Community Voices 417273_319222401462534_1058996774_n

Published on January 6th, 2014 | by Greggory Moore

1

Despite Plans to Turn a Dozen Rural Acres of Long Beach into Housing, City Says Nothing Is Guaranteed

A little over three years ago I discovered one of the Long Beach’s natural wonders hiding in plain sight in the middle of the 8th District: the 11.5 acres of rusticity that is the Will J. Reid Boy Scout Camp.

But that “is” may become a “was” in 2014, as last October the Boy Scouts of America sold the woodland wonderland to Integral Communities, a self-described “diversified real estate development compan[y].” And development is what’s on the company’s mind.

According to Ed Galigher, Integral Communities’ vice-president for acquisition and entities, the company is in the planning stages of developing the site into “residential, for-sale, single-family subdivision.”

Because the property is zoned “Institutional,” it will take a zoning change—something that can be effectuated only by a full vote of the Long Beach City Council—for Integral to get its way. Many residents are against such a change. But one of those who has the most insight into how things work in the City of Long Beach laments that the whole thing may be a done deal.

“The property is still zoned as ‘Institutional,’” says former 8th District Councilmember Rae Gabelich. “That means [Integral] were given the wink or the nod that [their plans] will go through and they will get [the necessary] zoning changes. […] I think it’s a terrible loss for North Long Beach, [in terms of] the recreational opportunities families had there. In lieu of what? For more housing? […] I think it’s a sad day for the community.”

However, Jeff Winklepleck, acting zoning administrator for the Planning Commission of Development Services, calls the current stage “very preliminary” and says that, although the City has indicated receptiveness toward Integral’s initial proposal, by no means is the matter a fait accompli.

“I would the [most] correct term is, ‘We’re not necessarily opposed to it,’” Winklepleck says. “Anybody can come and ask for anything they want, and we would still have to take them through the process. [… But] that is in no way an entitlement. That gets them feedback from the various departments, including Public Works, Building, Fire, Planning, [etc.], as to what sort of issues that they may be looking at. […] In general, [what Integral is proposing] is not out of character with something we would support. […] But at the same time, we always caveat it with, ‘Obviously you have a process you need to go through, [and] there will be public input, [along with] studies to verify what we need to verify regarding traffic and all the things that go along with that—and ultimately we may have a different recommendation. We don’t know.’”

Galigher says Integral representatives have met with neighboring residents “a couple of times” and heard their concerns.

“Obviously, the neighbors are concerned that [the land] is not going to be a Boy Scout camp anymore, [is not going to be] basically open space,” Galigher says. “But they realize that [the development] will increase [area] property values.”

Gabelich reports that during her eight years in office the City partly staved off the sale of the land by vowing not to allow for a zoning change, mostly because the area is inappropriate for a residential development.

“We were very clear with them that we were not going to approve of a zoning change,” she says. “They come back several times with, ‘Well, what if we did this? What if we did senior housing? What if we did housing for disabled people?’ So they hit the spots that would be close to my heart. But I said, ‘No. You’re not on a transportation corridor. It’s already a dense neighborhood that has issues now, so why would you build more [housing]? […] That was the only leverage we had: that we wouldn’t change the zoning.”

Winklepleck says that traffic is one of several studies that must be completed and reviewed before Development Services makes any recommendation, and that review of the necessary Environmental Impact Report (EIR) could take up to one year, though he guesstimates that the process to fully review what Integral is proposing will take nine months.

In the meantime, Integral has already completed some landscape work at the site, cutting the tops off of a number of trees. Galigher says the only work was to “old eucalyptus trees near power lines” at the perimeter of the property, some of which were diseased.

“They typically crack and break and fall,” Galigher says. “We don’t want any fires or any damage to the neighbors property and all that, so we just went out and trimmed a bunch of them.

Gabelich, however, is disbelieving of Integral’s claimed rationale for the work.

“I went down there, and I was devastated,” says Gabelich, who learned of the work from a neighbor and documented it through a number of photographs. “At first they said they were diseased. That [rationale for the work] is bullshit; it’s not true. “

One 8th District resident who declines to comment on the situation is Gabelich’s successor, Councilmember Al Austin. Through his staff, Austin told Random Lengths News that he would rather not comment on the matter prior to the submission of Integral’s application. However, Winklepleck believes that Austin had at least some discussion with Integral prior to the company’s $6 million purchase of the property.

