Rossmoor expresses concern about Seal Beach ‘low income’ property

File photo

The pending designation of a portion of a 27-acre tract owned by the city of Seal Beach attached to the Shops at Rossmoor as a potential site for low-income housing has riled up the Rossmoor Community Services District.

While not enraged, directors delicately discussed at their February meeting a concern about the potential of Seal Beach designating 10-acres of the 27-acre tract adjacent to the upscale community of Rossmoor as a potential site for low-income housing as part of its SCAG-required housing element.

Rossmoor Community Services District General Manager Joe Mendoz said he had spoken by phone with city manager Jill Ingram and followed up with a letter citing the community’s concerns about developing a 10-acre parcel of low-income housing there.

Director Tony DeMarco asked Mendoza about “Seal Beach identifying the low-income housing space,” saying the property designation on Montecito, near the shopping center, could have a “significant impact” on Rossmoor. He said the development could affect traffic, parking and other factors, “all of them impactful.”

President Jeffrey Rips said the site could affect Rossmoor residents, not Seal Beach residents. He asked Mendoza to set up a meeting with Ingram to discuss the issue.

Cities are required by California law to identify potential sites for lower income housing, and housing in general as part of the Southern California Association of Governments.

It’s part of the Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) and is mandated by State Housing Law as part of the periodic process of updating local housing elements of the General Plan.

RHNA quantifies the need for housing within each jurisdiction during specified planning periods. Seal Beach’s current RHNA “allotment” requires planning for the construction of 1,243 residential units.

Organic waste

Also, residents complained about the CR&R response to the organic waste roll out, with one resident saying he’d waited so long for the blue lids for his waste collectors that he went to Home Depot, bought the paint, and made his own.

Dave Vandervoet said he called CR&R customer service, and they said to expect his new color lids to comply with the new waste requirements the Wednesday of the week he called. “They didn’t come,” he said. After this went on for six weeks, said Vandervoet, he took matters into his own hands.

Another resident, Kevin Pearce, asked a CR&R representative to confirm what company officials said at a public meeting months ago that residents could get an extra container at no cost.

Hashem Skokair, a company spokesman, appeared on the Zoom call to say, yes, at first, then after looking at the contract, saying, no, and that if residents wanted extra containers, it will cost 3.67 per month for organics and double that for extra recycling containers.

“You’re taking away our ability to maintain our property,” he said.

Skokair apologized for the miscommunication but saying Rossmoor services are governed by the company’s contract with Orange County, which had no such provision. He informed Pearce about other “freebies” in the contract including extra-large item pickup and free compost give away.

“Doesn’t really help,” said Pearce.

Shokair said a manufacturing shortage is responsible for the delay in delivery of proper color-coded lids to the community and gave Mendoza the toll-free number but suggested residents use the email address for much faster service in getting lids, containers or extra containers (

DeMarco said lids delivered near him were falling off of cans. Skohair acknowledged the error but said technical changes have been made. Also, he asked Shokair if regular green garbage bags could be used for the green waste canister.

Skohair said residents must use compostable bags, newspaper or paper to actually dispose of food wastes and he suggested residents store their food organics in plastic bags in the freezer until pickup date to prevent smelling.

Food scraps must be kept separate and the CR&R representative also suggested residents layer the organics in with compost on pickup day.

He also recommended residents keep a box of baking soda on hand to prevent odors from emanating from the organic food scraps.

Mark Nitikman, First Vice President, an attorney, said of the thousands of California laws he’s dealt with over his career, this new organic waste law has to be, by far, “the dumbest, poorly thought-out law I’ve seen.”

“Quite literally it is medieval,” he said, referring specifically to rules like the requirement to separate out animal bones. “Frankly, at least we’re lucky people are not dumping it from 2nd story windows.”

Regarding the new street sweeping services, Mendoza, and directors, generally complimented the rollout by Sunset Property Services. “There were a few hiccups,” said Mendoza, but the company reacted quickly to rectify them, even sending in street sweepers that were not required by the contract.

Andrea Howhannesian, who manages Sunset Property Services, the company that has the new agreement, said they are still dealing with parked cars and she said residents should not push their dead leaves onto the street. The fallen leaves have clogged up the sweepers, she said, and Rossmoor officials agreed to embark on a public relations campaign to ask residents not to push their leaves onto the streets.

The board also voted unanimously to begin the final 30-day implementation period, after which tickets that issue will no longer be warnings, but actual citations.

In other action, the RCSD:

• Learned from Mendoza that the summer events calendar wlll begin May 22 with a health and wellness fair, four family festivals, two movie nights and Winter Fest later in the year.

• Met with representatives of Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do, who became the OC rep for Rossmoor and other communities following redistricting. Do was the host of a meet and greet in March.

• Heard Director Nathan Searles, who offered a motion to meet by Zoom during the recent surge, say lifting the mandate required no further action and that the board could resume in-person meetings.

After some discussion, the district’s legal counsel agreed and they were expected to meet in person for March.

• Heard Rips say he was going to evaluate outreach committee assignments to see which of them were still relevant in 2022.

• Learned that Mendoza is waiting on a computer from the City of Cerritos to get the new flashing speed radar unit up and running.

• Working with the Rossmoor Library and collaborating with the Youth Center to install a new popup library near Rush Park. The Youth Center will maintain the books.

• Heard Mendoza say that all wood on benches had been replaced in time for the summer season. “I think people are ready,” he said.

• Agreed to reinvestigate the possibility of staging a farmer’s market in Rossmoor.