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  JULY 13, 2008



ALERT FOR MONDAY JULY 14, 2008

The Seal Beach City Council is at it again! They are UNLAWFULLY and UNETHICALLY VIOLATING your REFERENDUM rights, and THIS MONDAY NIGHT are introducing yet ANOTHER new downzoning Ordinance “Title 11” to take valuable property and rights from Seal Beach homeowners.

 

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!  HELP US STOP THEM NOW!

 

THEY ARE LYING THAT REFERENCES TO “FLOOR AREA RATIOS” AND “BUILDING ENVELOPE” SETBACKS HAVE BEEN REMOVED – THEY HAVE NOT!

DOWNZONING IS STILL THEIR AGENDA!

WE NEED YOU TO COME TO CITY HALL THIS MONDAY NIGHT FOR THE PUBLIC HEARING ON THIS UNLAWFUL SNEAK ATTACK AGAINST PROPERTY OWNERS, and TO SPEAK UP AGAINST THIS INCREDIBLE ABUSE OF OUR RIGHTS!

ALERT YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS.

VOTERS MUST COME AND REJECT THIS ATTEMPT TO NULLIFY THE PEOPLES’ RIGHT OF REFERENDUM.

HELP US HALT THIS LATEST OUTRAGE BY COUNCILMEN ANTOS AND SHANKS, AND CITY ATTORNEY BARROW!

Make your voices heard.  Under law, they should not be able to attack property owners and residents again for an entire year with these unfair and unwanted zoning changes, because of our recent successful Referendum petition gathering against the odious Ordinance 1569. 

But they passed their sneaky “emergency” rescinding ordinance, REFUSED TO CERTIFY OUR 3,422 VOTER SIGNATURES AGAINST ORDINANCE 1569, and are pretending they are now not bound by the strictures of Referendum in bringing 99% of Ordinance 1569 back again within 60 DAYS.

Save Our Seal Beach on May 21, 2008 lawfully submitted, within the qualifying deadline, over 38,800 pages of Referendum documentation to halt this renegade City Council’s zoning abuses; they are lawlessly ignoring that successful Referendum against them and their downzoning obsession.  While we abide by the law; they slither around it, or arrogantly override it.

Antos, Shanks and Barrow have NO RESPECT FOR THE VOTERS OF SEAL BEACH, NO RESPECT FOR PROPERTY RIGHTS, and NO RESPECT FOR THE PEOPLES’ RIGHT OF PETITION!  THEY SIMPLY MUST BE REMOVED FROM OFFICE!

 

Stop the Seal Beach

City Council

Wrecking Crew

 

COME TO THE JULY 14, 2008
CITY COUNCIL MEETING AND ZONING
PUBLIC HEARING

7:00 PM
CITY HALL

SPEAK OUT FOR YOUR RIGHTS OF REDRESS AGAINST THEIR ABUSES OF OFFICE – PROTECT YOUR VOTE, YOUR PROPERTY, AND THE INTEGRITY OF OUR REFERENDUM, RECALL AND INITIATIVE ELECTION PROCESS

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740  www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

  MAY 27, 2008




OPEN LETTER TO THE CITY COUNCIL  & CITY ATTORNEY                                                May 27, 2008

City of Seal Beach
211 8th Street
Seal Beach, CA 90740

 

Dear Mr. Sloan, Mr. Miller, Mr. Levitt:

In the interest of good government – of accountability, rationality, fairness and prudence, I am asking you to please defer in your vote tonight, for now, setting any date for bringing an expensive and divisive Initiative on Residential Height forward.  While our Committee welcomes a vote by the people of the City on this and other vital property issues, in good time, with good information available to them, that time is not now.  Any election calendar needs to be presently tabled in the interest of fact-finding and truth-telling first.

What is the urgency of this proposed Initiative?  The economy has tanked, there is no prospect of any residential third story building on speculation – there are 38 homes right now in Seal Beach under threat of foreclosure, did you know that?

The little flurry of new plans and permits sought by wider lot owners like me under duress from Mr. Antos’ and Mr. Shanks’ downzoning aggression – those half dozen property owners are already taking their steps to build under the existing code.  So who is the City “urgently” protecting itself from with this $60,000 election?  Nobody.

The only urgency on the timeline is “incumbent protection” for Mr. Antos’ and Mr. Shanks’ political careers, but that is not your responsibility.  Your responsibility is good stewardship to the City, and all the families who live here, and own homes here – and good stewardship means if there is to be a vote, it should be a calm, rational and informed vote.  We are nowhere near there yet.

To set any election date tonight is to act in a vacuum, to rush forward on no more than a foundation of Mr. Antos’ lies and a whole series of the City’s procedural violations thanks to the City Attorney – and I am going to give you good reasons why you need to stop City Council advancement of this matter for the time being.

