Community Groups Call on City Leaders to Strengthen Land Use Plan for Future Generations

Eleven local community organizations submitted a letter to the City of Long Beach Planning Commission and City Council calling for the passage of the Land Use and Urban Design Element with stronger language regarding equitable density, affordable housing, renter protections, and targeted economic development.

The letter details why every Long Beach resident should have the opportunity to live and work in a healthy, thriving, and forward-looking city, and how developing a shared vision of the city’s future is the first step to ensuring this happens.

 

“While we are pleased with the changes that have been made to date, we see the suggested revisions serving as a foundation for long-range land use that accounts for existing overburdened communities and projected increases in population density,” said Steve Gerhardt, Executive Director of Walk Long Beach. “As community partners, we are sending an open invitation for constructive dialogue with the Planning Commission, and will otherwise remain neutral on the passage of the Land Use Element in its current state. All neighborhoods should be walkable and offer recreational opportunities and convenient access to healthy lifestyle choices.”

In the submitted letter, advocates address the need for a long-range land-use plan and emphasize the important components that implementation should include in the coming years to reverse historic racial and economic inequities. The letter also identifies updates needed to city codes to move toward inclusive economic development and planning.

“The Land Use Element is a critical part of improving and integrating housing, transportation, safety, and health for all residents of Long Beach, especially those communities of color who have borne the brunt of past discriminatory housing and land-use practices like redlining and covenants,” explains Kevin Shin, Walk Bike Long Beach steering committee co-chair and Long Beach resident. “Crafting a strong, comprehensive LUE that promotes equitable housing availability and renter protections is a necessary first step to correct past wrongdoings and bring justice to our communities.”

 The letter was spearheaded by the Building Healthy Communities: Long Beach (BHCLB) Environmental Health Workgroup, which consists of community and organizational leaders  working collaboratively on environmental policy and organizing that promotes clean air, zero emissions, safe streets, and health promoting land use.

The City of Long Beach Planning Commission will consider the Land Use Element (including the council district maps) on December 11, 2017 beginning at 5:00pm at Long Beach City Hall, located at 333 W. Ocean Boulevard Long Beach 90802.

For a copy of the LUE letter, click here.


Making communities the center of the new Pedestrian Plan

Shaping planning decisions around community residents’ priorities may not seem groundbreaking, but it’s a new approach that is helping inform the drafting of a new Pedestrian Plan for Central and West Long Beach neighborhoods. Thanks to collaboration between BHC partner organizations City Fabrick and the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, the city’s document to guide walking improvements for the community will have a new perspective around safety, liability, and accessibility.

14068453_1166419926734880_43314481595683067_oBeginning with initial community outreach in July 2013, members of the Healthy Active Long Beach program led the effort to hear from Central and West Long Beach residents about their experiences walking in the surrounding neighborhoods. Healthy Active Long Beach also sought input about what pedestrian projects should be prioritized over the next two to fifteen years. Some of the feedback from the community-driven process includes:

  • 30% of all residents surveyed identified safety as their top priority for walking in Long Beach.
  • The top three destinations for residents who walk are food stores, parks, and schools.
  • The favorite pedestrian projects prioritized by residents include the West Long Beach Connectors project (within 2-4 years), The Poly High School Walking Loop and Green Terminal Island Freeway Removal (5-8 years), and the Pacific Coast Highway Complete Street project (8-15 years).

Combined with efforts between the city and community organizations like City Fabrick, capturing community voice became an essential piece to guiding the policy and planning recommendations that will soon be considered for adoption. In September 2016, the collaborators wrapped up the last round of community workshops and hosted study sessions with both the Board of Health and Human Services and the Planning Commission. The draft plan is now available online and will be on the agenda for approval at the Planning Commission within the next month.

For more information on the Pedestrian Plan, contact Brian at brian@cityfabrick.org.


Moldear decisiones de planeación entre las prioridades de los residentes de la comunidad puede no parecer innovador, pero es el nuevo enfoque que está ayudando a informar sobre el nuevo Plan Peatonal para los vecindarios del Centro y Oeste de Long Beach. Gracias a la colaboración entre organizaciones de BHC, City Fabrick y el Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services, el documento de la ciudad que guiara las mejoras peatonales para la comunidad contara con una nueva perspectiva sobre seguridad, responsabilidad y accesibilidad.

14068453_1166419926734880_43314481595683067_oComenzando con un alcance inicial de la comunidad en julio 2013, miembros del programa Healthy Active Long Beach llevaron a cabo un esfuerzo para escuchar de residentes del centro y oeste de Long Beach sobre sus experiencias caminando en los vecindarios de los alrededores. Healthy Active Long Beach también buscó datos acerca de cuáles proyectos peatonales deben ser priorizados en los próximos dos a quince años. El proceso dirigido por la comunidad incluyen:

  • 30% de los residentes encuestados identificaron la seguridad como prioridad para caminar en Long Beach.
  • Los tres principales destinos de los residentes que caminan son supermercados, parques y escuelas.
  • Los proyectos peatonales favoritos de los residentes incluyen el proyecto de conectores del oeste de Long Beach (entre 2-4 años), el camino pedestre de la Poly High School y la eliminación de la autopista Green Terminal Island (5-8 años), y el proyecto Pacific Coast Highway Complete Street (8-15 años).

En combinación con esfuerzos entre la cuidad y organizaciones comunitarias como City Fabrick, capturar la voz de la comunidad se convirtió en una pieza esencial para guiar las recomendaciones de póliza y planeación que pronto serán consideradas para adopción. En septiembre 2016, concluyeron la última ronda de talleres comunitarios y organizaron sesiones de estudio con el Board of Health and Human Services y el Planning Commission. El proyecto del plan está disponible en línea y estará en la agenda para aprobación el próximo mes en el Planning Commission.

Para más información en el Plan Peatonal, contacte a Brian a brian@cityfabrick.org.