LONG BEACH — A planned community with eucalyptus-lined streets and compatible business facades will replace the hilly strip of oil fields northwest of the Los Alamitos Traffic Circle under a long-term development plan and zoning changes approved this week by the Planning Commission.
The property is part of a 96-acre finger of land that extends across Obispo Avenue and into Signal Hill. It is owned by Alamitos Land Co., which is proposing the planned development for all of the acreage.
The 55 acres on the Long Beach side compose the city's largest undeveloped parcel outside the harbor area. Thursday, planning commissioners approved a long-term land-use plan for the property and rezoned it from residential and manufacturing to a planned development designation, which allows the combination of homes, stores and office buildings sought by Alamitos Land.
Commissioners also approved an environmental impact report that was completed by Long Beach on behalf of both Long Beach and Signal Hill.
However, Signal Hill Planning Director Christine Shingleton said her department was not adequately consulted and may require additional studies before development can proceed in Signal Hill.
No Project Plans
Shingleton said her department could not adequately evaluate the joint environmental report because the developer has not submitted project plans yet.
"I feel it is being bulldozed," she said.
Jean Gath, the project designer retained by Alamitos Land, said the project is being handled in Long Beach first to expedite it.
The property has been owned by Alamitos Land Co. of Long Beach since the firm incorporated 97 years ago. Oil was discovered there in 1921 but wells are beginning to run dry, Gath said. Development will be phased over the next 20 years to allow time for the last of the oil to be pumped out.
Gath compared the project to "a small-scale Irvine."
"The idea is people will be able to live, work and shop within a small area," she said.
In Signal Hill the land is bounded on the west by Temple Avenue and on the north by Hathaway Avenue.
In Long Beach, the irregularly shaped lot extends almost to Pacific Coast Highway and is bounded by Reservoir Drive East, 20th Street, Obispo Avenue, Hill Street and Hathaway Avenue. The first phase of the development--440 homes on 17.6 acres wedged between Reservoir Drive East and Hathaway Avenue--is expected to break ground in about a year. Homes will probably cost between $90,000 and $100,000, Gath said.
Business Parks Planned
Over the next five years, business parks along Redondo Avenue or Hill Street will be built, she said. Eventually, business parks will make up three-quarters of the rectangle bounded by Hill Street, Obispo Avenue, 20th Street and Redondo Avenue. The southeast quadrant will be developed into a six-acre shopping center, according to the plan.
The city is requiring Alamitos Land Co. to conduct an earthquake study before building because fault lines are known to crisscross the area.
The developer must also widen 20th Street, Redondo Avenue and Hill Street; extend Hathaway Avenue between Termino Avenue and Redondo Avenue, and Loma Avenue between Hathaway Avenue and Stearns Drive, and pay for signal lights at two intersections. Gath said the improvements will cost several hundred thousand dollars.
On the Signal Hill side, houses are planned for 17 acres in the area northeast of Temple Avenue and Hill Street. Hathaway Business Park, already open at Hill and Obispo streets, is the first phase of a 24-acre industrial park that is also planned by Alamitos Land Co. Eventually, the park will extend west from Hathaway Avenue and north from Hill Street and back up against the proposed residential development to the west.
Office Building Approved
Also Thursday, commissioners approved plans for a six-story office building and parking garage proposed for the downtown block bounded by Broadway, Pacific Avenue, First Street and Pine Avenue.