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Landlord-Parking Commissioners Talk Parklets

Bill Lorbeer and Kurt Schneider, who own Second Street properties and serve as Parking Commissioners, weigh in on the notion of public parking spaces being used for parkletsK.

Parklets, which gained favor in San Francisco as a way to add green space to a hardscape city, made their debut in Southern California on Long Beach's Fourth Street. Their service role in the Shore has been discussed as an extension of space from the businesses. That, anyway, has been the concept proposed by George's Greek Cafe, but which was hardly universally embraced by fellow business owners this summer. Naples business owners launched a petition drive in opposition to parklets anywhere on Second Street.

They are scheduled for discussion with City of Long Beach Traffic Engineer Dave Roseman Thursday morning at the monthly 8:00 a.m. meeting of the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Area Commission--commonly called the Parking Commission. You can read more details here. Given the evergreen parking challenges of the dense Shore, Patch asked for more details from two well-known Belmont Shore property owners and parking commissioners.

Kurt Schneiter: member of the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Area Commission, and real property owner leasing Second Street businesses. 

Parklets can be a wonderful way of connecting the community, but only in locations that are safe and the reduction of 2 parking spaces is not missed.  Belmont Shore is under-parked and cannot afford a loss of two parking spaces at this time.

 I believe there will be a day that the Park lets will work in Naples and Belmont Shore, but today is not that day.  Unfortunately, safety is a concern and our lack of parking makes it very difficult to justify removal of two parking spaces for one Parklet.

 Currently, I have a Parklet at one of my buildings on 4th street and it fits perfectly for the dynamics of the neighborhood including safety of those using the parklet. One great idea does not fit every neighborhood, but let’s keep an open mind as our area evolves.

Bill Lorbeer: Chairman of the Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Area Commission, whose family owns considerable real property on Second Stret, including several occupied by r estaurants and bars. One of them, George's Greek Cafe, has sought to install a parklet in the two parking spaces near the Long Beach Transit District bus stop.

I understand and recognize that approval of Parklets in Belmont Shore probably does not have ample support – either from the public or City.  Further, I would be willing to simply let this matter quietly get forgotten, but some Commissioners would like to revisit the issue. 

Several reasons.  First, the PC’s initial action – a motion to recommend approval/disapproval of parklets in Belmont Shore – was inconclusive (failed to pass with 3-3 tie vote).  A second action was considered –pto provide concerns with and input on how to regulate parklets if the City chose to allow them in Belmont Shore.  Because the City failed to provide any specifics on the kind of feedback they wanted, this action was tabled. 

As you know, Roseman has a significant amount of autonomy when it comes to traffic related safety matters.  I understand Dave has some significant concerns with safety issues related to Parklets on 2nd Street – especially in Belmont Shore and Naples.  Hence my lack of interest in spending further time on this matter.  If Dave says no – that’s it! 

Nevertheless, tomorrow (Thursday) Roseman will provide the PC with his concerns and probably “put the nails in the coffin” for Parklets in Belmont Shore.

 Personally, I like the idea of Parklets (the current ones on 4th Street are really neat) and would prefer a more open-minded approach that looked at how we might make them safer and properly regulate or mitigate any negative impacts.  But that is just my personal opinion.

How do you feel about parklets replacing parking spaces on Second Street? Tell us in comments.

 

