Surfside Colony gets $9K for sand berm

In February, the homeowners association representing Surfside Colony asked the city of Seal Beach to take over some of the costs of maintaining the beach in front of Surfside homes.

On Monday, April 11, the council voted 3-2 to spend $9,000 a year on funding for the annual sand berm to protect Surfside homes. Citing budget concerns and their contention that the Surfside beach is a private beach, council members Gordon Shanks and Gary Miller voted against the request.

Surfside was annexed into the city of Seal Beach in 1968.

The federal government pays for most, but not all, of Surfside’s beach maintenance costs.

“Historically, the cost paid by Surfside Colony, adjusted for inflation and current dollars, averaged $75,000 for each sand fill,” wrote board member K. C. Coultrup in his Feb. 17 letter to Mayor Pro Tem Gary Miller. Councilman Miller represents District 4 on the council.

The letter also asked Seal Beach to pay for maintaining the annual sand berm at $9,000.

In addition, the Coultrup letter said a rock revetment installed by the city in the early 1980s might need reinforcement if the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is delayed in providing the sand replacement that occurs every five or six years. The letter said that if the sand is replenished, there is no need for the city or Surfside Colony to worry about the revetment.

However, the letter asked the city to set aside funds for the revetment in the event of an emergency.

District 3 Councilman Shanks said the council should receive and file the request.

“I personally can’t justify handling their yearly problem,” Shanks said.

District 4 Councilman Miller said when Seal Beach annexed Surfside Colony, it was understood to be a private beach.

He said if other Seal Beach residents couldn’t go to that beach, the council should receive and file the report. Yet District 1 Councilwoman Ellery Deaton said the city has put up berms to protect private property.

“Every year, we treat them like a stepchild,” Deaton said.

Coultrup said there were no guards to keep people off the beach.

Shanks said that for practical purposes, Surfside’s beach was basically a private beach.

Deaton moved to approve $9,000 a year for the sand berm to start with.

She said the council could look at the sand replenishment next year.

Deaton said if Surfside residents pay property taxes, they deserve services from the city.

Shanks said $9,000 a year now would go up over time.

Deaton said the Surfside residents were citizens of the city and the beach was a public beach.

Mayor Michael Levitt, who represents District 5, said the current request was to pay for the berm. Miller said there was no vertical access to the beach.

He said Surfside did not allow the public to use the beach.

He said he didn’t like setting a precedent.

District 2 Councilman David Sloan seconded Deaton’s motion. The motion passed 3-2.

In other news, the council:

•  Accepted the resignation of Loraine Navarro from the Environmental Quality Control Board. Navarro represented council District 4.

• Directed staff to have a representative attend city of Long Beach meetings about the Pacific Coast Highway and 2nd Street development project.

• Continued to a future meeting a discussion about a proposed ban on wheeled devices on city sidewalks.