“I had heard there was some outreach from Integral to the council, [including] to Austin,” Winklepleck says.

Despite the City’s economic struggles in recent years, Gabelich believes that perhaps there would have been a way for the City to secure the property—or at least to force any sale to come with some preservationist concessions—were it not located in North Long Beach, an area she feels is often neglected by the City’s decision-makers.

“The City didn’t have the money to buy it. Not that there was ever a push for thing really to go in that direction,” she says. “But year after year we were in the red, so there was no conversation about buying any land. [Nonetheless], in my opinion, [the City] could have negotiated that a percentage of [the land] had to be reserved for recreation or that they had to do something to enhance…They could have done a number of things. [But] I think there could have been a much stronger push from the City Manager’s Office. They did not make that a priority. Not too many things in North Long Beach get made a priority downtown.”

Gabelich also feels that the City—including Austin’s office—could have done more to solicit community input prior to the sale.

“Whether [or not] Al knew enough to offer a community meeting or get input from the community at large, the City Manager’s Office certainly knows that,” she says. “Pat West, [who] worked in community development for all those years, he certainly knows that. [But] they dropped the ball.”

But Winklepleck notes that community members will have ample opportunity to make their opinions heard during the next several months, and that those voices will be among the factors that influence the ultimate recommendation Development Services makes to the city council.

“As we go forward, we will take into consideration all the different input that we have,” he says.

Still, Gabelich’s pessimism is almost palpable.

“We’ve lost another piece of Long Beach history,” she says. “[…] I think it’s sad when people aren’t looking at the big picture. When things get piecemealed together, that’s when you end up with blighted areas.”

According to Winklepleck, however, it is well within the realm of possibility that a year from now Integral could find itself an owner of a property that the company cannot develop as intended—and that there is recent precedent for such a scenario.

“That’s always a possibility, as our friends at 2nd+PCH can tell you,” Winklepleck says, referring to the ill-fated plans to develop a site at intersection of 2nd Street and Pacific Coast Highway. “Initially we let [the Integral] folks know that [the company's proposed development] is something we might be able to support. […] But beyond that, there’s obviously no guarantees.”

Tags: , , ,


About the Author

Trapped within in the ironic predicament of wanting to know everything (more or less) while believing it may not be possible really to know anything at all, Greggory Moore is nonetheless dedicated to a life of study, be it of books, people, nature, or that slippery phenomenon we call the self. And from time to time he feels impelled to write a little something. He lives in a historic landmark downtown and holds down a variety of word-related jobs. HIs work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the OC Weekly, The District Weekly, the Long Beach Post, Daily Kos, and GreaterLongBeach.com. His novel THE USE OF REGRET was published in 2011. To be notified when a new Greggory Moore piece is published, send an e-mail to GreadersLB@yahoo.com.



One Response to Despite Plans to Turn a Dozen Rural Acres of Long Beach into Housing, City Says Nothing Is Guaranteed

  1. Pingback: Random Lengths News | Independent And Free

Leave a Reply

Back to Top ↑
  • Like Us On Facebook!

  • The Guide to Fine Dining

    The Guide to Fine Dining
  • Calendar

    May 2015
    S M T W T F S
    26

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: CommunityWalk Cabrillo

    Category: ArtOpen Studios at Angels Gate

    Category: ArtQuilt Show

    Category: CommunityQuilt Show

    Category: ArtLos Angeles Artists Propose Solutions to Human Trafficking Through Art

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    Category: EntertainmentSuburban Showgirl

    Category: ArtLA Philharmonic

    Category: EntertainmentLos Angeles Philharmonic

    Category: CommunityAbilities Night

    Category: EntertainmentOil Boom, Sir Madam, the South Hollows

    27

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    28

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    29

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunitySan Pedro Kiwanis Club

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    30

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: CommunityOpen Mic Nite

    Category: ArtPlacas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo

    Category: TheaterPlacas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    1

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtPlacas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo

    Category: ArtBach’s Lunchtime Recital

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterHP Lovecraft Film Festival San Pedro

