Counterpoint: Miller’s Housing element criticisms are not accurate

Jon Regnier

As a member of the Ad Hoc General Plan/Local Coastal Plan Citizens Advisory Committee, I attended the Joint Meeting of the Seal Beach City Council and Planning Commission on October 10, 2011. I have been appointed to that citizens advisory group by three different council members spanning 13 years and have participated in most meetings.

Each Council Member has always had at least two citizen appointees, and their planning commissioner attends at times. I attended all the Housing Element meetings and was surprised and dismayed by Councilman Gary Miller’s lack of understanding of the requirements of State Law and the public comments made at the microphone addressing the joint meeting.

The speakers seemed more concerned about the existing noise and traffic conditions in the surrounding commercial area rather than a possible future housing development which might even help mitigate some of their noise complaints.

Some even spoke in opposition to “the project” rather than to a plan for the future showing they had been misled into believing this was a project rather than a draft plan.

The appointees to the committee included three from Mr. Miller’s area and there were numerous meetings in which we reviewed all the areas referenced in Mr. Miller’s letter to his constituents.

Unfortunately, one of his appointees never attended, but the others participated in the discussions. This is a process that the City has gone through several times before and while many seem to initially object to the requirements of State Law, when it is explained to them and they understand the process, these citizens have worked within the law to recommend to the Council what is best for the City to meet State Law requirements.

Mr. Miller indicates two main issues: lack of public meeting notifications and participation in the process.

The ad hoc committee meetings were noticed as required by law. He had two citizen appointees and a planning commissioner who additionally were noticed by e-mail by Director of Development Services Mark Persico and urged to attend every meeting.

There were always a few citizens in the audience at these meetings listening about all the options, including those Mr. Miller says were not addressed.

Mr. Miller agreed to the DWP property settlement and the Marina Park property grant application so he knows why staff recommended to the committee against their inclusion in the Housing Element.

For affordable housing to become a reality, the words “subsidy” and “non-profit” and “density” need to all be present or else using the term becomes inflammatory and misleading.

The City is only required to provide zoning for the required density, but not a subsidy or non-profit group.

The citizens advisory committee has provided the best advice to the city to meet state law requirements for its Housing Element with the assistance of a consultant and professional staff.

Mr. Miller’s letter to his constituents is not an accurate representation of the facts.

Jon Regnier is a Seal Beach resident.