Seal Beach considers traffic study for Shops At Rossmoor

A traffic study for the area surrounding the Shops at Rossmoor will be on the agenda for the Feb. 27 Seal Beach City Council meeting, according to City Engineer Michael Ho.

He confirmed the Rossmoor Homeowners Association’s recent announcement on their website that the city would conduct a traffic survey for Seal Beach Boulevard. Ho said the survey would look at the entire Shops at Rossmoor center (which is located in Seal Beach) and the potential impact of building in the center up to the year 2030.

Ho said he city was looking for traffic engineers to perform the study. Ho said the study was being done in response to concerns raised by the RHA.

Ho said the city did not yet know the cost of the traffic study. He said it would be up to the consultant to determine the length of time the study would take place.

Ho also said the study would take into account the construction activity taking place on nearby freeways as part of the Orange County Transportation Authority’s West County connectors project.

The study would have to include the impact on traffic of the planned OCTA expansion of the Seal Beach Boulevard bridge.

“The new study would be the first time that the major north and south street running along Rossmoor has been examined since commercial development on both the east and west sides of the strip intensified in recent years,” said a recent Homeowners Association press release about the proposed traffic study.

RHA members and Rossmoor residents who attended a recent meeting of the Rossmoor Community Services District Ad Hoc Committee on the shopping center have expressed concern about potential traffic congestion caused by the construction of new businesses within the shopping center.

City Engineer Ho said the RHA had raised concerns about whether recent construction at the shopping center was compliant with the California Environmental Quality Act.

Ho said he couldn’t speak to the question of CEQA compliance. However, he did say that the shopping center was built before the passage of the California Environmental Quality Act.

“Is this (traffic study) necessary? No,” he said.

He said the traffic study would not answer questions about the state environmental law, but would look at build-out in the shopping center up to 2030.

“Everything up until today has met city requirements,” Ho said. According to Ho, all construction projects currently underway or planned for the Shops at Rossmoor were exempt from CEQA.

Director of Development Services Mark Persico said basically the same thing during a mid-January interview with the Sun. Persico said the Rite Aid pharmacy and In N Out burger restaurant projects were both granted conditional use permits by the Planning Commission. Persico said the proposed Toys R Us/Babies R Us store was allowed by right under the Municipal Code.

He said changes to the former Stats site, a remodel to allow three retailers to share the one building, were also allowed under the code because there was no change to the floor area.

As previously reported in the Sun, two of the spaces in the Stats site will be a Staples office supply store and a PetSmart store.

PetSmart had originally planned a larger store at the former location of Albertson’s supermarket, but those plans were called off when the country entered the recession.