located on a legal parcel or parcels. The parcel must be in an area already zoned for residential or mixed residential use development under the City’s existing zoning code and general plan land use designations. If the project is a mixed-use project, at least two-thirds of the square footage must be designated for residential use and the project must otherwise fully comply with the applicable zoning and design review standards for the area of the proposed development. A project would not qualify for streamlining if the Developer is seeking a variance from any of the applicable zoning regulations for the area. The developer must commit to dedicating a specified number of units for affordable housing and commit to paying prevailing wages (or subject the project to a bona fide collective bargaining agreement) to those engaged in the construction of the project, if the project involves the construction of more than nine (9) residential units.
SB 35 will not apply to all proposed projects. For example, the streamlined approval process would not apply to projects located in the City’s coastal zone, wetland or other sensitive habitat areas, hazardous waste sites, land located within an earthquake fault zone or in a designated flood plain area. The streamlined process would also not apply if the project involved the demolition of existing low income housing or designated historic structures, or if the project would replace existing housing that is already deed restricted for affordable housing purposes.
Under SB 35, the City would be required to inform an applicant in writing whether a proposed project qualifies for the ministerial approval process within a maximum of ninety (90) days (depending on the size of a project) after submittal of a development application. If the City informs an applicant that they have submitted a qualifying application, the City would then be obligated to complete design review (including any Planning Commission or other public review) of the project within ninety (90) or one hundred and eighty (180) days, depending on the size of the project. The design review process is required to be based on objective criteria and cannot be conducted in a manner that would inhibit, chill or preclude ministerial approval of the proposed project.
If a project is approved using the streamlined approval process, SB 35 limits the City’s ability to impose certain parking requirements or standards. The City would not have the ability to impose any parking standard if the development was located within one half mile of public transit, was located within an architecturally and historically significant historic district, when on-street parking permits are required but not offered to the occupants of the proposed development, or when there is a car share vehicle located within one block of the proposed development. If a development did not fall within one of the above described categories the City could impose a parking standard that did not
exceed one parking space per unit. Of course, a developer always has the choice to provide parking even though the law does not require it.
The new laws established by SB 35 will remain effective, unless extended by the Legislature, until 2026.

MJM:kjm A17-03036 Wclbcha1\at$\apps\ctylaw32\wpdocs\d0l 8\p031\00812721 .docx
cc: Patrick J. West, City Manager Tom Modica, Assistant City Attorney Diana Tang, Manager of Government Affairs Amy Bodek, Director of Development Services

Bullet Points for SB 35

SB 35 and fourteen additional Housing Bills have been passed by the California Legislature, signed by Gov. Brown, and will be effective on January 1, 2018. It’s unconscionable that the Long Beach City Council is considering passing a new Land Use Element Plan at the same time.

 The Sacramento Bills have unlocked and opened the doors to the candy store. All of the children are inside selecting candy. If the Land Use Element Plan is passed, the candy shelves will be emptied and the stockroom cleaned out. The candy store will become a ghost of what it formerly was.

The three worst aspects of SB 35 are:

  • It eliminates a locality’s (the City of Long Beach’s) ability to examine and conduct public hearings before a proposed development’s permit is issued. SB 35 specifies that if developments meet objective general plan standards, i.e. the Land Use Plan, and objective design standards, the streamlined permit must be approved. Once a permit is issued, it can’t be stopped
  • If developers meet these streamlined permit standards and the development is located within one half mile of public transit, which 99% of Long Beach is, then there are no parking requirements.
  • No development level EIR which would examine the effects of that development on the surrounding community (traffic, parking, noise, lack of police, fire, schools) will be allowed. No one will be allowed to sue in order to mitigate these concerns.

In addition:

  • If the development is on residentially zoned or mixed use land (per the General Plan and not zoning regulations) and is between two and ten units, there are no additional requirements other than that no rental properties be demolished.
  • The Density Bonus Law and Accessory Dwelling Unit Law can be added on top of the allowable density in SB 35. Density Bonus is figured by percentage and is always rounded up so even a very small density bonus can have a major impact.
  • The bill inserts the Subdivision Map Act which regulates both subdivisions and lot consolidations which then may be used by the developers.
  • The coastal zone is excluded.
  • Affordable Housing in SB 35 is defined as households making below 80 percent of the area’s median income.
  • The development must be compliant with the maximum density allowed within that land use designation.
  • If the development is a public work, it doesn’t need to hire union workers. The legal definition of a public work is: construction, alteration, demolition, installation, or repair work done under contract and paid for in whole or in part out of public funds.
  • There are a lot of public funds available to help finance these developments – federal tax credits, state money, and city money. Read the memo regarding “The Mayor’s Affordable and Workforce Housing Study Group.” http://www.longbeach.gov/citymanager/memos-to-the-mayor-and-council/
  • Some of these streamlined permits will no longer have an expiration date and others will qualify to have the expiration date extended.

