Much to the relief of the audience packed with Rossmoor residents, the Seal Beach City Council voted 3-2 to scratch The Shops at Rossmoor off the list of locations to rezone for affordable housing.
The crowd erupted in cheers, when the council approved an abridged list of locations that could be considered suitable for affordable housing such as apartment units or for emergency homeless shelters. The Housing Element, which includes a list of locations that was narrowed down from seven locations to four, still has top be approved by the state.
“The shops at Rossmoor are in my district, and the people who live there do not want this in their district,” said Councilman David Sloan. “These aren’t Rossmoor people. They are Seal Beach residents who live adjacent to this site. They don’t want it, and neither do I.”
Sloan, Councilman Gary Miller and Mayor Mike Levitt voted to remove The Shops from the city’s list of possible affordable housing locations. Councilman Gordon Shanks and Councilwoman Ellery Deaton, opposed the decision because it places too much of the burden for meeting he state’s affordable housing requirements on Shanks’ District 3 neighborhoods, including the Hill, the Cove and Bridgeport.
To meet the state’s requirement that the city designate locations for 19 lower income housing units and 12 moderate income units, the city has chosen the vacant lot next to Marina Park, the storage facility at 1709 Adolfo Lopez Drive, the Boeing Parking lot and Sunset Aquatic Park. By October of 2013, one of those locations would have to rezoned for affordable housing, but the city is not actually required to build the housing units.
The council also removed the DWP property and vacant state land at First Street and Pacific Coast Highway from the list. The DWP property is being considered for high-end housing.
“The decision really pleases me, and I know that many people are going to be happy,” said Rossmoor Community Services District Board Member Ron Casey.
Even without high-density housing proposed for The Shops at Rossmoor, residents already put up with excessive traffic and a shortage of parking in the area, added Casey.
Over the last year, dozens of residents have fought to have locations in their neighborhood removed from the housing element’s list of affordable housing locations. However, one woman had harsh words Monday night for residents and city leaders who would object to affordable housing in their neighborhood.
SWARM Senior Pastor Shirley Broussard plans to open an emergency homeless shelter and transitional living facility in Seal Beach.
“What I am addressing is the unspoken, ‘I don’t want this in my neighborhood’ attitude,” said Broussard. “Citizens of Rossmoor, you have failed as a city and as citizens to accommodate these people.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified one of the locations removed from the housing element list. Sunset Aquatic Park is still on the list. A vacant parcel owned by the state at First and PCH was removed.
TELL US WHAT YOU THINK IN THE COMMENTS
Did the city make the right decision?