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Archive for the ‘Belmont Shore’ Category

Crow’s Nest

This weekend, Belmont Veteran’s Memorial Pier will be the site of “Pier Daze” Seafood and Pirate Festival as part of the three month long Sea Festival in Long Beach. Saturday and Sunday, June 30 and July 1 there will be lots to do at the base of the pier located at the end of 39th Pl. near Ocean Blvd.

Saturday there will be a mock pirate invasion on the pier with a cast of actors attacking the pier and the  patrons on the pier will put up a mighty defense of their own. There will be a pirate costume contest and kids treasure hunt, too. Both days will have great seafood and barbeque available, bands playing on the beach and a kid’s fun zone set up in the sand.

Sunday at the Pier Daze Festival is the day for classic rock ‘n roll music while admiring the classic “woody” automobiles that will be on display. Sunday is also the day of the Pacific Open Water Challenge, which includes swimming races, kayak and paddleboard competitions and the “Canine Splash and Dash.”

For a full schedule of Pier Daze Pirate and Seafood Festival, click here.

Other events happening this weekend that are part of the Long Beach Sea Festival 2007 range from Beach Volleyball to youth tennis and include band concerts and Shakespeare at the Aquarium of the Pacific. 

For a full schedule of Sea Festival events….click here.

In keeping with the pirate theme, Musical Theatre West will be staging performances of “The Pirates of Penzance” beginning June 30th through July 15 at the Carpenter Performing Arts Center located on the CSULB campus at 6200 E. Atherton St. For a full schedule of both evening and matinee performances, click here.

The Queen Mary will be hosing the L.A.  Wine Fest featuring more than 150 wines from around the world. From 2 to 6 P.M. Saturday and Sunday, June 30 and July 1, wine afficionados will provide information on their various wines and offer tasting. Tickets cost $45 at the door, $40 in advance or $70 for a 2-day pass. A prix-fix 4-course dinner will be served on the ship from 7 to 10 P.M. Friday, June 29, (reservations required.)

Looking for something a little more along the lines of “night-life?” Check out “VooDoo, the only Underground Burlesque Show” every saturday beginning June 30 at the basement Lounge located at 149 Linden Ave. downtown Long Beach. The show is sponsored by Pure Evolution Clothing.

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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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Food Festival

This weekend, June 27 and June 28, 2007, will be a great time to sample the delicious cuisine of many of Belmont Shore’s popular restaurants. From 5:30 – 9:00 P.M. you can stroll as you dine at Stroll & Savor on 2nd Street between Quincy Ave. and Bayshore.

Ticket books are sold for $10 and can be purchased this week at Caffe La Strada, Archibalds or Mail Boxes Etc. During the event, tickets will be available to purchase in front of Washington Mutual Bank on 2nd. St. You must have tickets for participating in the sampling of Shore restaurant’s wonderful and unique cuisine.

Other events taking place in the Shore this Summer include:

  • Family Fun Fest – Sunday, July 29th from 11:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. between Corona and Nieto Aves on 2nd St. $5 will buy a child’s wristband that will allow them to spend the day romping in a bounce house, climbing a giant slide, face painting, sport demonstrations, games and more. Both the police and fire departments will be showcasing their vehicles and some of their special talents. Complimentary hot dogs will be provided by the Long Beach Fire Department.
  • Sidewalk Sale – Friday -Sunday, August 17th from 10:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M.
  • Another Stroll and Savor – August 22 and 23 from 5:30 to 9:00 P.M.
  • Car Show – September 9, Sunday from 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Over 700 pre 1975 classic cars on 2nd St. and 14 other side streets. One of the largest on the west coast!
  • 4th Annual Chili Cook-Off – Sunday, October 21 from 12:00 Noon until 3:00 P.M. – $5 wristbands will be sold in front of Washington Mutual Bank, which will allow you to taste all the chili entries and vote for your favorite. Live music will be performed (also in front of Washington Mutal.)

For more information regarding these events, go to the Belmont Shore Business Association website. 

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As an update to a recent post titled Mansionization Concerns in Many Areas of Long Beach, I wrote about a specific property at 181 La Verne Ave. in Belmont Shore. The owner was looking to the city’s Building and Planning Commission for a height variance to forgive the already built, third-story storage room adjacent to the roof-top deck.

At the time of my last post, the city Planning staff was of the opinion that the owner be given the varience due to the fact that the building had already been done and that it was at the back of the home, far away from the street.

Thankfully, a group of neighborhood residents noticed the code violation (city inspectors had not) and then strongly opposed the variance as part of their  concerns for “mansionization”  and over-building in Belmont Shore.

Low and behold, the Planning Commission, with a unanimous vote, did not approve the owner’s petition for a third-story variance.   The builder must now make corrections to the home to bring it back into code. Hopefully this will bring a very positive light to the need for keeping the historical value to a wonderful beach community of Long Beach and let other builders know that the city is, perhaps, not going to allow a “build it now and forgive later” policy for those who try to exceed code limits.