 

 

Is the Proposed Land Use Element Plan a Decoy

Are the necessary measures to unleash the destructive intent of SB 35, and that of accompanying bills, already in place in the Housing Element Plan?

Senate Bill 35 states in Section 3 (a) (5) (B): In the event that objective zoning, general plan, or design review standards are mutually inconsistent, a development shall be deemed consistent with the objective zoning standards pursuant to this subdivision if the development is consistent with the standards set forth in the general plan.

https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB35

That makes the General Plan determinant.

The Housing Element, and the Land Use Element, are both parts of the General Plan.

As a Charter City, Long Beach does not need to have the General Plan and zoning regulations agree.

The already in place Long Beach Housing Element states: “In keeping with the principles and policies established in the City’s 2010 Strategic Plan and Land Use Element of the General Plan, new high-density residential and mixed use development is to be focused in key locations, allowing for the preservation of existing and stable neighborhoods. Appropriate and feasible housing densities are allowed, with appropriate development standards and design guidelines, along transit corridors, in the downtown and greater downtown areas, and in close proximity to major employment and activity centers.” Page 123
http://www.lbds.info/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=4185

To see the transit corridors designated through the entirety of Long Beach, look at the PlaceType and Height Maps in the Land Use Element Plan.

There were many inaccurate statements made regarding SB 35 at the last Whaley Park outreach meeting on October 4, 2017.

Stated at the meeting: “It applies only to affordable housing projects.” The bill does not say that. The bill says “a site that is zoned for …  or has a general plan designation that allows residential use or a mix of residential and nonresidential uses…” The bill also states: (1) The development is a multifamily housing development that contains two or more residential units.”

“Affordable housing” is defined in the bill as housing affordable to families making under 80% of the area’s median income. Most apartment buildings are directed at that market.

At that outreach meeting, it was stated that these developments “cannot be located in any area where there is currently housing” and that these “[following] requirements are going to significantly limit the types of property subject to this legislation.” Not true.  Only locations which are currently “affordable housing”  and/or rental unit sites are restricted from the streamlined permit process.

From the meeting, the contention that the developments would be limited due to the cost of requiring union wages, otherwise known as prevailing wages, is not accurate. First, one of the reasons the bill does not require any parking is because that significantly lowers the cost of construction potentially offsetting the increased cost of union wages, if applicable. Second, there are multiple government sources of funding for these projects which include federal tax subsidies, state grants, and local incentives which make these developments highly profitable.  Third, SB 35 clearly states a “public work” is not required to be built by union workers and “affordable housing” is a public work and as noted above, many apartment buildings are built to that market. In addition, if the development includes a percentage of public works, construction of the “affordable housing” units aka “public works” does not need to be done by union workers.

SB 35 states:  Section 3 (a) (8) (A) Certified to the locality that either of the following is true, as applicable:(i) The entirety of the development is a public work for purposes of Chapter 1 (commencing with Section 1720) of Part 7 of Division 2 of the Labor Code. (ii) If the development is not in its entirety a public work, that all construction workers employed in the execution of the development will be paid at least the general prevailing rate [meaning union workers]… If the development is subject to this subparagraph, then for those portions of the development that are not a public work all of the following shall apply: …

With SB 35, either one of two conditions apply: 1) it’s a public works, or 2) prevailing wages are paid for the portion of construction which is NOT public works. That’s a big change from existing law.

Another inaccuracy from the previous outreach meeting to address is the misconception that cities will be able to contest construction of these developments. From SB 35 Section 3 (b) (1) If a local government determines that a development submitted pursuant to this section is in conflict with any of the objective planning standards specified in subdivision (a), it shall provide the development proponent written documentation of which standard or standards the development conflicts with, and an explanation for the reason or reasons the development conflicts with that standard or standards, as follows: …

A city may only object to a development because of the objective criteria in the bill and not subjective criteria such as traffic or parking conditions. There are rigid guidelines over what can be contested, in what time frame, how to contest, and there are penalties if the city contests something which is not an objective standard listed in the bill.

Once a permit is issued it becomes an “entitlement” so it can’t be revoked.

