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Archive for the ‘Belmont Heights’ Category

Cajun Accordian Player

Long Beach’s International Sea Festival kicks off this week with Thursday Night Twighlight Concerts in the Park followed by the three-day Bayou Festival, celebrating the music, food and culture of Louisiana. Featured live music will include Cajun, Zydeco, Bluesand Jazz. There will be plenty of daytime fune plus “N’Orleans at Nite.”

Bring your appetite because the festival will be serving up delicious Cajun, Creole and other cultural foods. Bayou Fest will have a full-on Mardi Gras parade, kids arts & crafts, dance lessons and so much more.

For a full schedule of Bayou Festival events, click here.

Sea Festival Events

June

  • Sinjin Beach Volleyball Collegiate & Youth Open – (Belmont Shore Beach Courts)  Collegiate -June 23, Youth -June 30
  • 9th Annual Shakespeare Festival – (Long Beach Aquarium front lawn) – Romeo & Juliet – June 23 – July 15.  Free to the public with pre-show festivities at 6:00 P.M. and performance at 6:30. Bring a picnic dinner and a blanket or sand chair.
  • The Great Beach Treasure Hunt – Clues can be found in the pages of the Long Beach Press-Telegram newspaper. The Treasure hunt lasts for 10 days, with the Grand Prize hopefully being found on July 4th.
  • Pier Daze,Seafood & Pirate Festival – June 30 – July 1 – (Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier ) – Sample great seafood and BBQ, live music, a “real” pirate ship “attack” on the pier, and a limited number of Pirate ship rides will be available. Kids will love the treasure hunt, pirate costume contest and beach fun zone. There will also be a car show and much more.
  • Boys & Girls 14’s USTA National Open – (Billy Jean King & El Dorado Park Tennis Centers) – June 30 – July 4 – Nationally ranked junior tennis players from all over the U.S. will play against other up-and-coming juniors.

July

  • Pacific Open Water Challenge (Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier) July 1 – Features many of the sports that will be part of the Olympic Games in China including, 5K open swim, mile and half-mile swims, 5K run, Aquathon and Kayak/Paddleboard races and the ever popular Canine Splash & Dash (100 yd. swim and 1/2 mile run with your dog.)

Stay tuned for more info……..or go to the Sea Festival’s website for a full schedule of events.

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Here is the latest real estate market trend report from June 8, 2007:

Long beach currently has 1,920 active listings for single family homes and condos, an increase of 23% over last year this time and 433 properties in escrow, constituting a 4% decrease as compared to last year.

The current statistics by zip code as of today’s date, June 8, 2007, are as follows:

Single-Family & Condo

Zip Code      Active     Pending       Sold (2 mos)    Attrition Rate

90803              184            47                   64                6 mos.

90804              181            37                   32               11 mos.

90807              192            37                   53                 7 mos.

90815              153            47                   46                 7 mos.

90802              343            72                   66               10 mos.

Residential Income (2 units or more) – combined totals for zip codes above:

                         179             32                  28                 6 mos.

*This information provided by the SOCAL MLS

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McMansion being built

It seems as though builders and/or property owners in and around Belmont Heights, Belmont Shore and the Peninsula, along with other areas of Long Beach, are ignoring building codes causing residents to start fighting to preserve the character of their neighborhoods. The term “mansionization” refers to the alarming trend for builders and homeowners to purchase smaller homes, tear them down and erect a home that is much larger and not in character with the other homes in the area. 

Third District Councilman, Gary DeLong  along with Seventh District Councilwoman, Tonia Reyes Uranga asked the City Council for a new “Neighborhood Character Stabilization” plan to slow this trend at this week’s Council Meeting. In turn, the counsil asked it’s Housing and Neighborhoods committee to come back to them in 45 days with something similar.

In the meantime, some residents are fighting specific projects that exceed the building codes or are asking for a variance. Belmont Heights Neighborhood Association reported to the council that there are a dozen or more homes right now in their neighborhood in danger of being torn down and replaced with much larger structures.

