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Seal Beach Gets Major Retailers, Rossmoor Gets Frustrated

Several major chains are coming to Seal Beach's Shops at Rossmoor, but residents adjacent to the shops have concerns about the impact to quality of life.

The Shops at Rossmoor are getting a series of major new tenants, and the changes have some in the community worried about the traffic and safety impact to the surrounding neighborhood.

A Toys R Us, Babies R Us, Rite Aid, and an In ‘N Out Burger are already in varying phases of construction at the south end of the shopping center. Additionally, the Shops’ property owners have already submitted plans to the city of Seal Beach to remodel into three separate stores to house a Staples and a PetSmart after the lease expires at the end of the year. None of the remaining projects will require approval from the Seal Beach Planning Commission or City Council, nor do they require input from neighboring Rossmoor residents, many of whom packed a community meeting Tuesday to voice their frustration.

“We basically have no say in what goes on in our backyard. It’s very frustrating,” said Rossmoor resident Brenda Gorman. “Seal Beach is using us as its trashcan basically.”

Gorman, a 40-year resident and realtor in the community, worries about the increase in traffic and crime stemming from the expanded shopping center.

Seal Beach Mayor Pro Tem Gary Miller attended Tuesday’s meeting in Rossmoor and listened to the neighboring community’s concerns.

“It was pretty eye-opening. I feel bad that they perceive Seal Beach that way. They think Seal Beach isn’t sensitive to them,” said Miller. “But they don’t come to (Council meetings) to tell us their concerns. All I can say is come and tell me about it. If you don’t tell me about it, I don’t know it.”

A decade ago, the center was home to small local shops that served the residents nearby. But now the national chains draw customers from surrounding cities such as Hawaiian Gardens, said Gorman. Seal Beach’s decision to add a second left hand turn from Seal Beach Boulevard to St. Cloud Drive will only encourage people to drive into Rossmoor to get to and from the new stores instead of using the main entrance to the Shops at Rossmoor off of Seal Beach Boulevard, added Gorman. With the increase in people coming to the shopping center, it has seen an increase in crime, including two people robbed at gunpoint at the Shops in the last year.

Another concern for the Rossmoor residents are Seal Beach’s plans to rezone the back-end of the property for affordable housing.

The zoning change puts the city in compliance with state law, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that homes will be built on the property, said Seal Beach Director of Development Services Mark Persico. The law requires he city to identify a place for affordable housing, but it doesn’t require that the housing be built, added Persico. To allow for affordable housing, the city doesn’t set an income limit for the tenants or determine the sale price of the units. It simply has to allow for increased density, which amounts to 33 units per acre. That density is actually lower than the existing condos along Montecito Road, added Persico.

The property owner does not oppose the zone change, but “they have no plans to build housing now,” Persico said.

As for the Rossmoor community’s frustration, it could be alleviated some with better communication between Rossmoor community leaders and Seal Beach officials, said Persico. He recommended that Rossmoor officials reach out to Seal Beach to talk about some of their concerns.

b December 18, 2011 at 02:40 AM
I have written to the City of Seal Beach about all of the major problems for Rossmoor residents; no response. AT THE VERY LEAST provide sidewalks and wheelchair access for the centers and all of the stores. Seal Beach seems to have gone to great effort to make it as inconvenient for Rossmoor residents, as possible. Just asking for a little common courtesy ...
Richard December 19, 2011 at 04:55 PM
Seal Beach is upset at Long Beach for the proposed PCH and 2nd Street project? In a article in the O.C. Register 12/11/2011, Seal Beach Councilwoman Ellery Deaton said, " Whatever happens at Second and PCH will affect our quality of life in Seal Beach" , What of our quality of life in Rossmoor? Seal Beach doesn't care. With the added traffic in and around Rossmoor, additional crime,pollution that comes with adding more retail stores at the Rossmoor Center. The traffic on Seal Beach Blvd at St. Cloud is a mess, I have to use the back entrance off Katella. I do not shop in Seal Beach.
Emily Knell December 23, 2011 at 04:15 PM
Regarding the lanes going out of the Target center at Town Center Dr. & into the Kohl's parking lot, I would prefer to see 1 green light allowing people to exit the Target Center & then a separate green light for cars to flow out of the Kohl's center, the same as is done at St. Cloud for people exiting the CVS/Ralphs & for cars coming out of Rossmoor. As it is now, at the Town Center light, only 2-3 cars are able to make it turning left in either direction PER each green light & this is going to get much much worse when the other shops open on the Kohl's side with people trying to exit. I think that's an EASY change & would great improve traffic flow.
Richard January 13, 2012 at 03:46 PM
When are the residents of Rossmoor and Los Alamitos going to realize that Seal Beach just doesn't care about them, Seal Beach only cares about the Tax dollars. I have stopped shopping in Seal Beach and the Rossmoor center long ago, why call it The Shops at Rossmoor when it's Seal Beach, Seal Beach sends it's students to Los Alamitos, Why? Bottom line, Seal Beach political view is, they just don't care. Seal Beach cried and complained about the PCH and 2nd street development by Long Beach.
Paul Vohsing September 16, 2012 at 05:59 AM
For those who think this doesn't impact Rossmoor.... you need your brains checked..... since before the first of the Shops at Rossmoor opened,, there was the opening of Target directly across the street.... how has that changed Rossmoor, well check with the Orange County Sheriffs Departments statistics.... Crime has Skyrocketed in Rossmoor, primarily Auto theft, and auto break in's. Home invasions and assaults have been steadily climbing.... These BOX Stores have steadily drawn in Riff Raff to the Area, and now with the addition of the new stores, Ulta, PetSmart, Staples and so on those Crime numbers are bound to rise once again.... Rossmoor is quickly losing it's quaint charm, and quiet nature. I have lived in Rossmoor since 1960.... I Never once called the Police until about 4 years ago, and i have called 3-4 times each year to report break in's, or outright theft of my cars and trucks.... It has become a travesty.....

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