On-going and upcoming: Seal Beach listed among best beach towns

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WalletHub recently named Seal Beach no. 25 on a list of the beach towns by the ocean in the United States. Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos told the Sun about the survey.

The website compared 192 cities located next to either an ocean or a lake, using 62 different indicators to assess quality of life.

“We split our comparison into two categories, towns located by the ocean and by lakes. Our data set ranges from housing costs to share of for-sale waterfront homes to quality of beach water,” the website said.

WalletHub ranked Seal Beach sixth for economy out of 146 ocean-side beach towns. Seal Beach ranked 58th for safety; 51st for weather and 99th for affordability.

Avalon, on Santa Catalina Island, didn’t make the list.

Other cities that made the list came from various parts of the United States. The WalletHub rankings did not appear to be slanted in favor of or against one particular region.

Merchants group applies for a Farmer’s Market permit

A merchant group’s permit proposal for a Farmer’s Market in the Main Street area of Seal Beach has been submitted to the city, according to District One Councilman Joe Kalmick.

He said the proposal is for a three-month trial period starting after Labor Day on Thursdays. He believed the proposed market would be held from 4 to 8 p.m.

“It’s to take place in the 100 block of Main St.,” Kalmick said.

“The City received an application for a farmers market to take place on the 100 Block of Main Street starting in mid-September.  The public notice was sent to the Sun last week opening the public comment period.  Staff will review the application and any comments that we receive before rendering a decision,” said Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos.

Keeping up Main Street

A couple of readers recently told the Sun that trash collectors have been dragging filled trash bags along Main Street sidewalks and some of them have leaked onto the sidewalks. “City staff has not fielded any calls about this matter but we have since contacted Republic given the comments you received from the public,” Gallegos said.

A reader also wanted to know how frequently the city cleans Main Street sidewalks.   “The City recently increased cleaning services so that every part of Main Street is washed weekly,” Gallegos said.

Claims against city can be settled without council action

The Sun on June 28 asked City Attorney Craig Steele, How many lawsuits had been filed against the city of Seal Beach since the year began? “How many lawsuits has the city begun? Also, would it be legally possible for the city to settle a lawsuit without the City Council having to approve the expenditure?”

On July 8, Steele replied: “Knock on wood, we haven’t had a case filed and served against the City this year. The City has not initiated any lawsuits in 2019.

“It is possible, and fairly common, for lawsuits or claims against a city to be settled without city council action. Liability claims and most lawsuits are covered by a city’s insurance and the insurer usually directs the litigation and settlement. This is similar to a private individual being involved in an auto accident and turning it over to the automobile insurer. The insurer handles the claim and makes payment up (to) the amount of policy limits, and the insured really has nothing to say about it. If the city would be paying out for some reason, or if the case is not an insured claim, city council approval might be required depending on the amount of the expenditure.”

Planning news

The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing Monday, Aug. 5, for a requested conditional use permit for Old Ranch Country Club. The request is to remodel the banquet facility and to create an additional bar, according to the recently published notice of the hearing.

That same night, planners will hold a hearing on a request for a CUP to add 751 feet to a one-story home and allow the interior remodel of the home. The property is considered non-conforming due to setbacks within the zoning area, according to the hearing notice.

A third hearing will be held to review a request for a CUP to remodel the interior and exterior of a two-story home. The property is considered non-conforming due to setbacks in the zoning area and the size of the interior garage, according to the hearing notice.

The Planning Commission agenda hadn’t been posted as of editorial deadline, so it was not known which of these hearings would be held first.

The Planning Commission meeting will begin at 7 p.m., and be held in the Council Chambers at City Hall on Eighth Street.

Contract thresholds to be on Aug. 12 City Council agenda

The Seal Beach City Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, Aug. 12, to consider adjusting the bidding threshold for Public Works contracts to $33,970. The purpose of the adjustment, according to the notice of the public hearing, is to keep the threshold current with inflation.

15 First Street

• The Seal Beach City Council on July 22 received notice from city staff that work had been completed on the roof at 15 First Street, the former location of River’s End Cafe.

117 Ocean Ave.

The Sun asked about the status of the house at 117 Ocean Ave.

“The owner is working with the City to clean up the property and maintain it in the future,” said Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos.

Pier’s future

As the Sun reported last week, the city doesn’t have a date certain for workshops concerning the future use of the pier.

“Dates and times of the pier workshops have not yet been confirmed, but they will be in the near term. The goal is to identify what the community wants at the end of the pier,” Gallegos wrote on July 24.

City staffing and jet skis

• The Sun recently asked about staffing in the city’s Planning Department. “As stated in the recent budget workshop, there are a number of vacant positions in multiple departments including the Planning Department,” wrote Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos in a July 2 email to the Sun.

“The City has been working with lean staff for several years because we are mindful of the City’s fiscal challenges. Additionally, staffing was discussed during the budget workshops and based on those discussions, Council adopted a budget that would fill some of the vacant positions over time and thus, allow staff to enhance the service we provide to the public,” Gallegos wrote.

• The Sun asked if jet skis were legal in Seal Beach.

“‘Jet skis’ are the same as a boat in the eyes of the law,” Gallegos wrote in a July 15 email.

“They are required to have registration and safety equipment on board. As such they are allowed in the same areas as normal vessels, which in Seal Beach is 200 yards off shore. If a vessel is within 100 feet of a bather they are required to operate under 5 miles per hour,” Gallegos wrote.

Bonds

The Sun recently asked City Hall if a bond issue requires voter approval.

“If a general obligation bond is issued then voter approval would be required,” Gallegos wrote.

The Sun followed up to ask about lease revenue bonds (as opposed to general obligation bonds.)

“There is no voter approval required for lease revenue bonds,” Gallegos wrote.

If you have a question about a city issue—or a suggestion for filing a Public Records Act request—email Associate Editor Charles M. Kelly at editor2@sunnews.org.