In the latest installment of a disheartening game I’m calling “are-you-for-real-City-of-Long-Beach?!” all but 20 constituents have been locked out of speaking at the City Council appeal hearing this evening about 3701 Pacific Place. You can write an email and make an ecomment instead, which is what I’ve done. Hope you’ll do the same.

Email addresses:
City Clerk Monique De La Garza
Mayor Robert Garcia
Councilmember Al Austin II
And I recommend CCing every councilmember as this is a matter of city-wide significance (the formula for those emails is – sub the x for the district numbers 1-9) or here’s a helpful list:

Useful links:
An abundance of resources and information from the Riverpark Coalition
A petition to sign
Shocking stats on park inequities in Long Beach
The Lower LA River Revitalization Plan
More on 3701 N Pacific Place
More on 712 Baker Street

You’re welcome to reuse anything from my letter. The important thing is that you send a letter, preferably by Tuesday April 13, 2021.

Dear Ms Garza,

Re: Agenda Item #8 – Hearing #210308 – Appeal for 3701 Pacific Place, also known as LB Industrial, Pacific Place Project, OOI North

In lieu of the opportunity to verbally comment at the City Council meeting, please ensure that my comments below are included in deliberations this evening.

I am asking the City to adequately fulfill its CEQA obligations in relation to this property, and also not to make the zoning changes as requested by the developer.

Furthermore, I wish to register my deep concern that constituents have been denied the opportunity to speak at today’s Council meeting. For a hot button issue in a City with half a million residents, providing only 20 speaking slots is manifestly inadequate. Ditto the lack of transparency as to who is selected to speak. I understand that the Mayor has discretion to open more speaking opportunities, and the fact that he has chosen not to leaves me with little confidence that due process has been or will be followed with regard to 3701 Pacific Place. If there is a decision made to allow spoken public comments this evening, I would be very pleased to be added to that list.

The proposed project will have significant adverse environmental impacts and is therefore unsuited to a Mitigated Negative Declaration. Conducting a full CEQA process is imperative. Indeed the City of Long Beach has recently affirmed this being a necessity. How so? The pigeon pair of this land parcel – 712 Baker Street – is currently undergoing a full CEQA. The characteristics of these two properties form an almost entirely overlapping Venn diagram, and yet the City is waiving Pacific Place through with a reckless Mitigated Negative Declaration, a manifestly unsuitable application of CEQA’s MND provisions. This is unjustified in the documentation, and unjustifiable in any reasonable analysis of the material facts of this case.

It is my view that potentially significant environmental impacts exist in terms of Aesthetics, Air Quality, Biological Resources, Cultural Resources, Energy, Geology and Soils, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Hazards and Hazardous Materials, Hydrology and Water Quality, Land Use and Planning, Recreation, Transportation and Circulation, and Tribal Cultural Resources. Further, the river adjacent location of the site amplifies the importance of following due environmental process. That makes CEQA necessary and it must not be sidestepped by a Council that seems intent on undermining the integrity of the CEQA process and giving the developer a free pass to build a project that flagrantly disregards zoning, land use, environmental common sense, and community sentiment.

And if the potential impacts alone were not enough to convince this council, there are still more reasons: The 262 pages of public comment letters in late 2020, almost unanimous in opposing the proposed development speak, should be enough to give the City pause on this project. The long-running efforts (including by the City) to purchase the land as public open space, should be enough. Incompatibility of the project with both the Lower LA River Revitalization Plan and the draft county-wide LA River Master Plan should be enough. That this development will steal any hope of a greener environment and a healthier life for several generations of West Long Beach residents should be enough. That there are unanswered questions about site stability and toxicity should be enough. That there are dire Los Angeles River water quality concerns in relation to interactions between the site and the aging infrastructure of the surrounding stormwater systems should be enough. The incompatibility of the site design with the definition of the Neo-Industrial land use designation in the General Plan should be enough.

Any one of these factors would give any reasonable Mayor, Councilmember, or City Clerk pause. The simultaneous presence of all these factors give you no option but to reject the Mitigated Negative Declaration and zoning changes.

I know that CEQA is a self-executing statute and that this gives the City fairly ample latitude for recklessness in applying its requirements. I am going to ask that you instead take the high road and meet your CEQA obligations to the letter and the spirit of the law, rather than paving an easy road for the developer whilst you brazenly ignore your constituents, your river, and in many regards the future of West Long Beach.

I wish I could be offering these comments verbally at this evening’s meeting, but I trust that you will pay attention to them, nevertheless.

Best regards,

Tilly Hinton, PhD