In Our Mailbox - Letters to the Editor Graphic

Mixed-Use Neighborhoods

Dear Editor,

Reading the article about Ma N Pa’s 100th anniversary, I was struck by the fact that it’s a “non-conforming” use. In addition to Ma N Pa, our neighborhood is full of other buildings and uses that would be illegal if built today — duplexes, fourplexes, diners, coffee shops, gyms, healthcare, childcare, and religious facilities, and more — due to the area’s “R-1” (single family home only) zoning. Together, these are what make Belmont Heights the incredible neighborhood that it is.

In some cases these buildings are legal non-conforming and in other cases special zoning has been applied to their specific sites, but in general they’re only allowed because they existed before our modern zoning rules were implemented.

Long Beach should follow the lead of cities such as Minneapolis, Portland, Berkeley, and Sacramento and move to get rid of the most restrictive R-1 zoning — not to force change upon neighborhoods or turn everywhere into downtown, but to allow the kinds of neighborhoods that we used to build, the kind that include single family homes among a mix of other building types and that (like Belmont Heights) remain among the most beloved and desired in the whole city today.

Steve White

Belmont Heights

Restaurant Mercy

Dear Editor,

Thank you for reporting on the “Long Beach Restaurant Owner Charged For Violating COVID-19 Restrictions.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on everyone. It is quite unfortunate to see Restauration’s owner Dana Shay Tanner staring at fines and possible jail time. 

This is not to question the state guidelines over handling the pandemic. It is to state that Restauration is a welcome member of the community and serves a purpose to that community. Watching a local restaurateur working to maintain their community connection despite the pandemic is the hope people need to see. That is what will get the community through the pandemic. 

People need to be safe and smart about COVID 19. However, going after a local restauranteur, who is only doing their part, seems rather unnecessary. Hopefully, the charges will eventually drop off and the fines will be waived. The pandemic will end but it cannot be allowed to further punish businesses trying to do business. 

Looking forward to my next meal at Restauration.

Liam Meuse

Yorba Linda

Poor Priorities

Dear Editor,

We have lived in Long Beach for 20 years and witnessed the city emerge as a beautiful, modern and enriching city. We are proud residents.

But the new project of rebuilding the beach concession areas turned out to be disappointing. The one close to Shoreline Village is a section about 200 feet on the gray bike lanes. Huge letters in black were beautifully engraved there. 

In the center the street name ALAMITOS is printed twice, one facing the water and the other the land with smaller prints EAT PLAY LONG BEACH in between, and the end RESTROOMS and BIKE RENTAL printed twice. What a waste of prime space and public resources.

In our neighboring city Signal Hill, on the walkway of the Hilltop Park, a poem reflecting its history is engraved and you can see people slow down and read,  “Here on this hill, what perspective to see, our world, ourselves, with clarity….We come to this place, when life gets too fast, to reflect on time, make a sunset last…”

How inspiring our city is to engrave RESTROOMS twice on the prime spot!

Ching Duval

Long Beach

Protect Neighborhoods

Dear Editor,

Thank you, Bill Shelton, for Housing Legislation Threatens Neighborhoods (Another View, March 11).  The efforts of several in the State Legislature over that last couple of years, and their continued drive into this session, if passed could forever change how our neighborhoods look and feel.  

First, we are in a housing crisis that needs to be solved, especially the need for affordable housing. The city, with much community input, prepared a smart plan for the State to meet requirements and with increased density where it makes sense. A new housing element is in the works. While there has been and will be needed compromise, the plan is created locally.

Without regard to local needs and wants, the State Legislature has several bills that would permanently negatively alter the quality of life of millions of California voters and taxpayers. The bills in various forms would strip away single-family zoning and would require that lots can be subdivided, and then multiple dwellings built. Look what already was allowed with a single family home converted to accommodate 11 CSULB students. Think of what this would do to your street! Parking congestion is usually ignored in these bills.

