Appeal hearing for 320 Alamitos: your best chance yet to help get City Council to change parking.

Update Nov 14, 9:20 a.m. This item is still on the agenda for tonight. According to the city's Project Planner, Mark Hungerford, there has been no further postponement.

Take advantage of recent protests! Because many groups are beginning to speak up about City policies on density and parking, we may just have a chance to get the City to stop approving new buildings without enough parking.

City Council has the power to change the City's direction. On October 24th, many people showed up to speak to City Council in protest of the approval of 320 Alamitos due to the lack of parking. Thank you!! After people were already at the hearing, they were told that it had been postponed to November 14th. If people don't make the effort again to speak up, the City Council won't hear from them which is good for those pushing to choke off our parking. We strongly recommend that you attend the hearing Tuesday November 14th, 5 pm at City Hall. If you cannot attend, then write to all city council members again. Public pressure does appear to be helping. We included a partial copy of our last email blast below. It describes more what, why, and how to speak up. You can check here for any postponement news before you attend.

Here is what has happened since that October 24 hearing.

The Planning Commission approved another project (135 Linden) on November 2nd that will take away a parking lot and won't have enough parking for its new residents. They will replace 17 out of the 75 parking spaces in the existing lot out of obligation to the Broadlind Hotel. Again, the lack of parking is due to the Downtown parking requirements.

During that hearing, a commissioner asked about, "the process that led to the ratios that we are currently requiring in the Downtown area?"

Staff responded that , "It was based on data provided by the city's own, the consultant that worked with the city on the parking study at the time the EIR was completed."

There was no professional evaluation to determine how much parking was needed to prevent the projects from adding cars to our neighborhood parking. There was a study done back then but it evaluated visitor parking, not residential parking. It did not have data or professional evaluation to support the lowered parking requirements, according to Planning staff back in 2013.

Jeannine Pearce held a community outreach meeting last Wednesday. Jeannine said she requested the postponement of the 320 Alamitos appeal in order to do more community outreach. Notice of this community outreach meeting was sent to people close to the project and some saw it on her facebook page. There was a last minute post from a neighbor on Nextdoor.com.

Jeannine said that she is holding meetings with staff and District 1 about this project.

She said that the City attorney tells them they cannot deny this project and must work within parameters (she didn't elaborate).

She described things she is doing to alleviate parking and things that the parking study firm is investigating.

When we asked her to get the parking analysis behind the one space per unit requirement, she said she would. Given the amount of time it took us to go through what Planning gave us the last time, we feel it's unlikely this will be done by Tuesday's hearing.

While we applaud her efforts, the city continues to add cars without parking to our neighborhoods faster than anyone could find parking for them.

City Staff appears to be telling Jeannine the same that they've been telling the Planning Commission - that they have no choice but to approve. There are things they can do but with staff telling them otherwise, we think City Council will probably deny this appeal and continue to approve more buildings unless public pressure encourages them to make changes.

We strongly recommend that you attend the hearing

Tuesday November 14th, 5 pm at City Hall.

If you cannot attend, write to all city council members again.

Public pressure does appear to be helping.

What, why, and how to speak up.

(The following is a partial copy of our last email.)

What is this meeting about? After the Planning Commission reluctantly approved the project at 320 Alamitos on August 17th, there were 2 appeals (7 names on them) filed against that approval. Most of the objections were because of the lack of parking that will be included and how that will hurt the area. City Council will hear that appeal on Tuesday November 14th.

The Planning Commission didn't even want to approve this building. When staff told them they had no legal means to deny approval (which we strongly disagree with), commissioners then asked for the parking requirements in the Downtown Plan to be reviewed. Staff told them they would oppose such a review until after several more buildings were built. Keep in mind there is glaring evidence that the first building under the Downtown Plan is very short on parking.

Why write letters and/or speak at the meeting?

We need City Council to not only deny approval of this project but also to take action to stop this from continuing to happen. Huge new buildings are being approved that will not have enough parking and take away parking lots. Make no mistake, the city's policy is to force people out of their cars by choking off the parking. They are stating that the downtown parking regulations were created to, "...provide parking in a manner that would reduce the number of vehicles..."

What do you say?

In essence, ask that they make sure these new buildings have enough parking for their own use. Ask that they stand up to this craziness, deny approval of this project, and demand a review of the Downtown Plan's parking regulations. They can ask the parking study firm that they hired, KOA, to recommend specific actions that they can take to prevent further damage to our area. Your letter can be simple and focused or it can be detailed. TAPS sent a letter to City Council (shown here). We wanted Council members to see the big picture so we included the info that we don't think Planning Staff has given to them.

How do you speak up?

Write to your council member and/or attend the hearing. To write, send your email to all City Council members:

District1@longbeach.gov District2@longbeach.gov District3@longbeach.gov District4@longbeach.gov District5@longbbeach.gov Dee.Andrews@longbeach.gov District6@longbeach.gov District7@longbeach.ogv District8@longbeach.gov District9@longbeach.gov

To attend the hearing and speak, go to: City Hall, 333 W Ocean Blvd City Council chambers are just inside the front door to the right, past security. 5 pm, November 14.
You do not need a speaker card since this item is on the agenda. Once the item is read, they will ask for public comment. You will have 3 minutes to speak so we recommend that you write something before going.
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