Mike Ruehle November 15, 2012 at 05:22 PM
A couple things to consider: 1. Jimmy Loizides, operator of Georges Greek Cafe, has already been working with city officials to move forward on parklets in front of his 2nd street business before either the Business Association or the Resident's Association was notified. http://www.gazettes.com/news/business/george-s-greek-considers-second-street-parklet/article_914330ae-db60-11e1-859d-0019bb2963f4.html 2. The Lorbeer family is the owner of Georges Greek Cafe in Belmont Shore and Jimmy Loizides is their tenant. 3. The Lorbeer family would profit from the parklet in front of Georges Greek Cafe because they would increase the rent paid by their tenant due to the increased business square footage provided by each parklet . 4. Bill Lorbeer is the Belmont Shore Parking Commission Chairman and stands to profit from parklets in front of properties he rents by raising their rent. 5. Bill Lorbeer should recuse himself from any Parking Commission discussion or voting on parklets because of the obvious conflict of interest. 6. Neither Bill Lorbeer or Kurt Schneiter live in Belmont Shore and do not have to put up with the parking problems created by patrons of the properties they own.
Shore Resident November 15, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Yawn.
Gil2thDr November 15, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Already have a parking problem in the shore. Taking away valuable parking spaces for business' profit on PUBLIC property is insane. Street parking in front of our homes is non-existant due to hungry non-residents visiting these businesses. Totally against Parklets on 2nd St.
Jacqui Viale November 16, 2012 at 05:17 PM
They did not have any support at the parking commission meeting. Thankfully public sentiment actually seems to have been considered in this.
Mike Ruehle November 16, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Did the Belmont Shore Residents Association (BSRA) warn their membership about this meeting held last Thursday by the Parking Commission? Surely, all residents would have been impacted if Bill Lorbeer got his way and turned all of the public parking spaces in front of his many Belmont Shore commercial properties into parklets. If the BSRA did not notify their membership of the Parking Commission meeting, why not? What is their function? After all, the BSRA has all of its member's email addresses set up on one distribution. It's as easy as sending an email to one person.
Nancy Wride (Editor) November 16, 2012 at 07:58 PM
What did the city traffic engineer say?
John B. Greet November 16, 2012 at 11:22 PM
Ruehle said: "...all residents would have been impacted if Bill Lorbeer got his way and turned all of the public parking spaces in front of his many Belmont Shore commercial properties into parklets." I am confused, which I freely admit happens to me far more often than I would prefer. Still, when Mr. Lorbeer states quite clearly, above, that he "...would be willing to simply let this matter quietly get forgotten, but some Commissioners would like to revisit the issue", what Ruehle believes he is *actually* saying is that he really wants to "turn all of the public parking spaces in front of his many Belmont Shore commercial properties into parklets"? Curious...
Mike Ruehle November 17, 2012 at 07:36 AM
That's because I've heard Lorbeer talk out of both sides of his mouth many times before. How many times did we hear the Parking Commission idea for valet parking for certain 2nd street businesses was dead, only to have it reappear two years later and then two more years later? How many times did we hear about the Parking Commission backing away from trying to turn the Livingston Park Tot Lot children's playground into a parking lot for their businesses, only to try to do so again two years later? The Parking Commission has nothing to do with parking. The Parking Commission appointed by Councilman Delong is all about using taxpayers money to create more wealth for 2nd street commercial property owners.
John B. Greet November 17, 2012 at 04:28 PM
Interesting Ruehle and, if true, I can understand why you might be annoyed. Still, is it truly unreasonable for a business or businesses to want to provide valet parking for customers, particularly in an area with precious little parking? That is a very attractive service and I will use it whenever I can, even at some higher-end shopping malls. If we can agree it is a reasonable business practice, can we not also agree that a business or businesses might seek to re-visit the idea periodically, hoping that local public sentiment about the issue might have changed? This, too, seems reasonable to me. I understand that the Parking Commission has a wider scope than just parking (its tortuous full name does include the phrase "business improvement" after all.) Also, can it not be said that growing and supporting area businesses serves to support and enrich the community in which those businesses exist? The various taxes and fees that Belmont Shore businesses agree to assess themselves should rightly be controlled by representatives from the business community. The parking fees, however, belong to the public, not the businesses, and as such, I think the public (as represented by area residents) should have more of a say than they currently do in how those funds are used. Last, I don't think Mr. DeLong has the authority to appoint any Commissioner entirely on his own. He can recommend and endorse, certainly, but the full Council and Mayor have to appoint. Correct?
Mike Ruehle November 17, 2012 at 08:32 PM
The District 3 City Councilman's recommendation for parking commissioners has ALWAYS been approved. There has never been an instance where a District 3 Councilman did not approve a Belmont Shore Parking Commissioner. Furthermore, the Belmont Shore Residents Association (BSRA) recommendation for the SOLE resident representative Parking Commissioner has ALWAYS been approved, as clearly indicated in the ordinance. THAT IS, UNTIL DeLong was elected Councilman. Councilman DeLong has entirely ignored the recommendation of the BSRA since elected Councilman as well as the language of the Parking Commission ordinance.
John B. Greet November 17, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Well, Ruehle, if what you say is true then at least the poor folks of the 3rd Council District need only "suffer" under Mr. Delong's representation for less than two more years. It might have been a considerably shorter time, of course, but folks like you and others were pretty intent upon making sure he would not be elected to Congress. Had he been elected, he would be moving on much sooner and then you and his other chronic detractors could have helped to influence the election of his replacement. Perhaps you and some others are finding that sort of unfortunate right about now.

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