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LONG BEACH : Neighbors Oppose Low-Income Housing

October 06, 1994|JOHN COX

A Long Beach charity's plan to turn an apartment building on the city's eastside into low-income family housing has sparked opposition by neighbors who say the project would burden an area that is already crowded.

Neighbors of the building at 2844 E. 3rd St. say the project would increase crime, noise and parking problems because planned renovations would allow more tenants.

Some residents have also expressed fears that an influx of low-income neighbors would lower property values. They also want the property's new owner, the nonprofit Gumbiner Family Foundation, to begin consulting with them about the project.

A representative of the charity organization, which is backed by Long Beach philanthropist Josephine Gumbiner, said that planned renovations will mitigate the project's impact on the neighborhood. The new owners plan to build noise barriers, a playground and indoor recreation facilities, said Alis Gumbiner, a member of the foundation's executive board.

The foundation has not decided who will be living in the building but is aware of neighbors' concerns about accepting too many homeless people as tenants, Gumbiner said.

"We don't want people moving into the building where the whole neighborhood hates them," she said.

Members of the 2nd District Neighborhood Assn. began organizing opposition to the project after the foundation sent eviction notices in late August to 48 residents, seven of them senior citizens. Tenants were given $500 and one month's rent and were offered assistance in finding a new residence if they agree to leave by the end of October.

The foundation ordered the evictions to allow contractors to begin combining some one-bedroom apartments into two-bedroom apartments to accommodate more families. The renovations will reduce the number of units from 30 to 26, Gumbiner said.

Councilman Alan S. Lowenthal, whose district includes the neighborhood, said he hopes to call in a professional mediator to help resolve the conflict. He added that although he supports the Gumbiners' goal of affordable housing, the area's residential development is already too dense.

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