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Erika

Now that my still slightly shy, but adorable canine has become much more socialized, she is a magnet for every dog-loving fanatic that walks by my house. Erika loves to hang out and bask in the sun out front. Half a block from Starbucks and tons of other shops and restaurants on 2nd St., there is a lot of foot traffic past her yard.

With all the love and affection that abounds in the Belmont Shore neighborhood for “man’s best friend,” comes some pretty hilarious behavior, not so much from the canines, but from their human companions. I am witness to it on almost a daily basis.

It’s no secret that the majority of Belmont Shore residents love dogs. Just take a stroll down 2nd St., night or day, and you’ll find a very diverse group of people with a colorful array of furry friends. Twice a year (Easter and Halloween) the Shore is host to the Haute Dog Parade. Some 300+ pooches are in costume with owners in tow. It’s a real hoot to see, if you’ve never been. The once temporary dog beach between Granada and Roycroft Ave. has been given permanent status and Shore dogs are digging it.

A year ago, I adopted a very freightened, full-bred, 5-6 yr. old Border Collie named Erika. Poor thing had been abused and then abandoned in the desert. She had two litters of pups that were rescued but Erica was too fast to be caught. A very tenacious neighbor was finally able to coax her into his yard and keep her coralled until the wonderful volunteer adoptees could pick her up. Erika was reunited with her latest litter of pups until they were all adopted and then I was the lucky recipient of a wonderful companion, but scared she was!

I learned the meaning of “afraid of your own shadow” on one of my first walks with Erika. She would freak out and try to run away if the sun or moon was casting her’s or my shadow on the pavement in front of her. She didn’t eat for 5 days and was afraid of every noise, person or dog we encountered. Forget about tall men dressed in black!

Little by little Erica came out of her shell and started to trust. First it was me, obviously because I was the one feeding her and walking her. With a lot of socializing and reassurance, Erika now enjoys the dog beach, loves her walks and allows people to pet her when were on our walks. She is tolerant of other dogs, although she seems to be wary of some still. Cats don’t seem to phase her (never did.) It’s really quite amazing how far she’s come in a year.

Erika’s breed is in the “herding” catagory of dogs. She doesn’t bark unless some one she is not sure of is invading her space; usually her favorite spot on the front porch step. Even then she rarely gets vocal about it. As herding dog’s temperaments go, they are usually very high energy dogs, love to play and do very well in agility exercises. They are extremely smart.  True to her breed, Erika has been very easy to train. I taught her how to walk on my right side only and how to shake (paw to hand) in two days, not at the same time. I don’t even have to ask her for her paw now, she puts it up, lightening speed!

Un-be-known to all of Erika’s admirers and advocates, I am sitting at my desk just behind the front security screen door. From the outside, they cannot see through the screen door. I cannot believe the things that these people say and try to do with my dog!

One woman, I now know as Stephanie, has 2-3 minute conversations with Erika almost daily on her way to and  from Starbucks. Yesterday she brought dog biscuits back and tossed them over the fence to Erika, who was staying as close to the door as possible on the top step. After she sent the treats flailing over the fence she said “I hope your mom doesn’t care.” I  moved closer to the door to see what was being thrown at my dog. I decided to let it go, as I’m familiar with Starbuck’s dog biscuits. Erika didn’t make a move for them. Didn’t even flinch. Next comes “What’s the matter? Don’t be afraid. Aren’t you hungry?”

Later, Stephanie returns and I decide to poke my head out the door to let her know that my beloved pet is not left outside all day on her own. (I’m thinking that Stephanie could be the one that I heard a week or so ago, chastising Erika’s owner for not having water outside for her.)

I say “Hi, I just want you to know that I work from home and that my dog is not left outside without water and food all day. She loves to be outside and watch everything that is going on, but she comes in and out several times a day.” The look on Stephanie’s face said it all. Busted! I continued with “The dog bowl that you see overturned is for my upstairs neighbor’s Bull Mastiff , known as Buzz, when he is outside.”

Stephanie then introduced herself; told me that she owns two dogs and is thinking about getting another; said she adores Erika and wanted to know what breed she is. We had a 10 minute conversation and she departed with a new understanding of Erika’s past and present care.

Today when Stephanie came by with a friend, Starbucks cup in hand,  she stopped at the gate and explained Erika’s complete history to her friend. Then in a voice meant only for little children and adored pets, told Erika to “enjoy your day in the outdoors” and “I’ll see you again soon.” Like don’t worry, I’ll be back.

Throughout all of this attention and admiration, Erika sits on her step and just looks as if she has no interest whatsoever. I’d love to know what she’s thinking!

 My neighbors know my dog better than they know me, as I recently found out while I was holding an open house two houses down from mine. People would tell me they lived in the neighborhood and I’d say “I do too.” Then came trying to explain exactly where I live. It soon became clear that describing my dog was the quickest way to an understanding of where I lived. Only in Belmont Shore!

I would like to get a video camera to record and share all of little Miss Erika’s daily visitors. It’s an ongoing comical interlude to my day when I’m officing from my home. 

Too be continued……..

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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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