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Long Beach mulls over tearing down a house for more parking

| February 26, 2014

Belmont Shore, in Long Beach, California, is playing host to a major tussle over parking. Business owners in the neighborhood want more parking so that their customers can shop easily, but homeowners are objecting to a proposal to tear down a house to create more parking spots, saying that will spoil the ambiance of the area.

“We have homeowners who want this to be a quiet little seaside community and the business owners who want it to be like the strip in Vegas,” says Mike Sheldrake, president of the business association.

Other options haven’t gained steam

Although the city has explored options like handing out bus passes to employees on the strip so that they don’t have to commute by car, they haven’t caught on. Shuttling people from beach lots hasn’t found favor with residents, who don’t want these vehicles on their streets at all, and businesses seem likely to object if meter rates were raised.

At $80,000 a spot for eight additional parking spots, some people wonder if buying out the house is worth it. “Doing nothing is not a solution,” says Parking Commission Chair Bill Lorbeer. The commission voted in favor of the home purchase, but the City Council will make the final call.

Belmont Shore neighborhood

Residents want to see more neighbors, not more cars. Image by Ken Lund.

Business owners have been collecting parking funds for 25 years

For a quarter of a century, business owners in the area have been paying a tax toward increased parking. If the house is purchased, it will be the first time the funds collected will have been used.

“As a business owner, I pay per employee for parking that doesn’t exist,” says Tula Trigonis, who runs a salon on the strip. “I know people hate change. But I was born and raised here…and I plan on being in business for another 20 years.”

Another business owner is not in favor of the proposal. “What you’re doing is you’re changing the lives of people for the worse,” says Don Dame, who has lived in the area for five decades.

Three decades ago, when a bank bought a house for parking, homeowners stalled the use of parking lots for ten years, but it may be a different story now. Local business owners are more united and powerful today, so the two sides of the conflict look evenly matched.

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Category: Parking

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A graduate in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, India, Nupur also has an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies, Delhi University. Nupur is currently trying to be as savvy a cook as she is with a book. She likes watching plays and sunsets. Nupur first lived in Kolkata and then for a decade in Delhi, still her favorite city.

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