December 4, 2009

We Win (I hope)!

The Planning Commission exercised common sense last night and required that a condition to the requested permit be added which directs Mr. Hitchcock to work in conjunction with City Staff and produce a restoration plan to restore the site to what it was before the illegal activity.

Excellent!

It was a long evening, with proceedings lasting about 3 hours, but it was worth the wait.

The very first appellant, Sandie Van Horn with the group Our Town-Long Beach, absolutely hit it out of the park and set the tone for what was to come. Though all presentations were good, her power point was so well thought out and, I believe, the most effective presentation of the evening.

She matter-of-factly laid out a series of pictures to demonstrate the timeline. She started with the many pictures showing what the site looked like before (whoever says that isn't possible clearly hasn't talked to Sandie), then pictures of the destruction in process, then pictures of what it looked like now.

It was a rather chilling display to see it all laid out like that. Chilling and a little sad to see what it was before, the habitat teeming with wildlife, and then see it now...a leveled field. Even sadder, however, was when Mr. Hitchcock's attorney came up later and said that (essentially) nope, it looks exactly the same today as it did before. Yeah okay.

Ultimately, however, the restoration plan must be produced and then back to Planning we go.

My ardent hope is that City staff and Mr. Hitchcock work CLOSELY with the California Coastal Commission in determining what should be incorporated into the restoration plan. Inter-agency communication and coordination would go a long way towards the production of a meaningful restoration plan. The last thing we need would be to see a restoration plan which only pays lip service to the term "restoration."

In any event, thank you to all who attended and to those that spoke.