The draft EIR for the proposed 2nd + PCH development--a condo tower, hotel, theater and restaurant-shopping complex--concludes that it could be built but would require: changing a land use law to allow up to 8 more stories to be built, more study on unhealthy air quality that would exceed south Air Quality Standards levels and would worsen traffic at 25 intersections in Long Beach. these include the worst intersection in the city (2nd and PCH) and the primary turn leading to the entrance to the boarding of the 22/405 freeways (2nd and Studebaker).
The latest Environmental Impact Report (EIR), covering the proposed 12-story condo structure, hotel and retail complex named after its location--2nd + PCH--is a draft on which the public is invited to comment through April 25.
There are two meetings this week that will allow the public to hear other community members' comments as well as voice their own: tonight at 7 p.m. at the Golden Sails Best Western, hosted by the Los Cerritos Wetlands Land Trust, featuring an environmental planner who will help people understand the document (the Land Trust, according to its website, is opposed to the proposed version of the plan). The second meeting is that of the Long Beach Planning Commission's study session on the 2nd + pch proposal. It is expected to happen toward the latter part of the Thursday meeting; it starts at 5 p.m. at Long Beach City Hall (addresses at the end).
The draft EIR--so named because it is not a final document until after it is finalized by various city and government agencies including the Long Beach City Council.
We offer some of the key findings, which largely boil down to air quality, traffic and the fact that the current Southeast Area Development Improvement Plan (SEADIP) that's been in place more than 30 years does not allow the development at the proposed heights. An attempt a few years ago to reduce restrictions on development in SEADIP, led by Council Member Gary DeLong of the Shore's 3rd District, was not successful.
The development would, if approved, have residential, hotel, restaurant, retail and entertainment uses. It would include a complex of buildings from two to six stories tall plus a condo building up to 12 stories. The development would, if approved as presented in the draft EIR, be built on the land between PCH and Marina Drive and Second Street down to where the Seaport Marina Hotel now ends above Wild Oats.
Specifically, there would be 191,475 square feet of retail space and 325 residential units in the tallest building with rooftop structural features such as a pool and emergency helipad. It would include a 100-room hotel with additional meeting space of 3,510 square feet, and 4,368 square feet of restaurant space, 21,092 square feet of separate, non-hotel restaurant space, a 99-seat theater, a 4,175-square-foot, marine/science learning center, with landscaping and 230 usable square feet space per dwelling of open space. Buildings would generally range from two to six stories in height, with the one residential tower reaching no more than 12 stories
Additionally, the project would create a new roadway dubbed Marina View Lane, which would bisect the southern portion of the project site.
The latest EIR stated that it took into account questions and concerns that the general public had expressed about the originally proposed project studied in the first draft EIR <> . The draft before the public also noted that it included new mitigators added by project proponent David Malmuth to help limit impacts to air quality, the surrounding wetlands, impacts to soil, noise pollution, and traffic.
--The second EIR states that the odor caused during construction due to the release of gases into the air will not be as severe as was found in the EIR a year ago because of mitigating factors put in place by Malmuth’s team. Those factors would consist of all heavy use construction to be done during off peak hours thus not forcing cars not to idle longer in traffic. Stationary vehicles are the single largest contributor to toxic air pollution. However, the harmful toxins in the air due to construction vehicles, even during off-peak hours, while not omitting odor, will still violate California’s strict air policy guidelines, and not be improved upon, despite the developer’s mitigating efforts. The study reveals that in order to do the project without making the surrounding air a health risk, more study is needed. Further, once the project has been completed, consistent unavoidable damage to air quality will have occurred.
--Twenty-five intersections will also have more delays and additional traffic as a result of construction. During completion of the project it is estimated that an additional 150 trips could be added to major intersections during peak AM and PM hours and six intersections at completion will have a significant increase in traffic, they are:
--PCH at 7th Street, Studebaker Road at SR-22 Westbound Ramps, Bay Shore Avenue at 2nd St., PCH at 2nd Street and Shopkeeper Road at 2nd Street. Two intersections--at Pacific Coast Highway and 2nd Street, and Studebaker Road and 2nd St., Belmont Shore's route to the San Diego/22/605 freeways—were found to have extremely high levels of impact due to traffic during construction. In response to the draft EIR’s findings, a Traffic Management Plan was created. The plan would eliminate the delays and bottlenecks at the 2nd and PCH intersection by widening lanes. However, no physical mitigation measures are feasible to help the Studebaker and 2nd Street intersection from unavoidable significant additional traffic, as stated by the EIR [ES -3].
--The project as it stands currently, still conflicts with the South East Development Improvement Plan (SEADIP), which does not allow any buildings taller than 35 feet in that area overlooking the marina. The findings in this second EIR state that concerns voiced previously over blocked scenic views and sunlight, as well as shadows the 12-story building casts over existing properties are not as significant as the original EIR found. That’s because the latest EIR states there will be more scenic viewing opportunities as a result of the additional man made structure, despite the fact that current structures may lose their view [IV-A]. Further, the large structure could also become a part of the scenic view to the surrounding area. A change in the law would still be needed for the project to move forward any further.
--The additional water usage by the planned development also came under scrutiny in the first EIR. The fact that the project is being built upon a previously developed area helps the Second and PCH project slide through a loophole that doesn’t require them to fit inside the same standards as a new not-previously developed area. The project further fits inside the City’s laws concerning water, because the new project creates less than 500 new dwelling units [IV.M-3]. If the project exceeded those standards, stricter guidelines concerning water usage would have to be enforced.
--The EIR also suggested seven other options instead of the plan that is currently proposed. They are: 1) No build – Simply not to do the project. 2) Existing Zone Alternative – To complete the project within existing zone guidelines. 3) Reduced Intensity A – To do the same project but with less commercial/retail/residential by 15 – 20%. 4) Reduced Intensity B – To do the same project with less commercial/retail/residential by 33 – 35%. 5) Reduced Intensity C – To do the same project with less commercial/retail/residential by 40 –70 %. 6) Reduced intensity D – To do the project with a reduced intensity to retail space by 40%, no residential space and no theatre. 7) An environmental alternative which is said in the EIR to be the superior alternative, in which a plan would be put in place that does not have significant impact to air quality and stays within current city guidelines for light pollution, noise and use of land.
The Draft EIR was prepared for the proposed project and circulated for a 45-day public review.
Comments and concerns were received by the public during the preview period and strongly shaped the EIR released late last week. Changes to the project such as additional lanes of traffic, were also made by the developer to help reduce or eliminate the issues concerning quality of life to those who will be impacted.
The public is invited to provide input on the draft until April 25, when PCR Services Corporation, the company responsible for the producing the EIR, will review the public’s findings prior to updating it.
The project as it currently stands, will not be able to move forward unless the zoning laws are changed.
Comments favorable and critical were clearly considered in the process, which requires comments to be made a second time on the new draft EIR. They have to be put in writing either by e-mail or by postal service to the point person below.
Development Services Department City of Long Beach
333 W. Ocean Blvd., 5th Floor Long Beach, CA 90802
Questions about the project can also be directed to the Long Beach Development Services at
Long Beach Development Services,
333 W. Ocean Blvd.,
4th Floor Long Beach, CA 90802 or (562) 570-LBDS (5237), select Option 3. That office can also be reached by email at LBDS@longbeach.gov.
Tonight's meeting: 7 p.m., Best Western Golden Sails hotel meeting room, 6285 E. Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach.
Thursday's meeting: 5 p.m. Long Beach Planning Commission, City Council Chambers 333 W. Ocean Boulevard, downtown.