Today, the Planning Commission will rule on a home being built at 181 La Verne Ave. where construction was halted after residents brought to the city’s attention that the home’s height exceeded building codes. The owner says he didn’t know the storage unit adjacent to the roof-top deck exceeded the height of the building code. His apology is not disuading the residents that reported the violation to the city. They oppose allowing the builder to finish the home. The building department, on the other hand, is suggesting that a variance should be granted due to the fact that the violation is well off the street. What does that have to do with anything? Isn’t it possible that the height of this home could block another homeowner’s view (if not now, in the future) from their roof-top deck? Aren’t variances for hardship cases? And, what kind of precidence is that setting for future building projects?

I agree with the neighborhood activist that seek to eliminate or greatly reduce the number of variances granted. It should be consistant across the board. There are too many cases where the building goes up and the variance comes after the fact. It’s becoming too easy for builders to complete a project and ask for forgiveness afterward.

There is also a trend to build to the extreme edges of lot lines and to go as high up with the building as the code allows. While this is not a violation, in many cases these “McMansions” (homes) do nothing to enhance the character of the neighborhood and usually take away from it. In the Shore, one particular builder has built the same “McMansion” numerous times within a three block radius, painted all of them the same color and put the same front door on them. Several of my prospective buyers, as of late, have noticed these look-a-like homes and have pointed them out to me. One of the reasons people buy in the Shore or the Heights is because the homes are so architecturally different from each other. The Neighborhood Character Stabilization plan will consider the “maxing out” of properties and hopefully will address the copy-cat building as well.

Some activists are calling for story poles to be erected. These are wooden poles put up weeks before any approvals are given by the building department, allowing neighbors to see the height and massing of the proposed building to be erected. Although commonly used in communities such as Laguna Beach, Newport Beach and the like, Long Beach does not require their use. I think it’s an excellent idea, giving neighbors an opportunity to view their site lines and research the building’s specifications before it is built and construction has to be haulted.

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downtown-offshore.jpgI have moved across the country more times than I can count on one hand. I’ve always gravitated back to Long Beach and all that it has to offer. I’ve spent a lot of my adult life here and have decided to share my “Top Ten Reasons to Move to Long Beach.”  There are many reasons, but here is the short list, not in any particular order:

  1.  GREEN SPACE and Lots of It!!! Everyone is talking “green” now, from the Al Gore to Congress and the Sundance Channel’s, Robert Redford. Well, Long Beach has the most recreational park space per capita than any other city in California. The city has more golf courses, nature trails, dog parks, beach parks, open green space than any other city in the state of California! Want to enjoy GREEN? Move to Long Beach!!!
  2. Average Year-Round, Balmy Temperature is a WONDERFUL 77 Degrees!  Who can dispute that it’s pretty pleasant! If you study the coastline of California, Long Beach is tucked inland. The beaches run east and west. This dissimilarity puts us in the high 70’s for an average temperature. Most other beach cities in So Cal are several degrees colder in the winter months .
  3. Diversity is the Name of the Game! With so many diverse activities and events going on at all times in the city of Long Beach, it’s hard to just name a few. Culture is a prized focus of this great city. For openers Long Beach offers the LB Civic Orchestra, Ballet, Opera, the Museum of Latin Art (MOLA,) Long Beach Art Museum and Cafe, just to name a few. On the hipper/cheekier side of things, there is the LB Grand Prix, Sea Festival, LB Aquarium, Haute Dog Parade (Easter and Halloween,) Long Beach Marathon, Belmont Shore Car Show, Chocolate Festival, Chili Cook-off, Taste of Belmont Shore, Vault 350 for great music entertainment, etc…
  4. Great proximity to Freeways and Public Transportation –  You have to have a car to get around the L.A. area.  Long Beach is centrally located to the freeways,  the 405, 605, 710N, 22 E.  Long Beach is also a hub for the Blueline mass transit train that draws people to ride the rails instead of driving cars to Los Angeles. The Blueline connects with the Redline, Goldline and Greenline, all within a few mile in the downtown quarter of Los Angeles.  I’ve taken my kids to Dim Sum in China Town without getting into my car.
  5. SHOPPING! Did we mention the SHOPPING?– Sorry guys! If you’re into shopping then the multitude of shopping districts have it all for you! You can start with the Pine Ave. shopping district that includes Seaport Village shops, The Pike stores to the great used book store on Pine Ave. and everything  in between; boutiques of every kind on 2nd St. in Belmont Shore. (Take the little Red Bus (called the Passport) to the Belmont Shore Area and back, if you’re staying in downtown Long Beach; The Long Beach Towne Center, Marina Pacifica Mall, Bixby Village Shopping District, Los Altos Shopping Center and on and on. Not to mention the fantastic outdoor Farmer’s Market and other wares every Friday downtown and on Sundays at the Marina near 2nd St. and Marina Drive.
  6. Great Neighbors & Communities!– Long Beach has several Historic neighborhoods and many others that are noticeably well cared for and show a wonderful pride of ownership. Many have active community organizations that meet on a regular basis to discuss improvements or concerns.  It’s easy to meet your neighbors because most people spend a good amount of time outdoors and are accessible to engage in friendly conversation.
  7. Schools, Schools, Schools!…..Long Beach schools have a long-standing history of excellence. Long Beach Unified School District has just been awarded recognition for the “Most Improved” school district in the State of CA.
  8. The BEACHES! Kite-boarding, sandcastle-building, volleyball, concerts in the park, a rowing club, sailing club, kayaking, what else? Can’t forget the dog beach in Belmont Shore between Granada and Roycroft where dogs are allowed off-leash. It’s fun to watch the dogs even if you don’t have one.
  9. 5th Largest City in CA- Moving in the right direction…very forward thinking…Tons of re-development projects on the books and in the planning stages, Historic preservation, tourist attractions, and a balance between industry and residential property.
  10. The Last AFFORDABLE Beach City in So Cal – The median price for a home is less than every other beach city in Los Angeles County and Orange County.  That means that there is a distinct opportunity to realise an excellent return on investment as compared to other beach cities in So Cal!  

