Seal Beach planners extend Beach Fitness permit

The Seal Beach Planning Commission extended the Beach Fitness Conditional Use Permit last week. Photo by Charles M. Kelly

The Seal Beach Planning Commission indefinitely extended the Beach Fitness conditional use permit on Monday, May 5.

The commission received 15 letters for and one letter against the permit extension.

The permit was originally issued to allow the business to expand into an adjacent unit on Main and Central Avenue.

The Main Street area business is owned by Barbara Bartee and Bryce Turner, who writes the Focus on Fitness column for the Sun Newspapers.

“The business has been in operation since summer of 2005 and was originally known as ‘Fisicly Fit,’” said the staff report by Senior Planner Jerry Olivera.

“The present owners took over the business from the previous owners and renamed the business ‘Beach Fitness.’”

Support for the business was strong.

Staff received 15 letters in favor of extending the permit. However, while the support was strong it was not universal.

“This will be the third time that I have complained about the noise being emitted from the early morning arrivals and class group instructions being shouted,” wrote Maury J. Nipp on April 28.

The Olivera report said there were complaints from residents living nearby concerning noise and business activity in the alley separating the commercial and residential zones.

“Staff believes that much of this occurred because the business simply did not have adequate space to accommodate their clientele,” Olivera wrote.

In his report to the Planning Commission, Olivera wrote that by the nature of the business there would always be some complaints about noise.

The report said that while there might not be an effective way to eliminate the health club’s noise impact, some additional conditions would help.

“Staff has received numerous letters of support for the business and does feel that, outside of the residential noise complaint, the business does add to the vitality and diversity of Main Street, and provides a service to residents that is popular and largely without adverse impacts,” Olivera wrote.

Fourteen of the 15 support letters came from satisfied customers of the business.

One of the letters came from a member of the Chamber of Commerce

“My military family and I moved to Seal Beach nine months ago from Boston, Mass.,” wrote Joanne Clyburn.

“I never thought I would know each one of the owners and trainers better than I know my next door neighbors,” Clyburn said.

Long-time residents also expressed enthusiasm for Beach Fitness.

“As a 30-year plus resident of Seal Beach, I consider this gym to be a valuable addition to our community,” wrote Alan J. London.

He went on to explain that he was referred to the club by a physician following a back injury. He credited club staff with providing a program that achieved “substantial success” in improving his condition.

In other business:

• Following a public hearing, planners recommended that the City Council approve the new draft of the Zoning Code for Seal Beach. The commission can only make a recommendation about a change to the Municipal Code. The final decision rests with the City Council.

• The commission approved a resolution honoring former District 2 Commissioner John Larson’s service to the city of Seal Beach on both the Planning Commission and the City Council. Larson recently resigned for health reasons. He was not present at the Wednesday, May 5 meeting.