After a year of heated subcommittee, community and commission meetings, the controversial DWP housing development will go before the Seal Beach City Council meeting tonight.
The latest version is a more modest housing development than what the Planning Commission first reviewed last month. Instead of a 48-home development on the city’s last piece of coastal property along First Street, developers Bay City Partners are now looking to build a 32-home project on varying lot sizes from 30 to 50-feet wide. The modified proposal also has more open space. In the current proposal, there are no homes to be built south of Central Way.
Since it was first proposed, the project has sharply divided the community between those who support it and the property owner’s right to build a profitable development and those who believe the city has an obligation to protect the public open space for which the project has long been zoned.
Bay City Partners is looking to have the city approve zoning and land-use changes for the property (from hotel or motel to residential) as well as an environmental impact report for the project.
The project has a long and complicated history. Formerly owned by the Department of Water and Power, the city has spent decades planning for its use and hundreds of residents offered community input. Ultimately, the property was zoned for open space and visitor uses such as restaurants, shops or a hotel. The city had several opportunities to buy the land and preserve it as open space but never did for lack of money. Bay City Partners bought the property but quickly decided that a hotel on the property would not be economically feasible.
They came up with plans for high density housing and quickly ended up in dueling lawsuits with the city that cost upwards of $1 million dollars and ended last year with a settlement agreement in which the developers would give the city 6.5-acres for open space and access to a bike trail and the First Street parking lot if the project is approved. In exchange for the open space, access and a sewer easement, the city will pay Bay City Partners nearly $2 million and give the developers about 7,000 square feet of roadway along First Street.
The City Council meeting is at 7 p.m. Monday night at City Hall, 211 Eighth St.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the meeting day.