Some were angry, some were surprised and some were simply baffled.
At Monday's Los Alamitos City Council meeting, about a dozen people spoke out against proposed changes to the Katella Avenue/Lexington Drive intersection and the Katella/Enterprise Drive intersection and against a proposed left-hand turn lane into 24-Hour Fitness in Cypress.
City Council members were scheduled to discuss whether to allow southbound Lexington Drive traffic to travel through the intersection at Katella, whether to allow an eastbound Katella left-turn lane into the 24 Fitness parking lot and whether to allow Cottonwood Church to remove the signal at Katella and Cottonwood Way and install a new signal at Katella and Enterprise.
The residents who spoke during public comment said they didn't want the changes made.
Rob Feldman, a 23-year Los Alamitos resident, said he was “kind of blindsided” by the item.
“A signal on Enterprise? We already have a ton of traffic,” Feldman said. “I can imagine what’s going to be floating through our neighborhood, especially Carrier Row (if the changes are made). We have an agreement in place, and all of the sudden, we want to go to the city of Cypress to reenter negotiations?”
That agreement is one of the reasons residents spoke out – the intersections have a long of history.
According to a city staff report, in March 2004 the Cypress City Council approved the proposed Cottonwood Christian Center, a seven-building 495,000-square- foot church campus and three parking structures on a 31.07 acre parcel of land located on a portion of the Cypress Golf Course at the northeast corner of Katella Avenue and Lexington Drive.
In response, Los Alamitos sued Cypress and Cottonwood for “failure to adequately identify and mitigate traffic impacts associated with the Cottonwood Project.”
In July 2004, the three parties settled and agreed to follow a local traffic plan.
One of the plan's requirements: southbound traffic on Lexington Drive wouldn’t be allowed to go southbound past Katella.
A number of commenters said that they didn't know why the issue was before the council again.
Johanna Schleuter, who lives on Howard Avenue, said that the latest suggested traffic changes didn’t have anything to do with what local residents wanted.
“There’s no benefit to us at all, and the benefit I see is for the city of Cypress, and we’re the city of Los Alamitos,” Schleuter said. “We in the neighborhood are going to stand our ground.”
“Leave us out of your political dance with Cypress," Schleuter added.
Los Alamitos resident, J.M. Ivler, who lives in Carrier RoW, said a number of residents are wondering if there’s already been an agreement with Cypress to put in a new signal or make the turn lane into 24-Hour Fitness.
“When we see the wires that are already going into the ground, when we see someone out there surveying a turn pocket, you gotta know, we think that the deal is done and we are getting hosed," Ivler said.
After the meeting, City Manager Angie Avery and Mayor Troy Edgar said that they had not heard of any renovations being done on those intersections in Los Alamitos.
Avery said that if there was any work being done, it might have been in the Cypress city limits, not in Los Alamitos.
Near the end of the six-hour meeting, Edgar thanked the commenters and said, the council will “have to see where this process leads us.”
After the meeting, Edgar said there were not any behind the scenes dealings with Cypress about the proposed street changes.
“Not that I’m aware of," Edgar said.
Mayor Pro Tem Marilynn Poe recused herself from the discussion because of potential conflict of interest and said “one portion of the item is where my house is located."
Initially, Edgar proposed postponing the item for later discussion.
Council member Gerri Graham-Mejia asked Edgar to allow the locals to speak during public comments even if no action was taken on the item. Edgar agreed.
"I thank you for allowing them to speak," Mejia said to Edgar at the end of the meeting. "I just think that was the right thing to do."
After public comments, no action was taken on the item.
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