Dianne Sundstrom, President, welcomed everyone and introduced the BHCA board members that were present.
Maureen Neeley, Secretary, asked everyone to review and approve the minutes from the Oct. 13th meeting. Approved.
John Fries, Treasurer, noted that we have about $1800 in our account, out of which the newsletter printer will be paid. Also, some of the ads have been paid through the year; approximately $400 of ad revenue for the winter edition is still outstanding.
Julie Maleki, Councilman DeLong’s Administrative Analyst, updated us on:
Termino AveDrain – we are one year into the 3-year project. Major work will result in the closure of the intersection of Termino and 8th through the end of April. See our website for updated information.
VistaBike Path – Party on December 12 was well-attended. Signal at Redondo is just for bikes to drive straight through on Vista. Cars must turn. Aware that many complaints have been received on Mira Mar roundabout. The City will be taking another look at that intersection.
Tree Planting upcoming on Monday, Jan. 17, at Anaheim and Palo Verde. Julie asked for volunteers.
405 Closures still a “moving target” date. Links to OCTA on BHCA website. Dianne encouraged anyone who wants timely updates to sign up for personal notification.
Board nominations are now open. Dianne encouraged anyone who was interested in joining the BHCA Board to give her a call.
January Newsletter (1st quarter, 2011) is now out and nearly delivered. Maureen noted we have a new graphic designer, Mark Brown, and congratulated him on getting out a beautiful new issue. We may possibly expand the number of pages and will need more advertisers, so all residents were encouraged to contact us with potential advertising clients.
Guest Speaker: Commander Lisa Lopez, LBPD, East Division
Commander since June 2010 and is an East Long Beach native.
Crime rates: Increase in garage burglaries. Property and auto-related crimes are, for the most part, crimes of opportunity in this neighborhood. However, there have been a series of cat burglaries starting in 2008 that may all be related. They may also be linked to attempted sexual assaults in the home; suspect enters through an unlocked passage when he KNOWS a female is home alone. The PD has been putting a lot more resources into the SE neighborhood and she encourages everyone to call 911 if they see something suspicious. You can call 911 from a cell phone in Long Beach too.
Question on self-defense, especially for women. Commander Lopez noted that if you choose to carry pepper spray or a taser, you must practice and also know it can be taken away from you and used on you by an attacker. She recommended starting with a dog and a BIG flashlight (that could be used as a self-defense weapon) when walking alone. Also, Parks and Recreation often has classes on self defense.
Neighborhood Watch program is defunct, and the LBPD no longer has a Community Service department. The new chief is working to get that back. In the meantime, the Commander is more than willing to assist in scheduling a presentation by a rep from the PD to interested groups of individuals.
Residents can also sign up to get text and email messages about crimes and other concerns for the neighborhood. Go to www.nixle.com. Other news is that citizens can anonymously report suspicious activity at www.lbpd.gov. Encouraged everyone to report graffiti to the graffiti hotline as soon as it is seen. 570-2773.
F. Commander Lopez will provide Dianne with info on recommended specs for a home camera monitoring system. Please look for that information to be posted on our website.
Guest Speaker: Bill Lorbeer, President, Belmont Shore Parking Advisory Commission
Presented two possible designs for a Gateway Sign to be erected at two points: over Livingston near Second Street and on Second Street at Claremont.
Alan Burkes, Environ Architects, presented a brief overview of the design. Tom Farrand, market research consultant, gave an overview of the survey that was taken on the design. Results of the survey and design specs can be found on the BHCA website.
Questions and comments ensued.
Resident noted that there was no option on survey for “No Sign” or “Keep current sign.” Answer from Tom Farrand: Objective of survey was to find out if residents approved of one of the two proposed designs for a gateway sign, not on whether or not to keep the current sign. The first question was “Do you like the concept of a Gateway sign?” 46% like the idea of a gateway sign a lot / 22% like the idea somewhat. Therefore, 68% were in favor – to varying degrees – of the concept of a gateway sign. Margin of error = + or - 8%.
Public funding – Is this a good and appropriate use of Belmont Shore Parking meter revenue? Can’t this money be used for more important projects like a signal at Pomona and Claremont? The presenters did not know what the actual and final cost of the signs will be because it is just in the concept phase now. No structural/engineering costs have been estimated. The $55,000 allocated pays for the cost of taking plans to City Council but not beyond.
Lighting – the architect assured that lighting will be carefully designed without spill.
Is keeping the current sign, along with new sign, a possibility? Although Mr. Lorbeer, at one point, stated the old sign would be retained, it was generally felt that the two designs would conflict and look cluttered.
Concern raised with having this type of Gateway sign looking “mall” like and “suburban”. Not sure if this concept is conducive to being “neighborhood-friendly”.
Does using Parking Commission money for this exceed its charter?
As a Business Improvement Development, money must be used in the business district only. There are three funds:
Parking revenue – Allows for very general
Mello-Roos property tax – Allows self determination for use of money
B.I.D. money – Business owners pay extra and that money is used to run the business association
Note: The question of whether or not this project exceeds the charter of the Commission was not definitively answered. Nor was the question of what fund (of those identified above) monies for the sign would come from answered.
Sign is “overbearing”.
Businesses are suffering. They need and want this sign to help define the neighborhood. They deserve something more glamorous than the current wooden sign.
Proposed signage would not add “glam.” It looks cluttered.
The size of the sign and amount of space it covers, along with the proposed “wave” design, are at odds with character of street. Can the businesses use the billboards that are already in place to advertise events?
Additional banners, attached to the signs, to advertise events would be too much for the street.
Alternative idea of using banner poles down the median was dismissed as being too cluttered.
Comment was made that if a gateway sign is what the businesses have their hearts set on, then choose a design that complements the architecture and character of the street. By and large, Second Street uses a Streamline Moderne style – post earthquake – and one of the signs being considered is of a “New Orleans” wrought iron design. This it totally out of place in this location and doesn’t speak to Long Beach’s architecture. Fake historicism cheapens the neighboring properties.
Does Second Street really need something that is so suburban in its execution? Long Beach is urban, yet gateway signs such as these are used mostly in suburban areas to let people know they’ve “arrived.” This design may have the opposite effect of what the businesses want.
March meeting will feature Thomas Fields with an overview of the city’s Master Bike Plan.
Submitted by Maureen Neeley, BHCA Secretary
January 17, 2011
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