Long Beach

The Los Angeles County Housing Authority has decided to hold a public hearing March 21 on proposed changes to its lease that would nearly eliminate pets from Carmelitos, the authority's only low-income complex in Long Beach.

The commission set the hearing date after about 10 Carmelitos tenants complained they hadn't had enough notice of a meeting held last week to review the proposal.

The recommended pet policy generally would prohibit new pets in Carmelitos, limit the number and size of current pets that could remain, require that pet owners have liability insurance and charge owners damage deposits of up to $100 for each pet that stays. Carmelitos residents have complained that because they cannot afford the proposed fees, even those pets allowed under the rules would have to go.

Mel Rice, the authority's housing management director, said he has received about 60 written objections to the proposed policy. He said three of those were petitions with 235, 43 and 30 signatures.

"I'm already considering some changes," Rice said. Because of complaints about the disparity of the deposits--$50 for cats and $100 for dogs--he might ask to increase the fee for cats to $100, he said.

Rice also said he is investigating the cost of liability insurance to see if it is prohibitive.

Carmelitos activist Glenn Crout, co-chairman of the housing project's Tenant Action Committee, said he expects a large crowd at the March hearing.

The commission is expected to decide on the policy April 18, Rice said. The county Board of Supervisors has final responsibility for the policy.

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