Home2023-08-28T17:05:06-04:00

Horses are still frolicking in Long Beach, but not for long, if place types zoning is approved. The LUE (Land Use Element) proposed with the General Plan has omitted the 20 pages horse overlay protective zoning that applies to 6 areas in Long Beach established in 1977 that was a result of an exhaustive environmental review. The Planning Commission on 8/17/17 in Long Beach voted for further public outreach and several commissioners realized the plan was not complete and needed further Citywide public input. However is seems that the Development Services, must be in the pocket of developers, (much of their fees are paid from permits) and they (Amy Bodek & Chris Koontz) ignored the Planning Commissioners vote and the volume of objections from citizens across the districts, and indicated this will go in front of the City Council for approval on 10/3/17 despite the Planning Commissions’ decision that it was not yet ready to do so.

Who is running the show downtown? Who is representing the interest of the citizens? Seems development is winning over what we the people want for our communities.

Place types will eliminate the last remnants of the rancho lifestyle. Development encroachment has been methodical sacrificing the large parcels that are critical habitat for this unique community.

In 1977 the horse overlay zoning established 6 protected zones; however, in less than a decade the City of Long Beach approved high density ignoring those protected zones: Countryside Lane in Wrigley Heights, 18 homes on the 3100 block San Francisco Avenue in Wrigley Heights, Removal of the public stable/arenas @ Wardlow, Removal of the LB Mounted guard facilities at Wardlow & Golden, Removal of the horse stables parallel to the terminal island freeway….and so on.

Eliminating the 1977 protected horse overlay zones shows that elected & appointed officials are continuing a pattern of not upholding prior legislative promises and there is no intent to address or mitigate for the negative impacts place types will impose on this already at risk equestrian community.

What does it take to have representation in this City? In the last 40 years the equestrians seem to have had none. Wrigley’s equestrians are in District #7 although there were equestrian zones established through the City, but we have not had any representation in decades, likely not since the 1940; nor has anyone in the City or County for that matter taken a serious stand for this historic group and prior protective zoning & legislation.

The equestrian community is at a disadvantage having become a minority. The horse can’t speak for itself and the bulk of the horse community if too fearful to be singled out and discouraged based on past abuses, so they resist going to meetings or filling out surveys . I have been the voice in the area for a long time and have suffered numerous negative impacts to my person, and property as a result. In the course of speaking out for the rights and needs of the horse community my reputation has been besmirched, we have been labeled “encroachers” by the Mayor’s office and others, and have been literally under attack in a variety of subtle and overt ways, all because we are fighting for our right to exist.

When discussing these concerns, I have been told “it’s too bad you (equestrians) don’t have a large majority of votes or enough media attention” and had Luis Garcia of Public Works in Febuary 2017 had the gall to say to me “why don’t you just move”.

When did our laws change to give rights of existence only to the majority or at the discretion of officials likely in the pocket of big development?

Allowing broad sweeping change such as “place types zoning” without adequate environmental review and mitigation to specifically address the historic & fragile horse community is wrong and should not be approved.

Why don’t we have any public servants representing the needs of the horse community when there is a duty represent us all?

In attempt to speak out and defend our rights of existence I have been threatened physically, harassed, treated with contempt, labeled an encroacher, had my rights of quiet enjoyment are abused and been virtually ignored by current & former politicians and officials.

Where are the defenders of the prior legislation that needs to be upheld before horses and our existence in the City and region is extinct?

Where does our charter, general plan or constitution state that only the majority or only those who can afford to gather political sentiment in their favor will be protected?

