RHA opposes Rossmoor Village annexation

Logo of Rossmoor Homeowners Association

The Rossmoor Homeowners Association came out against the annexation of the Rossmoor Village shopping center area last week.

At the neighborhood association’s Tuesday, Sept. 20 meeting, the RHA board passed a resolution opposing Los Alamitos city officials’ plans to annex the 14.5 acre property located on the southwest corner of Katella Avenue and Los Alamitos Boulevard. The area is commonly known as the “fourth corner.”

“Now therefore, be it resolved, that the Board of Directors of the Rossmoor Homeowners Associa-tion is unequivocally opposed to the action of the city of Los Alamitos and requests that all such action cease,” the resolution said.

The Rossmoor Community Services District board, the closest thing the unincorporated community has to a government agency, recently passed a similar resolution.

The commercial district generates $300,000 to $450,000 a year in sales revenue, according to a July staff report to the RCSD by General Manager Henry Taboada.

On Aug. 1, the Los Alamitos City Council directed the Los Alamitos Planning Commission to “initiate proceedings toward annexation of a portion of Rossmoor,” according to an Aug. 22 city staff report.

“The approximate 14.5 acre site consists of 17 parcels including commercial, multi-family apartments and a church,” the staff report said.

In late August, the Los Alamitos Planning Commission approved a resolution that amended the city’s General Plan and Zoning Code specifically to facilitate the annexation of the southwest corner.

Actual annexation would first require a vote by the Los Alamitos City Council. Under state law, the residents of the 14.5 acre southwest corner would not get a vote. California’s annexation law says that areas of less than 150 acres in size may be annexed without a protest by residents.

According to the LAFCO Unincorporated Islands Resource Web page, the entire Rossmoor community covers 988.36 acres.

The Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission would have to approve the annexation of the “fourth corner.”

The commission chairman is Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach, who has said he would support a partial annexation. Moorlach has said that there are only three options for Rossmoor: become an independent city, merge with Los Alamitos or merge with Los Alamitos and Seal Beach to form a larger city.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors has a long-standing policy to move unincorporated “county islands” like Rossmoor into nearby cities. Three members of the board sit on the OC Local Agency Formation Commission.

Rossmoor voters rejected cityhood in 2008. Seal Beach city officials have firmly opposed merging with either Rossmoor itself or with the two other communities.

In 2009, the Local Agency Formation Commission placed Rossmoor in Los Alamitos’ sphere of influence. This was seen as a first step toward the annexation of Rossmoor into Los Alamitos.

According to a survey conducted earlier this year, Rossmoor residents also appear to oppose the southwest corner annexation.

“Our research revealed that 82.0 percent of Rossmoor voters disapproved of the county of Orange changing city boundaries so that Rossmoor’s only sales tax-producing properties become part of the city of Los Alamitos,” wrote  Adam D. Probolsky  of Probolsky Research, LLC, in an Aug. 16 memo to the Rossmoor Community Services District.

The Probolsky memo said 300 individuals were surveyed.

At the time of the survey, Moorlach criticized the service as biased. He pointed out that the survey was financed in part by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department deputies’ union. The OCSD provides police services to Rossmoor.