LONG BEACH (CBSLA.com) — A proposal to replace a home with a parking lot in Long Beach’s upscale Belmont Shore area is receiving staunch criticism from many of the area’s residents.

The proposed site of the eight-space parking lot is located in the 200 block of La Verne Avenue.

“The quality of our neighborhood has just gone down a tad,” said David Newell, a Belmont Shore resident. “It doesn’t make much sense in a very nice neighborhood why you would tear down a perfectly good house for eight parking spots.”

Newell and his wife, Barbara, live just two houses down from a proposed site and many of their neighbors have posted signs opposing the lot.

“If we start knocking down houses to satisfy a parking need than we’re destroying that very urban vibe and that sense of village that makes this place special,” said Barbara Paul, another resident.

“It’s the precedent. Just one lot here is certainly not going to solve anything. Moreover, there’s all that potential to take the next house and the next house and the next house,” Dave Corradi, another resident, said.

But Tula Trigonis, owner of a nearby salon called Soma, told KCAL’s Amy Johnson that she thinks the lot is a great idea.

“Obviously, people will be passionate about it but they need to look at the bigger picture. It’s a piece of a pie and it’s a piece of a puzzle that needs to be addressed and I don’t think we’ve been addressing it for many, many years,” Trigonis said.

The Belmont Shore Parking and Business Improvement Area Advisory Commission approved the parking lot but the plan still needs to be considered by the Long Beach Planning Commission and City Council.

“Whatever we look at, somebody’s got a problem with it and so there’s no answer here that’s gonna make everybody happy,” Long Beach Planning Commission Chairman Bill Lorbeer said. Lorbeer tells Johnson that buying the two bedroom home is the perfect plan for extra parking.

“We have a bond that was issued about four years ago. There’s about $600,000 left in that bond account. We have to use it by the end of the year or we lose it,” Lorbeer said.

But residents say they plan to fight the proposal.

“It’s my responsibility and the responsibility of our association to protect the interests of the residents,” said Belmont Shore Residents Assn. President Terence Enderson.

Meanwhile, Johnson reported that she was told the home was not in escrow.


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