Development vs. Tourism vs. Status quo: THE BATTLE OF LONG BEACH FUTURE

What shall the future of Long Beach be? Can smart development pave the way for a sustainability wonderland by the sea?  Should we look at tourism to help keep our taxes down and businesses up? Or just live in status quo and accept the trend of growing expenses in an aging city?simcity

Development vs. Tourism vs. Status Quo

This topic has been blogged to death (see: /?tag=what-do-we-want), but I feel it’s worth entertaining again as our city appears to be in the mist of a rebuild rebirth.

Many want Long Beach to not grow – no gimmicks on the boardwalk, they fear development because of parking and traffic (there is traffic?) and seem to be ok with the surplus of nail salons, pizza and bars. Others feel it’s essential that Long Beach grows. Reason being: Our city is aging, taxes are going up, expenses are going up, we need a lot of $ to fix our aging infrastructure,  want more variety in stores/restaurants that can only be achieved with some sort of  population growth (more residents or tourists).

My two knocks against status quo are as follows:

I fear the vacancies. I fear high taxes. I want a more lively downtown with more variety. I also want more things to do here in the winter. That is why I think Long Beach needs some sort of shot in the arm – be it though tourism, smart development, BIDS, etc.  (Hey, whatever happened to the Local development Corp?) Oh the so many things I blogged about before that I w’d love to see here in Long Beach: Performing Arts Center/ Music venue, quaint downtowns, marina and so forth. To me, status quo will give us none of that.

I recently heard about three local restaurants that are up for sale. While I’m not at the liberty of saying which ones, it is a trend to be concerned about. There are so many theories why businesses could struggle here: high rent (which includes high taxes, insurance, maintenance), not enough pull from the rest of Long Island or they have to resort to alcohol as the only means of survival. Hmmm…. If that is the case, status quo does nothing, but make the situation worse since expenses, taxes, rents are going nowhere, but up. 

How do you folks feel? Am I overacting about status quo? Do we need growth? Development? Tourism? Discuss…

Development

Screen Shot 2014-09-25 at 9.16.44 AMA denser Long Beach could bring more year round residents who will support our local businesses. Smart development will ease traffic, parking and congestion with little impact to your daily lives.

Tourism

LBSUMMERTOWNLong Beach is indeed a summer town and relies on summer dollars. Should we expand on that to keep our cost of living down? What about tourism in the winter months?

Status Quo

Leave things alone, but prepare for higher rents, taxes, expenses and many of these signs: forrent

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26 thoughts on “Development vs. Tourism vs. Status quo: THE BATTLE OF LONG BEACH FUTURE”

  1. To be quite honest, I don’t want more Long Islander’s coming to LB. Aren’t most of the complaints of West End residents based on the “tourists” who trash the place every summer weekend?

    While it will never happen, I would love if LB took notes from the nicer NJ shore towns vs. going further into the “EVERYONE COME HERE!” model.

  2. Why does it have to be that we need to pick one “side”? Can’t it be a combination of all of the above? Yes, it can! Yes, it can! It is called PLANNING PLANNING PLANNING! and we desperately need it.

    “Urban planners are usually hired by developers, private property owners, private planning firms and local/regional governments to assist in the large-scale planning of communal and commercial developments, as well as public facilities and transportation systems. Urban planners in the public role often assist the public and serve as technical advisors in the complex web of the community’s political environment. Related disciplines include community, cultural, environmental, historic preservation, housing, regional and transportation planning.”

  3. The city has planners and they do an amazing job. Anyone who says otherwise clearly has an axe to grind and is just building phony talking points to support the Republicans in 2015. Your goal is to fire jack and replace his cabinet with all your unemployed friends.

  4. Wow. Kellys is probably on the money here. I had the opportunity to meet Patti Bourne and Megan Porter at an event recently and I was really impressed. They had some bright young interns too. When did Long Beach City ever have planners before Schnirman? I don’t think ever. Attacking the city about planning is a pretty empty talking point. Back to the drawing board Jessie. Maybe you can recycle Jimmy Hennessy and Mona Goodman’s “Stop the over development” signs and grasp at those straws.

  5. definitely some sort of Master Plan would be great if it was adopted and we can see what exactly the city visions how development should be. I wasn’t so much asking people to pick one, I was just saying those are three options for paths that I see our city going.

  6. Hi Peter, I guess I am confused, I thought Patti Bourne was hired through a grant (JPB Foundation) as the City’s Director of Economic Development. I also understand that the grant that funds their salaries will run out shortly. When Global Green put together their Sustainable Neighborhood Assessment (in cooperation with the City of LB) they clearly indicated that the need for planning is real. And I quote …

    “Action Item: 1. Full Time Planning Staff: Long Beach is in
    critical need of full time planning professionals
    that can help the city establish policies that
    engender vibrant, sustainable neighborhoods.
    Though planning positions have been funded
    through May 2015 with a grant, the city should
    consider a long term strategy to fund these
    critical positions.”