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    Category: EntertainmentTadic, Manring, Garcia

    Category: EntertainmentClive Farrington

    2

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtPlacas: The Most Dangerous Tattoo

    Category: CommunityFeria de Dominguez Adobe Brunch and Tea

    Category: CommunityFriend Fest

    Category: Community5th Annual Fashion Extravaganza

    Category: TheaterHP Lovecraft Film Festival San Pedro

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    Category: EntertainmentScott Henderson Trio

    3

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityTarget Free Sundays Cinco de Mayo Festival

    Category: CommunityBully Prevention Extravaganza

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: EntertainmentElizabeth Pitcairn & Louise Thomas

    Category: TheaterBye Bye Birdie

    Category: TheaterHP Lovecraft Film Festival San Pedro

    4

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    5

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLuminous, Transparent, Realistic Watercolor Workshop

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    6

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunitySan Pedro Kiwanis Club

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: ArtMeet the Grunion

    7

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: ArtGabriel Figueroa: The Collection

    Category: ArtVisualizations: ​Art and Science​

    Category: ArtVisualizations: ​Art and Science​

    Category: CommunityOpen Mic Nite

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: EntertainmentKlezmer Juice

    8

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterReel Rock Films: Don’t Look Back (1967)

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    9

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityGuided Nature Walk at White Point Nature Preserve

    Category: EntertainmentMusic Under the Guns

    Category: EntertainmentJosh Nelson

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: EntertainmentAdal Ramones Tour Monologues

    Category: EntertainmentFrank Unzueta’s Jazz Trio

    10

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: EntertainmentFred Schreuders Talk Story Trio

    11

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    12

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    13

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunitySan Pedro Kiwanis Club

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    14

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: TheaterThe Iron Giant

    Category: CommunityOpen Mic Nite

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    15

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: CommunityBarley Forge Tap Attack

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: EntertainmentDick Weller Trio

    Category: EntertainmentThe Good Foot!

    16

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityThird Annual Tour de Carson

    Category: CommunityExplore Anacapa Island

    Category: CommunityImpressions Family Nature, Art Workshop

    Category: CommunityThe Amazing Race: Long Beach in Lincoln Park

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: EntertainmentTizer Quartet

    Category: EntertainmentFartbarf, Kim & The Created

    17

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: Community5k Lupus Awareness Walk

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: EntertainmentThe Orchestre Surreal

    Category: EntertainmentPrism Tats and Fernweh

    18

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityToastmaster’s Open House

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    19

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    20

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunitySan Pedro Kiwanis Club

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    21

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: CommunityOpen Mic Nite

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    22

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: CommunityPOLAHS 4th Annual Green Festival

    Category: EntertainmentJeff Hamilton Presents Akiko with Graham Dechter

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    23

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: EntertainmentGrupo Folklorico Orgullo Mexicano

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: EntertainmentAlan Pasqua, Peter Erskine, Darek Oles

    24

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    25

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    26

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    27

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunitySan Pedro Kiwanis Club

    Category: EntertainmentNeutral Milk Hotel

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    28

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: CommunityOpen Mic Nite

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    29

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtJohn Elgin Woolf: Master of Hollywood Regency

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    Category: EntertainmentThe Syncopaths

    30

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: CommunityLong Beach Human Library

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    Category: ArtVisualizations in Art and Science

    Category: ArtHouse of MOLAA: Art + Fashion + Culture

    Category: EntertainmentHydrogen Jukebox

    31

    Category: ArtVarnette Honeywood

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtLong Beach Museum of Art Auction XVI

    1

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    2

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    3

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: CommunitySan Pedro Kiwanis Club

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    4

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: CommunityFarmer’s Market

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: CommunityOpen Mic Nite

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    5

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: ArtFirst Thursday Artwalk

    Category: EntertainmentPiano Nights with Rob Klopfenstein

    Category: TheaterAbigail/1702

    6

    Category: ArtMOLAA Presents Fantastic Mexico

    Category: EntertainmentHydrogen Jukebox

  • Take a Trip to Havana

    Take a Trip to Havana
  • Join the RLn Network

    Subscribe Today:


    Options


  • Get Home Delivery!

    Get Home Delivery!
  • Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy

    Reset The Net: Protect Your Privacy