Ongoing and upcoming local issues: Walt’s Wharf, pandemic enforcement, city commissions

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Seal Beach Coyote Committee last met in 2014. Recent Coyote attack on pet confirmed

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.

Walt’s Wharf parklet gets four parking spaces

Walt’s Wharf, which had the bad luck to reopen just before the state government moved Orange County (among others) back into the purple tier last week, has been allowed to convert four parking spaces into a parklet.

The Sun asked for an explanation.

“Walt’s Wharf approached the city about establishing a temporary dining parklet as part of their plan to reopen the restaurant,” wrote Community Development Director Les Johnson in a Nov. 20 email.

“They initially proposed use of three parking stalls for a dining parklet but later requested use of two additional spaces based upon the adjacent business, Paradis Ice Cream, offering use of the spaces reserved for them,” Johnson wrote.

“When the temporary parklet dining program was established, staff accounted for Paradis using two parking spaces for a dining parklet,” Johnson wrote.

“As a result of Paradis offering these spaces to Walt’s Wharf as well as considering the indoor occupancy of Walt’s and its prominence on Main Street, Walt’s has been allocated the additional spaces for their temporary dining parklet,” Johnson wrote.

Local law enforcement will educate first, then enforce pandemic rules

Seal Beach Police Sgt. Nick Nicholas, the department’s public informaiton officer, told the Sun this week that the departments “enforcement posture” has been to education the public and seek voluntary compliance to enforce pandemic-related rules.

Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes issued a statement to that effect on Nov. 19. Some news agencies are reporting that some law enforcement agencies are refusing to enforce the governor’s curfew. The statewide curfew went into effect on Sunday, Nov. 21. “Throughout the pandemic, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department has taken an education-first approach with regard to public health orders,” according to Barnes’ statement.

Sgt. Nicholas said the SBPD would respond to any and all calls for service.

Barnes, however, said, “At this time, due to the need to have deputies available for emergency calls for service, deputies will not be responding to requests for face-coverings or social gatherings-only enforcement.

Status of city commissions and boards

After a local official expressed surprise at learning she was the only remaining member of an apparently dormant city committee, the Sun decided to look at when various boards last met.

The city’s coyote commission, for example, hasn’t met in slightly more than six years. (A coyote attacked a dog on Electric Avenue Friday, Nov. 27.)

The Sun sent the following questions on Nov. 16. Assistant City Manager Patrick Galleos emailed his answers on Nov. 23. We’ve added additional information where necessary.

Sun: “When did the Seal Beach Archeological Advisory Committee last meet? How often has the group met this year?”

Gallegos: “Last met on December 14, 2011”

Sun: “I believe you already updated me on the Tree Advisory Board.”

Gallegos: “Last met on March 2020.”

Editor’s note: A review of the city website found notices of cancellation for all meetings scheduled in 2019.

Minutes or agendas for 2018 meetings of the Tree Board may be found at the web page for city “Agendas, Notices, & Meeting Videos.”

Sun: “When did the Coyote Committee last meet? I found on the city website a list of local appointments dated February 2020 that lists retired Commander Steve Bowles as the SBPD’s representative on this ad hoc committee. Has the committee been disbanded?”

Gallegos: “Last met on October 17, 2014. It has not been disbanded. Captain Mike Ezroj is the new representative from the Police Department.”

Editor’s note: A Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020, post on social media reported an attack on a dog on Electric Avenue the previous Friday.

Gallegos confirmed the incident in an 8:42 p.m., Monday, Nov. 30 email. “I had not seen the post on Nextdoor so thank you for bringing this to my attention. After looking into it, I was able to confirm that there was a report of a coyote biting a dog. I do not have any further details at this time as I only have the call-out sheet of the incident which is not very descriptive. If I’m able to learn more details about the incident I will pass it along to you,’ Gallegos wrote.

“Whenever there is rise in coyote sightings and/or aggressive coyote behavior, we typically disseminate coyote safety tips to the community and we will do so in this case. We will also reach out to Long Beach Animal Care Services and Fish and Wildlife to see what assistance they might be able to provide,” Gallegos wrote.

Sun: “When did the Environmental Quality Control Board last meet? How often has the group met this year?”

Gallegos: “They last met September 23, 2020 and have only met once this year.”

Editor’s note: A review of the city website found notices of cancellation for all meetings scheduled in 2019.

This year: The Environmental Board has hearing set for Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, to look at an environmental document related to a proposed gas station on Pacific Coast Highway. (For details, see Gas station proposed for PCH site” at www.sunnews.org.)

Sun: “When did the Historical Preservation Committee last meet? I find no record of minutes after 2016. The February 2020 list of appointments I mentioned earlier lists Patty Campbell as the only remaining committee member.”

Gallegos: “They last met for a Joint Brown Act Workshop June 6, 2016; however, the last meeting prior to that was held on November 3, 2015.”

Editor’s note: Work continues at the privately owned Bay Theatre on Main Street and appears to continue on the nonprofit Seal Beach Historical Society owned Red Car Museum (which stands on land owned by the city).

Sun: “I know the Planning Commission and the Recreation and Parks Commissions have been holding regular meetings.”

Gallegos: “Yes, that is correct.”

Sun: “Finally, when did the Seal Beach Cable Communications Foundation last meet? The February 2020 list of appointments shows the District Four seat is vacant.”

Gallegos: “The Cable Foundation last met February 18, 2020. There has been no interest shown by 4th District residents to join the Foundation.”