Citizens committee to review city of Seal Beach’s Housing Element

Seal Beach District 4 Councilman Gary Miller had asked for the Housing Element to be discussed at the Monday, Feb. 13 City Council meeting. It was the first item on the agenda.

However, before discussion began, Mayor Michael Levitt, who represents District 5, announced that the Ad Hoc General Plan/Local Coastal Plan Citizens Advisory Committee would revisit the issue of the Housing Element Tuesday night, Feb. 14. Results of that meeting were not available at press time.

Miller first expressed concern about the Housing Element of the Seal Beach General Plan in October, when the City Council approved the document. The Housing Element included a provision that identified the Shops at Rossmoor center (located in the city of Seal Beach) as a potential site of low income housing.

That designation has upset nearby residents in Seal Beach and the neighboring community of Rossmoor who see low income housing as a threat to their property values and a potential source of additional traffic near the shopping center.

Miller has objected to what he has called a lack of public notice about the Housing Element. Miller has also said the draft of the Housing Element did not include other properties.

On Feb. 13, Miller offered three options for the council to consider: forming a new group with what he called “balanced district power” to revisit the properties to be on the inventory of potential low income housing sites; have the City Council revisit the properties on the inventory or have the Ad Hoc committee hear the public and revisit the properties, but have only 10 appointees to the committee cast votes.

None of Miller’s ideas received any support from other council members.

Miller told the council that there were no notices or agendas of ad hoc committee meetings posted prior to discussions of the Housing Element and that few residents participants. Miller said one of his issues was the balance of power on voting on the committee. He said the committee Old Town and Hill representatives had eight votes on the committee.

District 1 Councilwoman Ellery Deaton said: “It was a unanimous decision.”

Deaton said it was insulting for Miller to suggest changing the committee. She said you don’t ask people to serve their time and then take their votes.

Deaton also said that it was only a committee—it had no authority to make a final decision.

Miller said one of the people who quite the committee said that senior people dominated the meetings.

District 3 Councilman Gordon Shanks expressed views similar to Deaton’s. “Ad hoc committees are not to be done away with just because they came up  with decisions that you don’t like,” Shanks said.

In other business the council:

  • The council honored Don Shoemaker, retired pastor of Grace Community Church and chaplain of the Seal Beach Police Department. The council gave him a plaque to commemorate the fact he has been named Seal Beach Citizen of the Year by Cypress College.
  • Acting as the Successor Agency to the former Redevelopment Agency, the council created a Redevelopment Obligation (debt) retirement Fund, established basic rules for the Successor Agency and adopted the agency’s payment schedule.
  • Deaton announced that a meeting would be held at 6 p.m., Feb. 29, to discuss lighting on Seal Beach’s Main Street.