Christopher Koontz

Christopher Koontz
Advance Planning Officer
City of Long Beach
Long Beach, California

Favorite Music

90’s pop, like classic Britney Spears, “so I just find a 90’s playlist on Spotify or Google Play.”

Challenge

To determine the needs of all Long Beach residents—not just the handful who routinely show up at community meetings. “Community outreach is the key to planning,” Christopher says, “but you end up having the same 100 people come and yell at you.” With the city set to update its noise policies for the first time since the late 1970s, Christopher wanted input from younger citizens. “Planning, by definition, deals with the future, not the present,” he says. “But we don’t hear from the younger population.”

Solution

“Listen Up Long Beach,” a 13-month noise-element study that began in January. Instead of holding community meetings, the city asks residents to photograph and post reports of noisy spots, like loud construction sites or cul-de-sacs, on social media with the hashtag #ListenUpLB. The city has also set up a website with an interactive map for posting noise complaints and seeing other peoples’ comments. City planners will use the hashtag and the map to develop solutions.

Lessons

Social media campaigns can elicit very specific information. One spot now on Christopher’s noise radar is a gap in the sound wall above a particular freeway interchange. “People hear noise there when they’re passing by or walking their dogs,” Christopher says. “The good news is that it will be in our implementation program.”

Christopher’s Job

Overseeing long-range planning for this growing coastal community 25 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.

Personal Background

Grew up in… Master’s degree in City/Urban, Community and Regional Planning from USC.

Startling Fact

“I live in a beach town, but I’m not a beach person. I don’t like to lie on the sand and get sunburned. Instead, my husband and I ride our bikes to the Los Cerritos Wetlands at the very southeast part of the city. They’re really pretty.”

Contact Info

christopher.koontz@longbeach.gov

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