  7. OH Yes the JPB Foundation formed by Jeffry and Barbara Picower. Mr Picower is somewhat of a investing legend, two of his accounts posted staggering returns of between 120 and 550 percent a year from 1996 to 1999, another account experienced a return of 950% in 1999.

    Forget these meager donations for economic development, we should have hired him to manage the books for the city.

  8. Jack didn’t even want to hire her he was forced too! Ask anyone who knows the story on her! She does nothing ask the business owners and they all will tell you the truth. Waste of grant money.

  9. Rumor control, please: in terms of LB as a summer destination, “I’ve heard” that the City of LB loses money on every person who goes to the beach in the summer. In other words, it costs more to operate than admission charges take in. I’d always figured it was a gold mine. Of course, this is not including secondary profits such as PR, beer sales, Allegria stays, etc. Is this “losing money” thing just an Urban Legend? I did look at budget paperwork in the past but couldn’t figure this out.

    Sorry to interrupt the flame fest about evil-doers.

  10. If there is formal urban planning taking place in Long Beach that will be news to a lot of people. The city has a master plan that they allocate money to update every few years, but it seems like that is the only time it ever comes out of the drawer. The “development” staff seem to primarily focus on Economic Development issues in the form of identifying and applying for grants the city is eligible for. Getting those grants is a good thing for the city, but it still leaves that planning issue dangling out there.

    I understand that there was a group of residents last year that was working with an urban planning company, trying to come up with a plan for Long Beach, but the city chose not to participate in the process. That could have been a missed opportunity, at least to see what the possibilities are.

    There is a middle ground that can fulfill the wish of those that want to see a more vibrant community and those concerned about quality of life. Instead of growth, how about revitalization. What’s the difference? Growth is adding multistory towers, splitting lots and replacing one family homes with multifamily homes. Revitalization is updating (visually and socially), but in keeping with the character of the neighborhood. It is making the city a vibrant place to visit (and live), without negatively impacting the quality of life of the residents. There are a number of towns that have done it with great success on Long Island. But that kind of revitalization has two key components, good planning and the political will to move forward. Whether we have either is up for debate.

  11. We got our guy in for assembly and not Zapson’s picks. Who to say we won’t force a primary on the Democrat Line for city council. Democrats are tired of Zapson and his puppet council and city manager!

  12. Can someone do a few math problem for me? Lets say we build as many as 3 of those hideous 15 story towers with and average of 500 units in each. What would be the average LB tax collected on 1500 apartments? In a second math problem, start factoring in the increased cost of city services like additional police, fire, and maintenance-sanitation salaries/benefits/healthcare costs. Where does it put us? .

  13. I am sorry to say it but overdevelopment (sub-divisions and towers) will not get us the money needed and neither will more tourism. We need a mix of things:
    – greater fiscal controls and accountability
    – development that stays within the character of the existing community
    – citizens who give a crap about the community they live in as opposed to some of the trash we have (and that’s any color)
    – attract more high net worth citizens as year round residents (or kids who’s parents are paying the bills, it worked for most of North brooklyn)
    – eliminate the fraud religious institutions who pay no taxes
    – better management of our union contracts (read LBPD)

    Other towns have done great jobs with revitalization without over development, we just need the right people to help make that a reality. I don’t think anyone is loofor this place to turn into bklyn or queens with multifamily row houses on every block.

  14. Hey Facebook Losers

    Todd Kaminsky isn’t “your guy”

    He’s Jay Jacobs’s guy and he bought the election.

    If you think you can primary Torres, Adelson and Eramo with McNally, Farrell and Treston…… And win…….. You must be on drugs.

    Who will be your city manager? Mitch Sahn?

  15. I don’t know how you grow a place with high taxes. Has that happened anywhere? It’s usually the low taxes and rents that attract new residents, businesses and tenants (ie. North Brooklyn and now towns along the hudson). The ship has sailed for that here.

    So I don’t know how you grow LB.

    The idea of maintaining a status quo seems far fetched. From what I’ve read there’s a lot of foreclosures here that will keep the real estate prices down, the taxes and insurance up, the schools have low ratings, and the cost of an LIRR ticket only increasing, there’s a lot of chips stacked against lb. Things will deteriorate, not maintain.

    A lot of people are defending politicians on here saying that they have a plan, they’ve talked to them, they know their shit – ok…what is that plan? A skate park? A government mired in law suits? Frustrated citizens (seemingly united) against over (and most) development? Putting the beach at risk of an environmental disaster?

