Last night City Council approved the sale of a former Redevelopment Agency lot at Pacific and 3rd to a developer named Ensemble. This case shows that even when they had another developer offering to put enough parking in the project, they chose the one with inadequate parking. The proposed development is a high rise with LESS parking than the lowered parking standards in the Downtown Plan. Their proposed retail occupants are restaurants with no parking. The City approved the sale knowing this. Even harder to understand was the fact that Ensemble offered less money for that land than another developer. The City wanted the higher building.
The bottom line here is residential density is important to them for the tax revenue. They completely ignore the harm that a lack of parking will do to Long Beach when we cannot compete with nearby cities that are planning for parking. Oh, and they always say that there is adequate parking in the area. Don't buy it. They point to parking lots that are only available at night or will soon be developed.
TAPS didn't know about the meeting until the day before but we sent a letter. Our attorney Jamie Hall also sent a letter outlining how the low parking in this project fails to consider affects to the area's parking, traffic, air and water pollution. If approved by the City, we will have an opportunity to object to the site plans later but the property would have already been sold to this developer.
The City had a proposal and a higher bid from another developer for this property, First HIll, that we thought was better for the area because:
- The residences for this proposal have one parking space per bedroom, not one space per unit.
- This developer proposed a lower rise building because their research said the area won't support another high rise.
- The First Hill project would be built by a Long Beach firm.
- Proposed retail occupants included Trader Joes, whole foods, Aldi, Sprouts, Target Express, or Petco. The retail has a much higher parking rate than required, allowing for more business.
Here's an article.
We may soon coordinate a public letter-writing campaign to get the City to consider a Parking Plan. We are waiting to organize efforts with the new City Councilperson. In the mean time, please continue to sign and pass the petition!