Ongoing and upcoming local issues: no formal 2020 Halloween event on Main St.

Community pool project workshops to be held on a date to be determined

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File photo of a past Trick or Treat on Main Street.

Editor’s note: 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.

No Trick or Treat on Main Street event this year

Citing CDC warnings, the president of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce said the business organization won’t host the annual Trick or Treat on Main event this year.

Rob Jahncke, of Javatinis Espresso and the newly installed Chamber president, said that the Chamber board had decided as of Oct. 1 not to do the Trick or Treat on Main this year.

Jahncke said that the Centers for Disease Control put out a notice the previous week describing trick or treating as a high-risk activity.

COVID business grant update

“To date, the City has distributed $397,500 in small business grants,” wrote City Treasurer/Finance Director Kelly Telford in a Sept. 29 email to the Sun.

“You are correct that this represents the first set of payments that will go out.  We are in the process of obtaining signatures on the remaining grant agreements with the businesses and will issue those checks once the paperwork is completed,” Telford wrote.

“We have issued 64 checks to date.  Some of them were just mailed out last Friday and yesterday so they may not be uploaded yet,” she wrote in another Sept. 29 email.

Community pool project inching forward

Seal Beach staff told the City Council on Sept. 28 that the draft of the lease agreement for the land on which the proposed community swimming pool might be built is ready to be negotiated. The current plan is for the city to lease land from the Naval Weapons Station (outside the main entrance) and for the city to pay for the construction of the pool.

However, the status of the project is unclear, as the council has not yet decided if the project will go forward.

In an Oct. 5, 2020 email (see “Questions to city staff” below), Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos wrote that the date of a planning workshop for the swimming pool project has not yet been determined.

The project is not new. In 2011, the City Council discussed potential sites for a new community swimming pool.

At length, the Naval Weapons Station became the preferred site. Negotiations began in 2018.

In February 2020, the city held two community workshops about the project. At the time, participating members of the public appeared to prefer a 50-meter pool to a 40-meter pool.

According to a sign at the Feb. 13 workshop, the construction of a 50-meter pool was estimated to cost $22.7 million. (Construction costs are subject to change over time.)

COVID-19 related restrictions changed the focus of city officials and the community. There have been no pool-related workshops since February.

Housing Element update: It’s complex. It’s dull. It’s important

City staff is preparing to update its housing element based on the allowcation

State law requires that each city have a General Plan, made up of sections called elements. The Seal Beach Housing Element is up for renewal. Cities without current housing elements can face legal challenges to their authority to issue building permits.

One requirement of a Housing Element is a “Regional Housing Needs Assessment,” also known as RHNA. The state government has imposed requirement that Seal Beach change its zoning to build 1,240 housing units by 2029.

On Monday, Sept. 28, the Sun  asked Community Development Director Les Johnson: Has Seal Beach formally appealed the RHNA allotment? And while I’m asking, what is the status of updating the city’s Housing Element?

On Oct. 5, Johnson replied, “Seal Beach has not formally appealed the recent 6th Cycle Draft RHNA Allocation.  Now that the Draft Allocation has been formally issued by SCAG [Southern California Association of Governments], the City is preparing to commence with updating the Housing Element based upon the units represented in the draft allocation,” Johnson wrote.

Questions to city staff

On Monday, Aug. 31, the Sun asked Public Works Director Steve Myrter: “Is it true that Seal Beach does not sweep the streets on the fifth Monday of the month? And what is the policy for those months with five Thursdays?”

We’ll let you know when we get a reply.

The Sun on Monday, Sept. 28, sent three questions to Community Development Director Les Johnson. He answered one (see the Housing Element update below) on Monday, Oct. 5, and promised staff would answer the other questions later that week.

Later on Oct. 5, Assistant City Manager Patrick Gallegos provided the answers to the other questions.

What’s the status of discussions about the future of the end of the pier? When will the city begin the outreach to the public? 

“As mentioned during the City Council meeting on September 28th, the City will be hosting a strategic planning workshop in the near term (date to be determined) where Council and staff will discuss certain projects in detail including the end of the pier and the swimming pool,” Gallegos wrote.

“As you know, the strategic planning workshops are open to the public,” Gallegos wrote.

What’s the status of the community swimming pool project?  See above,” Gallegos wrote.

You’re welcome

Two Sun readers recently thanked us for our work. We’d like to say you’re welcome.

Lori Gray recently posted on our Facebook page: “Thank you for supporting Leisure World readers. You currently send 500 newspapers here each week. We do appreciate the Sun News!!!”

Last Friday, Ronald Skistimas wrote, “I’m a week late in writing this, but I would like to commend the Sun‘s Mr. [Charles] Kelly for filing a CA Public Records Act request regarding the City’s Marketing campaign contract.”

Advised that Publisher Steven Remery ordered the records request be filed, Skistimas asked that Remery also be thanked.

Charity info available online

Did you know that tax records of non-profits are often available online? With the holidays approaching, you might want to know how to check out local charities.

“Electronic copies (images) of certain returns filed with the IRS by charities and nonprofits are available for purchase from the IRS on USB Thumb Drives or paper,” according to the Internal Revenue website.

“Some forms are viewable on IRS.gov or from Amazon Web Services. You can also obtain the documents by contacting the organization directly,” according to the IRS.

Many charities (including several Seal Beach entities) make three of their most recent IRS 990 forms available in PDF format at GuideStar, a website dedicated to helping do-gooders to more good more efficiently.

You can also check out non-profits at the California Secretary of State website https://www.sos.ca.gov/business-programs/business-entities/cbs-search-tips.

The IRS website is https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/tax-exempt-organization-search.

For details on how to research non-profits in your community, visit sunnews.org and look up the 2019 article “’Tis the season for giving.”