Take a look at SB 9 and SB 10, contact State Senators Lena Gonzales (co-author of SB 9) and Tom Umberg (voted in favor of last session’s version), Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell (voted against last session’s version), the Mayor and City Council. The Seal Beach City Council just voted to officially oppose SB 9. Long Beach should do the same.

Jeff Hoffman

Naples

Increase Housing

Dear Editor,

Here’s how to increase housing stock in California: 

Current ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit) laws will cause many new homes to be built in single family home neighborhoods. One and sometimes two units can be added to every single family home in the state.

Plan and build 6- to 10-story apartment buildings in and near cities with commercial and industrial use properties that are nearing their obsolescence. Some locations may warrant some commercial/retail/office space on the ground floor. Great examples can be found throughout Long Beach.  

Liberalize financing for smaller mixed-use properties encouraging the development of one or two levels of residential units over commercial use that already exist or that could be planned. Loans for such properties have not been bought on the secondary mortgage market and there should be some secondary market for these loans.

Where multiple family zoning exists now for more than four units, increase that zoning to allow a 10% to 20% higher unit count with incentives for larger land parcels or inclusionary requirements.

To focus on more affordable new housing for the state, the greatest number of homes that could be built at reasonable prices would be in areas outside of major cities, yet still near them and well connected by freeways and new light rail. Fly over the route of the bullet train up out of LA to Palmdale, up to Mojave and over to Tehachapi on to Bakersfield and up the Central Valley. Nearly unlimited open land exists there — much of it government owned or controlled that could be the start of new mini cities. We could design every type of price point housing products, and with government subsidy contributing land and creating infrastructure, performing subdivisions. Builders would have incentive and requirements to hit resale price points according to agreements with government. Leaving home to work isn't as necessary, and connections of light rail lines to the bullet train or other cities would facilitate the appeal of these new communities.

The poorly thought out Senate Bills 9 and 10 propose to increase units by forcing all the single family home neighborhoods in the state to allow 6 to 10 unit buildings in place of a single family home. There is a great lesson to be learned in Long Beach that this ruins beautiful neighborhoods and would not achieve any goals of affordability or significant supply increase. They are absolutely not necessary.

Jim Tyler

Huntington Beach

Forgetting Constituents

Dear Editor,

This is a thank you for Bill Shelton. I think that Lena Gonzalez forgot who she was representing in Sacramento. 

I feel Long Beach worked very hard to create a compromise about ADU housing in our city. As a city, we created a conversation that addressed the needs of the state and the needs of the city and through hard work we created a plan that respects both goals. 

For Ms. Gonzalez to ignore our city's determination to meet the needs of an increase of housing in a respectful plan for both the city and the state is at best disappointing. I think the citizens of our state are more than willing to increase low-cost housing in our cities but having one plan fits all as a state mandate doesn't consider the variety of successful solutions that the various cities have created. It doesn't respect the people of California. 

We have continued as a state to create a variety of solutions for our problems and have in fact modeled a variety of solutions for the rest of the country. 

And I will quote from the movie “The American President” You have more problems than me — you have lost my vote.

Diane Paull

Long Beach

Money For Vaccines

Dear Editor,

Could the city please explain why certain funding is "restricted and not available for primary vaccine efforts?" 

$13 million for testing, ppe and contact tracing is hard to understand. We're at the point of ending this pandemic; Long Beach is close to completing vaccination of everyone. It is doable but expensive. 

If money must be allocated to these three, contact tracing should receive nearly all funding. It is the critical public health weapon for any pandemic and a major reason our country was ineffective in curtailing the spread. It is future state protection. 

Vaccination will reduce testing needs dramatically. 

Finally, if there are other open health care categories for funding, create scholarships for minority primary care medical students or physicians to open offices in disenfranchised communities and to further training in order to expand the scope of services. Perhaps as important, consider partnering with country facilities to invite American doctors to have an immersive cultural learning opportunity while caring for people who rarely receive our standard of medicine. Thank you.

Stan Glickman

Long Beach

 

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