Councilmember Pearce Proposes Streamlining Conditional Use Permit Process

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Last night, Councilmember Jeannine Pearce put forward a proposal to streamline the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) process, making it more accessible for neighborhoods and affordable for businesses. The agenda item, which was co-sponsored by Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez, Councilman Al Austin, and Councilwoman Stacy Mungo, was passed unanimously by the Long Beach City Council.

“After talking with business owners both on and off the campaign trail, it became clear that we are working with a piecemeal process that has red tape and inconsistencies,” said Councilmember Pearce. “I believe government should work to be transparent and streamlined. This step will allow us to start from scratch, see what other cities have done, and establish a process that protects neighborhoods while also encouraging businesses to grow.” 

CUPs are critical to making sure that residents have a say in the types of businesses that operate in their neighborhoods, but the permit can cost up to $10,000 with a lengthy, complicated process and no guarantee.

The agenda item directs the City Manager to work with the City Attorney, the Economic Development Commission and the Planning Commission to review and make written recommendations pertaining to CUPs, including:

  • Uses which require a CUP.
  • Efforts to make the CUP process more cost effective.
  • Streamlining the public noticing process related to CUPs.
  • Expediting CUP modifications for existing businesses.
  • Creating a simplified CUP process for existing businesses opening another location (or extending hours)

The CUP process requires that all owners and tenants within a 750-foot radius be notified by mail, which could be up to 2,000 notices for a Downtown business. An estimated 40 percent of these notifications get returned or are never delivered.

“We should be looking into ways to reach the public more effectively while also reducing costs,” said Councilmember Jeannine Pearce.

Several local business owners as well as the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) and the Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce came out to speak in support of the agenda item.

“The cost of the CUP application with the added policy that the money is non-refundable if the CUP is rejected almost blocked us from pursuing the business in Long Beach,” wrote Jim Ritson and Sophia Sandoval, owners of 4th Street Vine, in a letter to the City Council.

The discussion will be presented to the Economic Development Commission and Planning Commission. It will also be discussed at a Small Business Round Table hosted by Councilmember Pearce, Austin, Gonzalez, and Mungo where local businesses will be able to provide their own recommendations for how to improve the CUP process.

For more information, contact the 2nd District Office at 562.570.2222 or email julia.gould@longbeach.gov

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