The goal with PERA (Public Equestrian Rest Area) is to have it constructed in another location, one that is more appropriate for public use, in a location that will not disrupt an established residential equestrian zone and one that has the access and some infrastructure already in place and is more suitable for a public/commercial type of facility. The former PERA was north of Wardlow, in the more commercial equestrian zone designated by the City of Long Beach in 1977. The former PERA was also where the LB Mounted Guard kept their horses. When they sold their land and the public stables adjacent were removed, some of the land was acquired by the City of LB and it was turned into a dog park. There has been a methodical reduction in privately zoned equestrian residences and public equestrian facilities. PERA is attempting to commingle residential equestrian zoned homes and their private/specific needs with a public type facility. PERA will actually reduce facilities that serve our homes and will further reduce equestrian facilities overall in the region and create negative impacts not currently present for our established community. The corrals currently in place behind our homes, on the land where PERA is proposed, has been exclusively used by our community since 1922. We have been the stewards of the land all these years and any reduction in the lands we currently use will cause hardships that have not been mitigated.
Success would be to move PERA north of Wardlow. Success would be to fully execute the binding 1981 agreement for minimum private trail easements and the right to lock that access, retain the existing separate access road for manure removal ingress & egress, corrective action for flooding for my group of homeowners. It should also include permanent no-fee use permits for all the remaining corral space equal to the footprint of each of our 10 homes with easements to be recorded in favor of each individual homeowner and historic recognition to inhibit future high density zoning changes or un-mitigated project proposals to our zone.
Success should also include safety signage, multi-use trail right of way protocol signage the entire length of the trail system, no-motorized vehicle safety signage, entering equestrian zone signage and EDUCATION about the existence of the equestrian trails to other user groups in the area and the dangers of crossings and need to wait for horse and rider at all times when coming to a merger or crossing.
The greatest stumbling blocks:
- Elected officials not understanding the land, space and separation needs for horses in order to be healthy and properly maintained.
- Decision makers not seeing why the land behind our homes in addition to our large lots and proximity to the regional trail network are all pieces that work together and each are critical to our function and survival and that was the intent with the 1977 EIR and zoning.
- Decision makers not understanding why the privatized use of the “public” land is even more necessary today, especially due to the encroachment of the urban environment, and the safety hazards that come with a urban mixed use environment without separate area for the horses.
- Planners having a “vision” that does not include the needs of minority communities like ours and a planning process that is using a lens of “urbanization/development $” vs. retention of visible living history and protecting the lands needed for our functional survival without multi-use encroachments.
- Not enough number of voices to make a dent in votes for politicians who don’t support our concerns.
- Fear of persecution and/or retaliatory measures.
- Multiple agencies and opponents who have unlimited resources.
- Getting the word out to prompt public outcry and support in order to solicit funding to fight multiple large agencies.
Timelines of importance:
1947 – Trail network legislation for City of LB, County of LA for regional trail preservation
1977 – City of Long Beach established 6 equestrian zones, 2 in Wrigley, one of which is mine and detailed EIR produced to protect & preserve the equestrian lifestyle.
2/5/81 – County of LA accepted deposit 10% from equestrian homeowners (2 blocks) at the time for minimum easement rights over County land and permits issued. Minimum easements negotiated due to City and County desire to develop high density housing between river channel and equestrian homes. High density development on that land was fought and lost.
1987-1989 – City of Long Beach, ignored equestrian protective zoning, approved high density development in one of the 2 equestrian zones in LB.
1996 – LA River Master Plan – acknowledges Wrigley equestrian zone, but give entire river an exemption claiming there are no “communities” affected in the subject project zone.
2000 approx – City of Long Beach approved high density development on San Francisco Ave (one of 2 blocks) zoned for equestrian with large lots.
2007 – Wrigley Greenbelt Trail project (Willow to 34th) announced by Knabe that $1M of Prop A funds toward “significant environmental projects along L.A. River” – project approved and given “exemption” from CEQA despite many probable impacts to existing equestrians.
1981 – 2013 – Wrigley Equestrians continue to attempt to complete the agreement for easement with County. County still retains 10% deposit to this day. Officials indicate that Wrigley Greenbelt trail will build around our block, and the block was bid as “NIS”, not in scope and we’d be left untouched.
2011 – City attempts to take Lawler driveway based on “complaints. Mediation hearing rules in favor of City despite lack of discretion by City officials, inaccurate survey and only ingress/egress for Lawler garages and horses.
2013 – 2016 – Wrigley equestrians meet with multiple agencies in effort to complete easement agreement. County attempts to change terms of agreement multiple times and does not allow for completion.
2013-2015 – County offers land where PERA later proposed for sale for $1M, unreasonable price, inaccurate appraisal, pulls offer before sale agreement can be completed.
2015 AB530 voted into law. Courts determined the lower LA river is not owned by the City of LA, County of LA or Flood Control – sovereignty is retained with the State of CA meaning the land in question is subject to Public Trust Doctrine and State Legislature is Trustee, State Lands Commission jurisdiction.
11/18/16 PERA is rolled out for the first time. Meeting called by multiple agencies with 10 homeowners. Majority indicated they did not want PERA at our location. PERA added they said to bridge “gap” in Wrigley Greenbelt trail project, so much for leaving us alone.
12/1/15 County sent letter that they were going to acknowledge the 1981 agreement, that Knabe would pay the balance, BUT that letter attempted to change the terms of the original agreement, cut our easement in ½ and other omissions.
10/6/16 City sends Lawler letter that they are taking Lawler driveway but give no details only state it was due to complaints and reference “the project”.
12/6/16 Public awareness meeting, but the only notices received seemed to be the 10 homeowners.
3/11/16 Wrigley equestrians accepted Knabe’s offer to pay the balance for the 1981 contract and ask that it be recorded.
2/22/16 On site visit to corral area behind our homes and threatened to remove all the corrals by 5/1.
3/28/16 Public awareness meeting, included members of Wrigley community, WANA (Wrigley Alliance Neighborhood Assn) & others, majority opposed PERA at this location.
2016 multiple e-mails and letters about the 1981 easement, when it would be recorded and input to edit PERA, size, location etc. County resists recording the easement.
5/1/16 County threatened to remove all corrals on the block, date came & went.
October 2016 – Knabe announces 2.6 million in funds he “found” to give to LB Parks & Rec ($325K for Wrigley Greenbelt Trail to replace Prop A funds that expired 12/2015). Wrigley Greenbelt Trail and PERA are related, intentionally segmented projects to avoid CEQA.
11/1/16 Lawler & 2 advocates spoke at BOS meeting to oppose PERA approval, citing environmental concerns un-mitigated, history, unresolved easement agreements. Letters of opposition included CARP (Citizens About Responsible Planning, Audobon Society and individuals. 1 Spoke in favor. No questions or discussion BOS approved.
Clock ticking – 30 days to file against CEQA exemption for PERA, before 12/1/16.