  16. It doesn’t. The City loses money on tourism. Sure, the business owners make tons of money on it – what does that mean to the residents? Not much. How many of us own a bar or a restaurant or an ice cream shop? I don’t, do you. The City needs direct taxes on tourists – sales taxes on food & beverages, a tax on alcoholic beverages. No more free tourist parking on residential streets – want to park on the streets during the summer, $100 for a non-resident street parking season permit. Don’t want to pay – take the train or get a $100 parking ticket, or go to Jones Beach. No other oceanfront town allows unrestricted parking on residential streets by tourists. Tourists bring no net money to City coffers, and need lots of spending on services for police, sanitation, etc. The beach fees don’t even come close to covering it.

  17. Captain, you raise the right question: what’s the value vs. the cost of tourism? There are several cities/states/countries that have undertaken tourism studies, but one I like is from Santa Monica…a beachfront town that has been asking (and answering) this question since 1983.

    Go to http://www.santamonica.com/local-community/value-of-tourism/ and you can get a report on the $ involved and how they measure value.

    They summarize key bemefits this way:
    Santa Monica 2013 Tourism by the Numbers
    ■7.3 million visitors come to Santa Monica each year from outside of LA County.
    ■1.63 billion dollars is generated by tourism each year to our local economy.
    ■12,908 jobs are supported by tourism in Santa Monica.
    ■80% of hotel visitors do not use a car once they arrive in Santa Monica.

    But click the link to the 2-page summary since it shows the $ components e.g. how much revenue from hotels, restaurants etc. and a detailed report goes into costs as well.

    Of course this study and others also need to consider non-$ factors (e.g. change in arrests, parking availability, resident satisfaction) to assess the total value.

    Anthony, I recommend that the City undertake a tourism study similar to that completed by Santa Monica and other cities, developing a report on current and potential revenue/costs, coupled with a survey of resident beliefs on this topic.

  18. As a City, not a bedroom community, we are different than most L.I. communities. Bringing existing residents, new residents and visitors to our fairly substantial businesses district is critical to keeping those businesses open and preserving or adding value to our community and homes. Constant turnover of businesses and, worse, empty storefronts, destroys value.

    A plan for coordinated commercial development and support is critical to a viable and vibrant downtown. How the City appears from a visual perspective — thus incorporating residential development and design — impacts both the type of new resident and day-tripper coming in to LB, so it all must work together. I have not looked at the existing Master Plan in a while, but it does touch on a lot of this as I recall. To my mind, the Supertowers approval– whether you like tall buildings or not – was directly at odds with the type of coordinated development espoused by the Master Plan. The sort of ad hoc approach taken with that is just the type of approach taken in LB for decades resulting in the hodge-podge/patchwork residential and commercial development that exists.

    I don’t think LB will be a vacation destination, but will continue to be a day- and night-tripper place, and I think that’s fine, maybe best for the residents. The number and type and what they are doing/spending here are the critical inquiries. Good restaurants, a good theater, some neat shops and galleries and some live music, coupled with our beautiful boardwalk, would appear to be the recipe for a vibrant and viable downtown. Look at what has been done and is being done in Patchogue and Long Branch, and what already exists in Port Washington, Huntington, and Port Jeff. I heard recently about Patchogue’s revitalization from a friend who lives near there and has been night-tripping there with his wife and friends for dinner and music. Here’s a dated and newer article about it — http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/15/realestate/long-island-in-the-region-new-village-enlivens-old-one.html?_r=0 ; http://patch.com/new-york/patchogue/patchogue-village-revitalization-wave-still-building#.VDAlIr6T5N0.
    While not a beach town, RVC has a very nice commercial district.

    LIRR day trippers that stop at 5 Guys or Ginos and do nothing else is not adding a whole lot. Folks that would come down for dinner and a movie, and in good weather walk the boardwalk, maybe buy a trinket from a shop and coffee somewhere else, seems like a good plan to me.

    Train friends from Oside have said they used to come to the movie theater and Nagama several times a year and haven’t been back for dinner since the theater closed.

    The City management talks a lot about planning and grants, but little appears to get done that is of lasting effect. I understand the West End Civic Association or part of it got planners involved to speak to the City and the City did the usual thanks, but no thanks.

    So the question is how to get a plan and implement a plan. Community weight must be behind pushing the City and the commercial interests or it will not happen. 10 people pestering City Hall will not make a difference. A couple of hundred showing up at meetings would. IS that feasible? Yes, but it will take a lot of work beating the bushes to make that happen.

    PS — 5 guys and Ginos, who have boatloads of business, should be ashamed of the way they maintain that section of Park. Chamber of Commerce and City ought to do something about that right now.

  19. It seems like every post here suggests that government or taxpayer funded schemes will lead the way to prosperity.

    In most successful cases, the government assists development by being less involved, permitting business and the residents to prosper.

    Lower taxes, less restrictions should be part of the “plan”.

    Lower taxes by 25% and watch how business and higher-income residents flood Long Beach.

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