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2007 Sidewalk Chalk Contest WinnerAs predicted, crowds gathered in Belmont Shore for the Justin Rudd Annual Sidewalk Chalk Drawing Contest this past Sunday. As I was walking my dog in the early hours of the contest, a little rain began to fall. I saw several contestants try to shelter their preliminary work under canopies or eaves of nearby businesses. If Mother Nature would only cooperate! The contestant’s nerves were already on edge as they vied for $500 in total cash prizes.

The top two artists works are available to see at Whiskers, between Park and St. Joseph at 4818 E. 2nd St. in Belmont Shore/Long Beach. Congratulations to Carin Gross of Long Beach! She won “Best in Show” and $250 for her work titled “No substitute for Mother.”  More…….

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BooksThe Fremont Elementary PTA will hold its annual Used Book Sale on Saturday April 28th from 8:00 am – 2:00 pm. This years book sale is the biggest ever, and features over 8,000 books. All books will be sold at extremely low prices : $1.00 for hardbacks, $.50 for paperbacks and $.50 for children’s books. Also, a rummage sale and pancake breakfast will be held on the school grounds concurrently. Fremont Elementary is located in Belmont Heights at 4000 East Fourth St. Long Beach, 90814.

The sale is open to the public, and proceeds will go towards paying for a teacher to remain in the school’s computer and science labs. A generous partnership of the Fremont Elementary PTA, local businesses and families, and concerned parents has been paying for the salaries of both Fremont’s computer lab and science lab teachers for the last three years. This book sale is an effort to raise some of the $100,000.

This is a great way to help support our local schools and to foster our children’s education. We all know a few people that would love a great book as a gift and it’s a great way to spend an hour or two with our kids having pancakes and browsing the sale!

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sold-available.jpg  As of April 4, 2007 – The City of Long Beach had 1591 Active single-family homes and condominiums for sale and 428 sales pending. In the past month the number of listings has crept up by approximately 100, while the number of escrows opened has remained relatively the same. Currently, Long Beach has roughly 20% more inventory than the same time period in 2006 and 14% fewer pending sales.

 The current numbers of Active Listings, Peding Sales and Closed Sales (within the last month) are as follows by Zip Code:

 90803 – 145 Active – 50 Pending – 27 Closed

90804 – 141 Active – 27 Pending – 23 Closed

90807 – 155 Active – 40 Pending – 27 Closed

90815 – 118 Active – 46 Pending – 34 Closed

90802 – 261 Active – 76 Pending – 32 Closed

*This information was taken from the SOCAL MLS

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