Ongoing and upcoming: Ocean Place approaches completion

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Part of the sidewalk in front of the Bay Theatre remains closed. However, the closed section of the sidewalk has become smaller. Photo by Charles M. Kelly

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.

Ocean Place almost complete

The Ocean Place Development is nearly complete, according to a staff report by the city’s Public Works director.

Ocean Place is the high-end housing on First Street, where the River and the beach meet, on the  former DWP property. The park next to it is part of the construction project and will be turned over to the city later.

The council this week approved an amendment to its contract with AndersonPenna [sic] Partners, Inc., to provide construction management and inspection services of the public infrastructure part of the Ocean Place Development.  The contract has now been extended to July 1, 2021. “These public facilities include a Park, streets/alleys, public water lines, sewer lines, storm drainage systems including storm water quality facilities, and street frontage improvements to the sidewalks,” wrote Public Works Director Steve Myrter in his staff report to the council.

“In January 2020, Shea Homes had anticipated that construction of all the development’s public infrastructure would be completed and turned over to the City by late spring of 2020,” Myrter wrote.

But unexpected delays postponed completion of the project.

“However, in the spring, the estimated turn over date for completion of the public infrastructure was revised to early fall 2020 due to a continuation of unforeseen conditions, including the onset of the global pandemic,” Myrter wrote.

“Currently, construction of approximately 95 percent of the public infrastructure has been completed. The remaining items to be constructed include the portion of Ocean Place Drive that joins Marina Drive, a portion of an alley that joins Marina Drive, and the final paving of the Marina Drive/1st Street intersection,” Myrter wrote.

“The construction of these items has been delayed due to Frontier’s inability to relocate their fiber optic line in a timely manner. Shea estimates that this work should be completed by January 1, 2021,” Myrter wrote.

This was a Consent Calendar item. The council votes on the Consent Calendar collectively, without discussion, unless items are removed for separate discussion.

Nothing was removed from this week’s Consent Calendar, so everything was approved unanimously without discussion.

Walt’s Wharf likely to reopen soon

Barricades for an outdoor dining parklet recently went up on Main Street outside of Walt’s Wharf.

The brown paper has come down from the windows.

Although a firm opening date has not been confirmed, posts on Walt’s Wharf’s Facebook page hinted that the restaurant might be reopened on Veterans Day.

The Sun received complaints from local restaurant owners complaining that Walt’s Wharf’s parklet occupies three former parking spaces.

That was confusing to Seal Beach Community Development Director Les Johnson, who said restaurants in the Main Street corridor had been individually notified by email that the city was allowing parklets to expand from two parking spaces to three.

Johnson said the city offered the parklet expansion a few weeks ago. He said most restaurants had taken advantage of the opportunity.

According to Johnson, Old Town Cafe and Kaito Sushi would expand to three spaces in the next two days (as of the Nov. 10 phone interview).

Johnson said that when Walt’s Wharf had inquired, the city granted the restauarant three spaces.

He also said a neighboring shop had offered its parklet space to Walt’s Wharf.

Seal Beach accepts more than $50K in coronavirus relief funds

The council approved the city government’s participation in getting CARES Act money “funneled” through the Community Development Block Grant funds. Orange County allocated $50,302 to Seal Beach. The council authorized the city manager to execute the required agreements and documents to make it happen.

“Unlike typical CDBG requirements, there was no formal application process for CDBGCV funds due to the need for a quick turnaround. Instead, City staff submitted a scope of expenses intended for the use of these funds in order for County staff to draft a contract and submit to HUD for approval. At this time, the contract has been approved by HUD and is ready to be signed by both parties (Seal Beach City Manager and County representative). To finalize the contract process, approval of a Resolution authorizing the City Manager as signing authority is required,” according to the staff report by Community Development Director Les Johnson.

This was a Consent Calendar item.

Consultant hired to update housing element

The council this week approved a contract with JHD Planning, LLC, to provide consulting services for updating the city’s Housing Element. The contract is for a maximum of $62,164, which was covered in the 2020-2021 budget. The contract is scheduled to expire on Dec. 31, 2021. The city has until Oct. 25, 2021, to update the Housing Element of the city’s General Plan.

The state mandate for the Housing Element has been complicated by the fact that the Southern California Association of Governments has “allocated” 1,239 housing units to Seal Beach—that is, requires the city plan for that many more places for people to live—and the fact that Seal Beach has a limited amount of land to develop.

“The budget of $62,164 assumes that City staff will provide the land use data required to compile an inventory of potential housing sites, which may include new field surveys and investigations. Based upon SCAG’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA) estimate of 1,239 units, it is likely that General Plan land use and/or zoning amendments will be necessary in order to obtain State Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) certification of the Housing Element,” according to the staff report prepared by Senior Planner Steve Fowler.

Staff expects more funds from the State’s Local Early Action Planning Grant, Fowler wrote.

“If awarded, the City expects to receive $135,000, which will be used to assist with the Housing Element update and completion of the City’s Local Coastal Plan,” Fowler wrote.

This was a Consent Calendar item.