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City Backs Off Affordable Housing at Shops at Rossmoor

The Seal Beach City Council scratched the shopping center from a controversial list of locations for affordable housing required by the state.

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?

Emily Knell April 10, 2012 at 02:50 PM
What have I been saying? Rossmoorians don't have to worry about low income housing going in at our center! I've been saying it all along that this would never happen. Note to Shirley Broussard: Rossmoor is not a city, Rossmoorians didn't make this decision on where to put or identify low income housing, it's the City of Seal Beach who has the voting power. Shame on you for talking about the 'citizens of Rossmoor' as not being caring or sensitive to peoples of limited means. As a member of the Rossmoor Woman's Club we are always donating time & money to many local charities that assist the homeless and those less fortunate.
Schelly Sustarsic April 10, 2012 at 03:09 PM
I believe the council removed the state lands property at 1st and PCH from the list, not the Sunset Aquatic Park.
Robin April 10, 2012 at 03:30 PM
Rossmoor Woman's club helps their own. I know I was a member at one time. My mother was a founding member. They get together just to socialize and do an occasional charity donation. You are a realtor therefore property values are your greater concern. I too grew up in Rossmoor. I know who and what lives there...and it is not pretty at times. If you place an election poster of a liberal belief you will be ridiculed. Please get serious, the people of Seal Beach and Rossmoor are not fooling anyone.
tinytom April 10, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Maybe they took the large waves coming near their homes after taking the sand berm down as a message from above, and this caused them to reconsider their bad intention on where to locate the affordable housing.
Emily Knell April 10, 2012 at 03:50 PM
In 2011 the Rossmoor Woman's Club was able to donate $35,833 to local charities & that was only from the proceeds from the Holiday Home Tour & Garden Tour, the figure doesn't include donations made or funds raised through other functions throughout the year & this is from about 150 active members from Rossmoor & other nearby cities, who work to make this happen. They're not sitting around knitting a couple of sweaters for the homeless.
Emily Knell April 10, 2012 at 03:53 PM
And, Yes, as a Realtor & a Rossmoor homeowner I do care about property values as does every Rossmoorian.
David & Rebecca Lara April 10, 2012 at 11:53 PM
To Senior Pastor Shirley Broussard: Your assumption of people in Rossmoor is erroneous in several areas. Both my husband and myself belong to two churches and support each church's community outreach programs. We have lived here 30 years and the City of Seal Beach has used the Rossmoor Community as a place to locate their unwanted businesses. Old Town Seal Beach does not want traffic or needy people in their tourist local. As for Rossmoor, we have witnesses on many occassion emergency vehicles unable to cut through the Seal Beach congestion to get to Rossmoor to serve it's residents. The Rossmoor Predator Management Team has 1200 members who have assisted in many worthy causes both to benefit pets and humans as well. When a need has arisen, the residents of Rossmoor have responded generously. Please refrain for your hollier than thou attitude! TIP: No intellectual business of a charity would insult 40% of the community you live in before you launch your outreach program.
Paige Austin April 11, 2012 at 02:35 AM
You are correct. That was an error in the story, and i have since corrected it. Thanks for the correction!

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