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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.

Robin December 16, 2011 at 02:39 PM
Very typical of Rossmoor! Affordable Housing, how horrid! It might bring the "wrong" kind of people to Rossmoor! We can't let that happen can we? I was born and raised in Rossmoor and I can see that things have not changed. Still full of people we commonly call bigots.
Elle December 16, 2011 at 03:12 PM
Seal Beach sure screamed when Long Beach had plans for additional building bordering on their little haven. The comments from Seal Beach about "not knowing" are just a little disingenuous, aren't they? As for Robin, I'm sure you are living an exemplary life doing good deeds for the less fortunate in surrounding communities and are immersed in public interest work for little or no pay and all the bigots in your former community can learn from you.
Emily Knell December 16, 2011 at 04:00 PM
There MUST be a new TRAFFIC STUDY done! The 2 left turn lanes should go in 1 block north of St. Cloud & the entrance driveway needs to be flattened a bit as cars already need to slow down considerably so not to scratch their cars. It looks like this may have been the original intention since there are 2 lanes heading into the Kohl's center at that point. The 2 lanes coming out of the Ralph's center should allow that the right turn only lane, also be a Straight lane, rather than the left turn lane also serve as the straight lane for people wanting to drive across the street to the Kohl's / Sprouts side of the street. At St. Cloud again, the left turn lane onto Seal Beach Blvd, should also serve as a Straight lane to drive up on the right side of the CVS so drivers can get to the Ralph's parking lot & vice versa coming back into Rossmoor. I don't understand why we can't just go straight at the Seal Beach Blvd /St. Cloud intersection. Making these changes isn't just for Rossmoor residents but also for the residents of College Park East and Seal Beach who frequent the center. The congestion is going to get worse and it doesn't have to be this way. Other than putting the 2 left turn lanes 1 block north, these ARE simple changes that could greatly help with the traffic flow.
Duong Vu December 16, 2011 at 04:19 PM
Rossmoor prefers to be independent. But they have express that they would rather merge with Seal Beach than be annexed by Los Alamitos. If Seal Beach agrees and share their revenue with the community, it might make up for all of this.
Richard December 16, 2011 at 04:44 PM
I don't see The City of Seal Beach building these big retail stores close to their neighborhood homes, they put these stores as far away as their borders allow. I grew up in Rossmoor, love it, but getting in and out is a pain, I don't shop in any Seal Beach stores, just my little way of protesting their disregard for Rossmoor residents, It's all about the tax dollars for Seal Beach. Rich
PBC December 16, 2011 at 05:18 PM
..Tis 'deemed" as mere PROGRESS but comes with a high cost and an expanding desire to return to 'yester-years' where/when there was NOT such congestion in 'the neighborhood'...We all endure what 'progress' brings to us and will too, bear the consequences and costs as well as the frustrations as we come to the realization that little to nothing CAN or WILL put a halt to the march.
Ned Brines December 16, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Residents of Rossmoor, College Park, East, Los Alamitos, etc-if you are unhappy about what is going on, get involved. Evidently Mayor Miller would like to hear from you, so start sending him emails, letters, faxes, and phone calls. Additionally, stop shopping at the two centers in Seal Beach. Go a bit out of your way. Let the City of Seal Beach know we can have an economic impact and our community should be considered when they make these decisions. Why don't we make a community pact to not shop in Seal Beach for the month of January? I'm sure the mayor will hear that.
enea ostrich December 16, 2011 at 07:31 PM
Contacting city council is a good idea. One who really thinks about impact of traffic is everyone, not just rossmoor. Griping to the right people is effective. This is not seal beach's fault. That is so false its not funny at all. The owner of the two different centers planned for expansion and it happened. The fact is that this is everyone's back yard and rather than gripe we need to contact the city to improve road conditions. I have already done so and city meetings are there for everyone, public included on the city website. So please check it out as i have. It works towards calm during a season that should include love rather than hate.
Edgar December 16, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Everyone bitches about how insolvent our state, counties, and cities are, yet we here in California have either made it so hard for industry and business’s to survive due to standards that are not cost-effective for industry to be profitable. We have lost Rockwell, Douglas Aircraft, Lockheed, 2 General Motors Plants (Van Nuys, South Gate) Ford (Pico) Chrysler, Firestone, Goodyear, General Dynamics, Hughes Aircraft and many more but that cost the state and local economy billions in tax dollars , wages, benefits. Everyone says not in my backyard, yet their the ones who want all the benefits they once had....hey welcome to the 3rd. world we have made our bed now we have to sleep in it due to our self-centered attitudes. This is a prime example of what we’ve made and are dumb enough to continue down the path due to the lack of common sense. Wake up and smell the coffee............
BG Stine December 16, 2011 at 10:31 PM
Some bright City of Seal Beach employee decided that a Friday morning, in the midst of morning rush hour and only eight days before Christmas, was a good time to repave a mere 200 feet of Seal Beach Blvd. Three northbound Seal Beach Blvd. drivers PLUS two lanes SB Blvd. 405Northbound off ramp drivers had to squeeze into ONE LANE. Therefore, the City that likes that tax revenue from the Shops at Rossmoor lost some money Friday. I drove the 1.8 miles from Carl's Jr. to St. Cloud in ONLY 50 (yes, 5-0) minutes. I counted 23 cars that made u-turns before even hitting the bridge. Guess they figured they would spend their money somewhere else.
Gina December 16, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Robin, It has nothing to do with the "wrong" kind of people, it is the fact that we are already over crowded. The residents of Rossmoor or "bigots" would be opposed to 37 of ANY kind of housing units being built in the shopping center. I think most would also agree that it is unfair, that of the City of Seal Beach's entire city boundaries they pegged the back parking lot of the shopping center, which is surrounded by Rossmoor, to sacrifice for the state mandated housing!
Gina December 16, 2011 at 11:46 PM
Hello Ned....I nominate you to head the Pact Committee. Anyone 2nd the nomination?
Sachi M December 17, 2011 at 02:22 AM
Richard, You are so RIGHT about that!! I agree....it's all about tax dollars for Seal Beach..and they could care LESS about Rossmoor because the main body of their homes is alway from the Shops at Rossmoor!
tinytom December 17, 2011 at 08:21 AM
The old Rossmoor Shopping Center was built as a small town feel with public walking areas and pedestrian friendly, and it had a bowling alley. This new design, plus the whole new shopping center east of Los Alamitos Blvd is built to drive and spend at each individual spot. There are no spots for kids or adults to hang out. But ain't that our world - money, money, money above all else including quality of life and people as consumers.
Henrietta Carter December 17, 2011 at 10:15 AM
I, too, miss the small town feel that was here when I moved in. I really miss the movie theater and Rossmoor Bakery.
tinytom December 17, 2011 at 05:13 PM
In addition to a Toys R Us, Pet Smart, Babies R Us, Rite Air and Staples, why not have a fun attraction for people, like the Aquarium in LB. How about The Wolf Sanctuary at Rossmoor? Here is a taste: www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ9swBnxk7k&feature=related
Robin December 17, 2011 at 06:02 PM
Yes, I am proud of what I do for a living. I work with disabled children, some of which live in Rossmoor. Many of those hours are volunteer hours. So look within my dear.
tinytom December 17, 2011 at 06:18 PM
I'm just joking around. Thinking about it, this seems like more endless, uncreative, lowbrow shopping mall development with zero space for non-shopping activities.
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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