“Under the doctrine of vested rights, if a property owner has received a permit from a public agency to do something, such as a building permit or use permit, and then incurs substantial costs in reliance of that permit, then the property owner has the right to rely on that permit regardless of changes in the public agency’s land use regulations.”
https://www.cacities.org/Resources-Documents/Member-Engagement/Professional-Departments/City-Attorneys/Library/2015/Land-Use-101-Webinar-Paper.aspx

SB 35 also increases the time frame before construction needs to be started once a permit is issued.

And the Density Bonus Law can make a development zoned for five stories become a seven story building. There’s a sliding scale for percentage increase depending on how much of the building contains “affordable housing” and the bonus is always rounded up to the next higher number.

Please share your thoughts and comments.

Janet West

Jayjay76511@gmail.com

Summary of Proposed L.B. Land Use Plan in Combination with SB 35

 

The City of Long Beach is currently considering a new Land Use Plan. This plan will re-zone many areas throughout our city.

This plan will:

  1. Allow mixed use and residential high- density buildings with sub-standard parking requirements. The building heights can be adjusted upwards above the maximum zoning height regulations by implementing the current State Density Bonus which allows a 35% increase.
  2. Allow zoning at neighborhood edges, transitions, and key intersections to be increased by 2.5 times from 7 units per acre to 18 housing units per acre.

The new Land Use Plan, and Senate Bill 35, will each change our city irreparably. Combined, they are high density and mayhem on steroids.

SB 35 takes away local control over permitting for new buildings and over parking requirements. This Bill eliminates Conditional Use Permits and Public Hearings.

Senate Bill 35:

  • Allows ZERO parking requirements if a development is located within one half mile of a bus stop (which is 98% of Long Beach)
  • Dictates permits be issued by a STREAMLINED process if the municipality has not met Regional Housing Needs Assessment goals. These are unrealistic numbers set by the unelected Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG). By design, these goals cannot be met and most cities, if not all, have not met them. Long Beach has not met these goals and will be subject to this STREAMLINED process.
  • Once a permit is issued, it cannot be revoked as Huntington Beach found out when the citizens elected new council members and tried to reign in the overbuilding along the Beach Street corridor
  • Once a permit is issued, it basically doesn’t expire
  • Allows developers to use the municipalities General Plan as a basis to obtain permits for high density multi-family buildings even if the zoning will not allow it

SB 35 was updated on August 29, 2017 to add: “(B) In the event that objective zoning, general plan, or design review standards are mutually inconsistent, a development shall be deemed consistent with the objective zoning standards pursuant to this subdivision if the development is consistent with the standards set forth in the general plan.”  https://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billTextClient.xhtml?bill_id=201720180SB35

Following are quotes from the Long Beach proposed Land Use Plan (part of the General Plan) which will be used by developers to obtain streamlined permits from Sacramento for high density buildings which will destroy our neighborhoods.

http://www.lbds.info/civica/filebank/blobdload.asp?BlobID=5484

“LU   Policy   11-4:   Allow new high-density residential growth to occur within Multi-Family neighborhoods in a manner that is context-sensitive and compatible to surrounding uses and buildings and provides a range of housing types and options that meets the needs of Long Beach residents.” Page 118

NOTE:  It says Multi-Family neighborhoods. ALL neighborhoods are Multi-Family. It says allow high-density WITHIN. Context-sensitive and compatible have no concrete meanings. It says a range of housing types and options which will include high density.

“The Transit-Oriented Development PlaceType allows for an increase in residential density and commercial intensity around each Blue Line station. This PlaceType may be expanded to serve future transit systems.” page 114

NOTE:  SCAG has designated other areas of the city as future transit corridors such as Bellflower Blvd. These are FUTURE transit systems and developers will use this SCAG designation to justify increased height and density along those corridors.

“Long Beach is fundamentally a city of neighborhoods. This Land Use Plan provides the framework for protecting and enhancing low-density residential neighborhoods. These neighborhoods will be diverse, safe, healthy and sustainable places, with a mix of residential building types and connected streets that facilitate walking, biking and transit. From our historic and founding neighborhoods to more contemporary ones, Long Beach endeavors to preserve and enhance our neighborhoods for generations to come.” page 116

NOTE: This paragraph starts out appearing to be about low-density residential neighborhoods but it’s misleading. It says protecting (the next sentence says safe so that would seem to be the context of protecting) and enhancing but it doesn’t say keeping or preserving our low-density residential neighborhoods. The word diverse could imply there should be residents of all income levels. It says with a “mix of residential housing type.” The last sentence says preserving but it doesn’t say preserving our low-density neighborhoods.

