Guest Column: Disappointed with commission that voted down LA Fitness

It’s rather disappointing that the Planning Commission for the City of Seal beach played to the emotional appeal of a vocal group of outsiders, voting against the LA Fitness development in spite of their own professional staff’s recommendation. Did these commission members read the Environmental Impact Report, and are they working for the City of Seal Beach?

I recommend that the City Council carefully consider the facts and make the appropriate decision that is in the best interest of the City of Seal Beach’s residents, free of the unsubstantiated claims and hysterical reactions to what seems to be a reasonable business development in a business zone.

The Final Environmental Impact Report comprehensively addressed the many unfounded and generic complaints about traffic, crime, accidents, noise, aesthetic, etc. The actual problems identified within the EIR, e.g. traffic and noise, do come with reasonable mitigating measures with minimal impacts to current conditions at the shopping center. The EIR also addressed concerns from the many Orange County governmental agencies. The numerous pages of complaints from Rossmoor residents against the development of the LA Fitness failed to provide one piece of hard data. Personal experience and anecdotes about crime wave or children safety with a gym should be disregarded without actual data. Sorry but in this day and age, no fake news, just the facts please.

Traffic impact to Rossmoor itself is minimal because there is still plenty of capacity left on Seal Beach boulevard and improvements to Rossmoor Way. One person indicated that he would not shop there because of the potential increased traffic. Frankly, if you live in Rossmoor, you should be walking or bicycling to the shops. Some also complained about the aesthetic of a large building in a back parking lot. I would wager that most Rossmoor residents will never even see the gym without driving on Rossmoor Center Way, and have you seen those ginormous columnated mac-mansions sprouting in that neighborhood?

The primary consideration for the City Council is whether the gym will be good for Seal Beach and its residences. Being a good neighbor, we certainly should account for our neighboring communities, but we should not accede our interest to a vocal minority of NIMBY outsiders whose only concerns is about themselves and no one else. It’s perfectly fine for Seal Beach residents to drive to neighboring communities to use their gyms, creating traffic, pollution and run over the kids in those communities, but don’t do it next to Rossmoor.

Tellingly, the opposition to the gym is rather a small group of people even in their own communities, as evident with the few opposing signs compared to the number of homes in Rossmoor. Perhaps the NIMBY-ists can build their own mini-Trump wall to save themselves from Seal Beach while they luxuriate in their own segregated community. Being part of a civil society means that all of us share the amenities and burdens from the community. In this case, I think the gym will be a great place for senior citizens and nearby residents with a familiar, clean and comfortable facility to be physically active.

I think the benefits outweighs any little inconvenience, if any, that Rossmoor residents will face. If the developer decides to sue the city for turning down a legitimate business, are those in Rossmoor who opposed will pay for Seal Beach legal expenses?

Nick Ta is a Seal Beach resident.