Guest Column: Neighbors support each other

Thank you to the very large group of residents from Seal Beach, Los Alamitos, and Rossmoor who came together as a community to once again defeat the construction of a 37,000 square foot fitness center behind Sprouts at the Shops at Rossmoor. Thank you to the City Council, Planning Commission and staff of the city of Seal Beach for listening to our concerns and making the right decision to deny the proposed fitness center. The issues cited include things we all deal with every day: safety, traffic, and the inevitable erosion of our quality of life. While we may have been resigned in the past that the development would happen regardless of any opposition presented, this time we made a collective decision against complacency.

We have never been anti-development and have expressed this repeatedly. The property owner has every right to develop on their property. We want to ensure that any proposed project combines the highest and best use with minimum negative impacts to our communities. Is this a pipe dream? No! Working with the property owner we are confident that we can agree on a use that is financially beneficial to the property owner, compatible with the immediate surrounding uses and a positive addition to the community and the City of Seal Beach at large.

Preservation of our communities going forward was, and is, the central issue we all have in common. We have created an opportunity to have a strong voice in what happens around us by making this a priority in our lives. At the core of this effort was working the “old-fashioned” way comprised of letters to elected officials at all levels, peaceful protests, getting petitions signed, flyers and yard signs created and distributed and attending meetings en masse to express our concerns. Of course, another element used was social media.

A great deal of pain-staking research and self-education to provide a rebuttal to the usual procedures presented for any development was critical. This involved countless hours of hard work by committed volunteers willing to take time from their busy lives to accomplish a daunting task.

We of course met with opposition from some of our neighbors. Our goal was, and is, to keep the debate civil and respectful and remain open to suggestions. Going forward we will work to do the same. Any future efforts may present the same challenges and hurdles. Our mission is to urge all to get involved in any way possible and be part of our objective to protect our quality of life. There are no borders preventing demonstrating support and help for one another and “working together” is in the best interest of all.