2nd & PCH waterfront development stalled after citizens plead case for palm trees

California Coastal Commission foils developer, Long Beach city staff in removing trees on Marina Drive, which serve as nesting grounds for Great Blue Heron, until public hearing is held.

LONG BEACH—If the titular character from Dr. Seuss’s classic children’s book “The Lorax” was not fictional, he would undoubtedly be pleased by the California Coastal Commission’s decision to speak for the trees on Marina Drive in Long Beach.

Luxury coastal developments are becoming increasingly common these days as city officials look to capitalize on one of the best assets in Southern California: proximity to the water. Among those cities is Long Beach, where the retail shopping development near Pacific Coast Highway and 2nd Street – aptly called 2nd & PCH – is growing closer to its official opening. Though the retail outlet, which is walking distance to the newly revamped Alamitos Bay, has been on a relatively smooth road, it was only a matter of time before a bump – or in this case palm trees – got in the way.

A group called Citizens About Responsible Planning brought the tree removal to the attention of the California Coastal Commission. It has been found that the palm trees on Marina Drive have been a nesting location for Great Blue Herons, which are federally protected. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, the animals cannot be removed or relocated.

City staff stated in an article by The Grunion that they were unaware that permits would be necessary to remove the trees. Councilmember Robert Uranga stated, “the city had bent over backwards to accommodate concerns over the trees and the Great Blue Herons that use them for nests.” A public hearing with the Coastal Commission will need to take place at a later date to further decide the direction for removing – or finding another solution for – the trees.

This is not the first time developers CenterCal have received backlash for their projects. Citizens of Redondo Beach famously retaliated against a waterfront development that locals referred to as “The Mall by The Sea.” The result was an enduring lawsuit between the developer and the city.

Long Beach city officials, however, are hopeful 2nd and PCH will see a new business boom in their city.

Long Beach Deputy Director of Economic Development, Sergio Ramirez, told Long Beach Business Journal, “It’s kind of like a bomb of positivity that’s just going to explode and help everything around there. It’s going to bring new business to 2nd and PCH, but as a spillover, it’s going to benefit 2nd Street.”

The Log reached out to CenterCal representatives via email, but did not hear back in time for press. In the meanwhile, The Grunion reported that no work could be done on the trees until a Local Coastal Permit (LCP) was granted.

For more information about the development 2nd & PCH, visit the website at cetercal.com/2nd-pch.

Photo: Stephanie Rivera (@StephRivera88) Twitter

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