1700’s – Ortega & Anza brought settlers to California on horseback
1700s – King Carlos III deeded the river lands and it’s resource (later determined to be the people’s land, State land along the South LA River & still used by equestrians to this day).
1800’s – Bixby family drove sheep to market on horseback to San Francisco, contributing to the growth of the State’s economy and kept horses on the river lands.
1800s – Circuit judges rode horses contributing the growth of the nations’ judicial branch.
1947 Trail Legislation – Mapping of the historic horse trail network from the Mountains to the sea and all of Southern California by City of Long Beach and County of Los Angeles – trails have been corrupted, whittled down and are dangerous with motorcycles and bikers speeding along the crossing and elected officials resist installing proper signage, or consulting with the appropriate experts on horse trail needs, putting us all at risk.
1966 Trail Preservation Act – trails and the lands that support those trails that are an aggregate of 100 or more miles should be included but officials resist applying for that protection (due to high density development being a greater push).
Public Trust Doctrine – Indicates State Land (South LA River lands) cannot be sold, can be used by people(s) who have had a key part in the growth and development of the State and it’s economy (equestrians), yet Wrigley’s equestrians are being labeled as “encroachers”.
1977 Horse Overlay protective zoning for 6 districts in Long Beach to preserve the presence of horses and the equestrian lifestyle in Long Beach. 2 zones established in Wrigley, all have been whittled down dramatically in an attempt to eliminate them in favor of high density development. So much for following past legislation efforts when development dollars are waving in front of decision makers.
1981 – Wrigley equestrian private trail agreement, County threatened development, County took deposit, Knabe & county officials continue to attempt development with negative impact to horses, have still kept the money and continue to breach the agreements.
1981 – Wrigley equestrian established use permits over LA river lands until such time the lands were sold (AB530 determined this is State property and cannot be sold).
1982- Public entities and private profiteers continue to consume river land resources for development and personal gain, whittling down lands needed for equestrian culture.
1986 – Countryside Lane high density development allowed in protected equestrian zone
1989 – 18 homes high density built on the 3100 block of San Francisco in Wrigley
1990s – Public Equestrian arena & LB Mounted guard stables & facilities removed from Wardlow equestrian zone (later to become a dog park).
1998 – LA County Flood Control and Army Corps of Engineers build up the berms of the LA River, of the 3 construction methods available (parapet wall, retaining wall or increased earth footprint), the one method that has the greatest negative impact to Wrigley’s equestrians is used without any environmental review or mitigation for the loss of land and pushing the trail into a know flood zone.
2013  – City & County officials meet with Wrigley’s equestrians, continue to  change terms of use agreements and despite multiple promises have never followed through to provide us security for
2015 – AB530 “Lower Los Angeles River Revitalization bill” – verified that the courts determined the soverignity of the Lower Los Angeles river is retained with the State of California, not County Flood Control, but the people, therefore the lands Wrigley’s horses have been using for hundreds of years are subject to Public Trust Doctrine, should continue to be used by Wrigley’s 9 horse properties.
2015 – Kanabe sends letter stating he will uphold the 1981 agreement, but then resists recording the easements that tie to the 1977 City zoning.
6/30/2016 – Place types is rolled out with the DEIR at the joint planning commission/economic development meeting – Lawler speaks out for the first time against the omission of the 6 horse overlay zones.
Place types zoning is a development land grab thinly veiled under the guise of need for more housing and this high density plan is being pushed upon us WITHOUT VOTER APPROVAL.
Place types zoning opens the door for inconsistent high density development without mitigating for environmental impacts under the guise of a need for more housing. It is not in the best interest of my equestrian community in Wrigley or the equestrians citywide and should not be approved and not without voter consideration.
Respectfully please oppose the place types land use element of the general plan and stay with the traditional zoning that includes the full 20 pages of equestrian zoning overlay and includes all the zones established in 1977 for horses.
Thank you.

Contact your Long Beach City officials to oppose the place types land use element of the general plan and stay with the traditional zoning and do not allow higher density in the equestrian zones or throughout the City.
e-mail: Heidi.Eidson@longbeach.gov; ‘fern.nueno’ fern.nueno@longbeach.gov; cityclerk@longbeach.gov; district1@longbeach.gov; district2@longbeach.gov; district3@longbeach.gov;district4@longbeach.gov; district5@longbeach.gov; district6@longbeach.gov; district7@longbeach.gov;  district8@longbeach.gov;  district9@longbeach.gov; mayor@longbeach.gov

Thank you.
Renee Lawler
Equestrian Assn of Wrigley Heights, a CA non-profit
Vice President
Historic Equestrain Trail Assn of Southern California, a CA-non-profit
Director
562-900-9416

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