To stay up to date with the most current Advocacy issues, refer to our current newsletter.
By Wendy Harn, Advocacy Vice President
The Planning Commission approved the Downtown Plan at their November 10 meeting. The approval process has definitely been a learning experience for me. Although LBH supported approval, we are continuing to research properties in the Downtown Plan area, as there are many properties we believe deserve a more thorough review. This continuing review has the approval of city staff, as noted in the following email excerpt from Steve Gerhardt, AICP Senior Planner, Long Beach Development Services, Planning Bureau: “…staff is not recommending including any single family dwellings or civic/public buildings. The 8 we did add in the Final EIR are multiple family residential, commercial or mixed use structures. We expect that the conversation about including additional properties will continue as LB Heritage research continues.
The HPE lists designated historic structures (local and State/National register), but not potentially eligible structures. As you know, local landmarks are designated through the Municipal Code, Title 16.52, and are included via ordinance.The City has no approval authority over State/National designation, but often participate in that effort, as was done on the Richard Neutradesigned Hafley House earlier this year.
In the event of any sort of conflict, if a property is “suspected” of being historic in any planning document or otherwise meets the eligibility requirements of age and/or intrinsic historic value, CEQA requires that it be considered historic until proven otherwise. One of the primary purposes of the Jones and Stokes survey for the Downtown Plan was to determine which properties are considered historic and worthy of local designation or adaptive reuse in the Downtown Plan (Table 4.3-3 as amended), and which no longer are considered historic.
The Downtown Plan will be the definitive document for eligible structures in the project area. We will continue to amend and update the list of historic properties as necessary through administration of the Downtown Plan in the coming decades.”
To this end Maureen Neeley and I have recently formed a survey army, enlisting the help of several volunteers who were provided with research basics and then sent to the streets to survey specific properties. I feel strongly that LBH partner with City staff in identifying and classifying properties for consideration.