“Proposed improvements include: establishing commercial and retail uses on the periphery of neighborhoods or in commercial hubs to better serve residents; integrating public facilities and open spaces into neighborhoods; providing convenient transit connections and walkable environments; and incorporating a variety of design enhancements and sustainable practices.” Page 116

NOTE: What are these public facilities they want to integrate into neighborhoods? What sustainable practices? That opens up the door to a lot of unwelcome development.

“Policies provide for an equitable distribution of housing types for all income groups throughout the City, thus avoiding concentrations of below-market-rate housing in underserved and low-income neighborhoods.” Page 117

NOTE:  Sacramento wants low income housing throughout middle and upper class neighborhoods, presumably just not in the politicians neighborhoods.

“LU Policy  12-1: Promote an equitable distribution of housing types for all income and various cultural groups throughout the City; avoid creating concentrations of below-market-rate housing in underserved and low-income neighborhoods.” Page 118

NOTE:  Same as above.

The above quotes are from only five pages. There are items peppered throughout this 185-page proposed plan that the developers will be able to use to justify building high density. There is no way to surgically remove all of them.

We must destroy, not alter, this update to the Long Beach Land Use Plan before the council members who are up for re-election and Mayor Garcia’s re-elections in April of 2018. If it’s still a viable plan after the election, we won’t be able to hold them accountable and we lose.

We need to destroy SB 35. Are there any other Assembly Members who can be convinced to oppose it in addition to O’Donnell? There’s not much time left. The legislative session ends on 9/15 so the vote will take place before then.

ACTIONS:

Attend all the City Council meetings and stay until the end if you can. Bring a book, your knitting, or crossword puzzles and show them that you’re going to outlast their boring, outlandishly long meetings. Speak during public comments. Hold up signs and pass out flyers.

Pack the City Council meeting on 9/17/17 to oppose SEASP.

Contact your city council member and the mayor and ask them to pass a city resolution to oppose SB 35.

Let’s get a flyer delivered to as many houses as we can. We need to keep a master list of where they’ve been delivered.

Support each other. If all the neighborhoods stick together, we’ll have a lot more impact.

Get as many people out to the community meetings and the city council meetings as possible to voice their opposition.

Write Letters to the Editor to all our local newspapers. They have not reported truthfully on the full impact of this proposed Land Use Plan in combination with SB 35.

Make signs and hand out flyers whenever a city official has a public meeting.

TWO ACTIONS

1) Tuesday night at the L.B. City Council meeting, I asked the city to pass a resolution which opposes SB 35. Please contact your city council member to make this request. Daryl Supernaw’s contact information is district4@longbeach.gov (562)570-4444. Stacy Mungo’s contact information is district5@longbeach.gov (562)570-5555.

Contact information for the other council member is at:
http://www.longbeach.gov/officials/

2) I would like to organize a group to hold signs and hand out flyers at the Concert sponsored by Representative Patrick O’Donnell on Friday. We need to hold him accountable and ask him to vote NO on Senate Bill 35 which will take away all local control over what developments are built and the ability to include parking requirements. The final vote on SB 35, which is the Assembly vote, will take place before Sept. 15th when the legislative session ends. I’ll make some signs which say “Vote No on SB 35” “STOP High Density in Our Neighborhoods” “Ask O’Donnell to Vote NO on SB 35” “Protect Our Neighborhoods from High Density” “NO High Density With Zero Parking”. Can anyone help hold signs and hand out flyers which I’ll provide? My cell phone # is (562)290-9364

Friday September 8th
At the Concert in the Park
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Marine Stadium Park
5255 East Paoli Way
Community Coffee
Saturday September 9th
10:30 am to 11:30 am
110 North Marina Drive

Community Meetings – Attend and voice your opposition to high density with no parking requirements

It’s vitally important that we attend these meetings and voice our opposition to the proposed new Land Use Maps.  SAVE OUR NEIGHBORHOODS!

Citywide workshops:
In addition, residents can obtain more information about the plan, or comment and give feedback http://longbeach.gov/common/templates/city-news.aspx?id=71777
Here are two planned events from Long Beach State Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell:
Friday September 8th
At the Concert in the Park
6:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Marine Stadium Park
5255 East Paoli Way
Community Coffee
Saturday September 9th
10:30 am to 11:30 am
110 North Marina Drive