A fall election will tear this town further apart, because pushing on now can only be based on emotion, not on facts – we have no facts to support the necessity for a retroactive height limitation, and we have no facts to account for what it will mean legally, demographically, economically for the City. An immediate vote will waste money, tens of thousands of dollars, when the City is effectually bankrupt with unfunded obligations.  It will set a calendar that will ruin everyone’s summer and shatter family plans for those of us with kids.  Perhaps most importantly, it will complicate deeply serious and troubling legal questions that are already coming under investigation, while actually solving nothing –

 

Page 2

 

while it embitters and enflames passions that have already been fecklessly and irresponsibly stoked by a few men’s shabby and low political ambitions.

Here’s why:  The City’s actions surrounding Ordinance 1569 and before it, Ordinance 1553 have been so tainted, so grossly irregular, so thuggish, and so overtly unethical and illegal that there is simply no public confidence left in this process, or in the City Attorney’s ability to perform his duties as required in the initiative process.  Because of its unethical practices, we have had to become adversaries of our own City, we have Ordinance 1569 under Referendum strictures, and we are drafting legal investigative complaints against actions you, the City Council, have already taken by advice of City Counsel.  You do not need to compound these difficulties for the City tonight – and I implore that you not do so.

You need to stop for now, and assess the City’s position, and assemble a team of people who can get the factual background on the public policy question of retroactive height limitations properly presented to you, before deciding the propriety and wisdom of initiating a public vote on it.  You should not have voted on Ordinance 1569 based on rumor, without knowledge and facts – the people deserve to vote knowing the facts – and the facts have been systematically concealed and distorted from everyone involved by the City to the point of fraud. 

Indeed, it is possible that this whole mess may rise to the level of criminal and civil rights violations before the investigators are through with it.  If Antos and Shanks succeed with their regulatory takings against the lot-and-one-half owners under any rubric, the City will surely face and likely lose a very costly class action takings lawsuit it can ill-afford.  You do not want to further compound and complicate this dismal record by acting precipitously tonight.

Mr. City Attorney Barrow is not impartial; he has an undeniable financial interest in promoting this fight, he has financially benefited tremendously from all this strife and nonsense, and he has acted as an advocate for Mr. Antos’ downzoning agenda from the outset.  He publicly voiced his contempt for the legal requirements for public notification and the Brown Act during the Referendum on Ordinance 1553, and I do not believe his advice to you new City Council members now has been in the best interests of the City or your own legal propriety.  I do think it has immediately served Mr. Antos’ and Mr. Shanks’ political agenda, and has made for a whole lot of billable hours.  We are filing for disclosure of all of Mr. Barrow’s invoicing of the City throughout Mr. Antos’ tenure, which will include Mr. Shanks’ tenure as well.

To all appearances, this City has at the advice of Counsel conspired against the people in repeated violations of the Brown Act, violated normal and legal legislative and administrative procedures, and congratulated itself for it – and the public perception of City Hall corruption and duplicity is now so palpable that no Residential Height Initiative presently called is going to solve our crisis of community.  There are far deeper matters which must first be publicly addressed.

 I call upon you, the new City Council, to distance yourself from further implication in this deplorable record, and to impose a cooling down period, right now, while some kind of authentically objective, professional and ethical intervention can be brought into this process.  Tonight, none of us can yet fully know the very grave consequences that loom over the City’s actions which have already transpired.

But I will remind you that my Committee can readily pursue legal relief from the mess Mr. Antos, Mr. Shanks and Mr. Barrows have you and the whole City in, through petition for possible Grand Jury investigation, and investigation by the Public Integrity Division of Orange County District Attorney of the City’s actions surrounding Ordinance 1569.  Under the Public Records Act of California, we will find out precisely how this agenda has unfolded without the public’s adequate and proper legal notice, knowledge and participation.

 

Page 3

 

Further, we are going to discover why City Staff and the Planning Commission have colluded to the point of fraud in consistently and systematically withholding relevant data, including vital municipal economic analysis, and in misinforming the voters and homeowners in Seal Beach about how many and what kinds of private properties would be affected by downzoning, and what those effects would be.

Mr. Antos, Mr. Shanks, and Mr. Barrow:

You clearly continue to think that you are above the law, and that you can continue to ignore the letter and the spirit of the Brown Act with impunity and void your obligations to adhere to the statutory notice requirements (California Government Code § 65091) and the Brown Act (Government Code §§ 54950-54962) .  This is not the case.  You are going to be held accountable.  You cannot unlawfully mug us one night at midnight with some pre-orchestrated stab in the back, then waltz in and think you can undo it with another pre-orchestrated backroom deal two weeks later – and somehow, all the illegality is going to cancel itself out.

