April 4, 2010

Second + PCH Project Needs Critical Review

As posted earlier, the Second + PCH development team has ramped up their efforts to generate support for their Project in advance of the soon to be released Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

I believe that, in principle, they have it exactly right: you need to make your voice heard. You need to speak out. I just find their timing curious.

Ultimately, the Second + PCH development team is asking for you to support the Project before you know how it will impact southeast Long Beach.

And I think that is a patently bad idea.

Within the next few weeks the EIR will be made publicly available. At that time, the environmental impacts associated with the proposed development will be revealed. We'll soon know how many additional cars the project will generate per day. We'll know if they can successfully mitigate traffic at one of the most congested intersections in Long Beach. We'll know all that and more. That's important, right? To know how a proposed development is going to impact you before you make up your mind?

Well, apparently it's not. The Second + PCH development team doesn't want you to wait for all that. They want you to call your councilperson ASAP and voice support. Write your letters now, before you know the impacts. Petition the decision makers today, encouraging them "to vote YES when second+pch comes up for a vote!"

In the support letter they think you should have written weeks ago, they suggest you state that, "the project has the architectural style, residential and commercial spaces and cultural amenities that I want." They tell you to extol the economic benefits of the Project. As quick as you can, they tell you to tell the decision makers that "this is the right project at the right time for Long Beach."

They tell you what to say, but what they aren't telling you is to wait and look at the project's impacts. No, no, they don't want you to focus on those.

Personally, it makes me wonder why. Is it because the environmental impacts are significant? Is it because the traffic simply can't be mitigated, and for many that's a deal breaker? I dunno, but I guess we'll soon find out.

Fundamentally, I believe that this Project should be reviewed with a critical eye. The environmental impacts should be weighed against the Project's benefits. A decision to support or oppose should be made in light of full information, with all factors considered.

And shame on the Second + PCH development team, or anyone for that matter, who recommends otherwise.