Councilmen, please.  Just STOP, get some professional, truthful legal and policy advisors on board who will at least admit their advocacy and bias if they have picked sides – instead of lying about it – and for the good of the City let’s try to compile some actual data on the economic and fiscal impact of what is proposed, and the legal implications of the City retroactively targeting this small and discrete minority of property owners – you are realistically talking about a handful of 37.5 foot wide lots here, little more, nothing remotely like the falsified and inflated numbers of properties put out for two years by the scaremongering City Staff.

I would ask Lee Whittenberg and the Staff just how desperate is the danger posed of radical “change” to the City from this minority of homeowners, presently?  Just how many evil developers over the next year are you likely to halt if you rush to this Initiative now, and the City should prevail against property owners?  And what about all the unintended consequences, all the things like citizens with their “plans in the pipeline” that no one has even thought about?

Please, you need reliable knowledge to act wisely.  You are City stewards.  Put this very crucial action on hold until facts are made available and reason can prevail.

Sincerely,

signature

Mary P. Lewis
President, Chairman of the Board
Save Our Seal Beach, Inc.

 

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740  www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

 

  MAY 21, 2008

Congratulations Seal Beach!



119 8th Street, Seal Beach, CA 90740
Phone: (562) 431-0950


May 21, 2008

4:30 PM

I, Mary Lewis, have been duly authorized by the Save Our Seal Beach Committee to submit to the City Clerk, City of Seal Beach, the following Committee-documented results of the Referendum Against Ordinance Number 1569:

Total pages of documentation submitted:  38,802
Total number of Referendum Petition pages:  38,750
Total number of new Voter Registration forms for registrations entered 05/21/08:  46
Total number of Petition binders:  62
Total of estimated Petition signatures:  3,422

If you have any questions please feel free to call me at 562-234-5540.

Sincerely,                                       

signature           signature
Mary P. Lewis                                   Eldon L. Alexander
President, Chairman of the Board      Secretary, Member Board of Directors
Save Our Seal Beach, Inc.                 Save Our Seal Beach, Inc.

 

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740  www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

 



119 8th Street, Seal Beach, CA 90740
Phone: (562) 431-0950


May 21, 2008

I, Mary Lewis, have been duly authorized by the Save Our Seal Beach Committee to submit to the City Clerk, City of Seal Beach, the following Committee statement regarding our citizen’s Referendum Against Ordinance Number 1569:

We, the petitioners, object comprehensively to and seek relief against the contents, philosophy, intents and effects of Ordinance 1569, in their entirety.  Relevant to Ordinance 1569, this includes but is not limited to the entire Ordinance’s General Provisions, the Base District and Overlay District Regulations, the Regulations Applying in Some or All Districts, Land Use and Zoning Decisions, and Terms and Definitions.

We, the petitioners, object to and seek relief against the Ordinance’s draconian instigation of new and novel height limitations, Floor-to-Area-Ratios, daylight planes, landscaping, open space and green area requirements, increased parking and garage allocations, and effectual architectural review and design control of all new construction by the City Planning Commission.

We object comprehensively to and seek relief against the facts that regarding intrinsic and constitutionally guaranteed rights of ownership and disposition of private property, Ordinance 1569 repudiates the City General Plan, ratified by popular vote; it stealthily advances a small special interest’s “zero-growth” economic and zoning agenda against the repeated expressed will and the common good of the general City electorate; it financially persecutes a discrete, unprotected minority of private property owners with unjustified and massively disproportionate regulatory takings; it discriminates against younger and/or larger families, multi-generational living arrangements and those families attempting in-home elder care accommodations, racial and ethnic minorities who culturally favor extended family or multi-generational households; and economically punishes all other City homeowners with downzoning provisions affecting neighborhoods Citywide without appropriate notification, without their advance knowledge or consent, and without substantive opportunity for their informed deliberation or democratic participation in such critical public policy decisions with far-reaching economic and demographic implications.

 

Page 2

 

We object comprehensively and seek relief against the outrageous and unjustified extension of government power asserted in publicly stated claim by the City Council, the Planning Commission, and City Staff that they could make any change they wished in zoning codes based on inherent police powers of local legislatures over land use.  This despite the fact that California and Seal Beach statutes governing land use show legislatures can make changes only when they can demonstrate evidence of code alteration necessary to preserve the health, safety, or general welfare of the community. Neither the City Council, the Planning Commission, nor City Staff cited any reasons for code changes based on health, safety, or general welfare within the new Ordinance 1569.  Even when citizens requested that the City provide data and health studies when “mold” was briefly cited by downzoning advocates, and even when an economic impact analysis of the residential and commercial code changes being sought by Staff and promoted by the Planning Commissioners were repeatedly requested by citizens and representatives of the Committee for public review, the City refused to provide such.

We object that when any mention of reasonable “investment back” expectations by homeowners was made during the truncated public hearings held regarding the massive 600 page Ordinance 1569, those concerns were utterly disregarded, ignored in the same dismissive fashion by City Council and City functionaries that virtually all concerns by private property owners attempting to participate in the earlier, sham “study session” process were – by being pejoratively labeled and derided as “developers” motivated by only “greed” and “profit” without any legitimate policy issues to raise regarding the City’s agenda of regulatory takings or its procedural irregularities in that process.

We object that while those Seal Beach citizens and homeowners concerned over respect for property rights were routinely dismissed from the policy process and their recommendations generally ignored, the City Council and Planning Commission accepted specious arguments from a special interest minority of residents that wished to raise the alleged “blocking of sea breeze and sunlight” by any new construction to the level of nuisances – even though California courts have refused to allow air, light and view to be considered nuisances leading to extended use of police powers by local governments.

We object that the City Council and Planning Commission fecklessly and groundlessly claimed they were representing the majority of Seal Beach residents in passing Ordinance 1569, ignoring the only recent data on these issues:  Citywide Referendum signature gathering of 3,600 voter signatures in 2006 against residential height restricting Ordinance 1553, and the election returns of Proposition 90 of 2006 that considered the definition of regulatory takings as it exactly applies to the situation of downzoning within zoning codes. The Statement of Votes for Proposition 90 shows it passed overwhelmingly in each of the five Council Districts of Seal Beach. 

 

Page 3

 

However, Mayor Antos has repeatedly refused to be guided by the sense of the full community by seriously considering these results, and has continued to falsely assert that in downzoning, he is acting in the will of the majority.

We object that Mayor Charles Antos has publicly admitted that reducing the residential home height limit from 35 feet to 25 feet would only affect a small number of properties. However, he is determined at any cost that a discriminated-upon minority should bear the burden of his stated objective to “preserve the quaint character” of the whole community, even if unsupportable in law and justice.

FURTHER:  We the petitioners, object comprehensively to and seek relief against irregular and extraordinary City Council votes and manipulation of legislative procedures attendant to both the City Council’s passage and temporary rescission of Ordinance 1569, as such conduct affords every appearance of personal advancement, political pay-offs and an obvious illicit procedural ploy to preempt and thereby obviate the validity of this Referendum effort, as Mayor Antos has already directed City Staff to bring forward various odious elements of Ordinance 1569 piecemeal “as soon as possible.”  Such conduct violates every norm of decent and fair democratic process; and such conduct fails to protect the good name and sense of community of the City of Seal Beach, and disgraces and scandalizes the obligations of stewardship entrusted to the City Council by the citizens.

As is well known, the Brown Act (Government Code §§ 54950-54962) governs meeting access for local public bodies.  It states that meetings of public bodies must be "open and public," actions may not be secret, and action taken in violation of open meetings laws may be voided (§§ 54953(a), 54953(c), 54960.1(d)).  Serial meetings or individual meetings amongst City Council on issues that should be discussed in open meetings are likewise prohibited. 

This prohibition applies substantively to the initial passage of Ordinance 1569.  The Committee believes that Seal Beach Mayor Charles Antos, City Councilman District 1, has clearly and repeatedly conspired to violate the Brown Act in establishing a chain quorum within the Seal Beach City Council.   Recent passage of Ordinance 1569 would not have been possible to effect in the irregular manner of City Council actions without Mr. Antos manipulating the appointments and votes of two newly appointed City Council members Gary Miller and David Sloan – possibly with the illicit collusion of  District 3 Councilman Gordon Shanks.

On June 26, 2006, following abuse of their Moratorium power and much public rancor, the Seal Beach City Council voted to approve a ban on 3 story homes in Seal Beach under Ordinance 1553.  This set an immense public debate in motion that, after the

 

Page 4

 

collection of over 3,600 voter signatures sent to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, set the Ordinance on track for a public Referendum.  Faced with the public outcry, the Seal Beach City Council ultimately revoked Ordinance 1553 to ban third stories, and sent the issue to the Planning Commission for study with citizen input.

For more than the next 14 months, interested citizens of Seal Beach and the Planning Commission worked on a zoning amendment package that was reputed to contain a compromise of residential structure size and height.  Although these “study sessions” directed by City Staff cavalierly dismissed virtually all concerns and compromise positions put forth by the Committee’s representatives, still, in the end, the citizens and Planning Commission of Seal Beach rejected Mr. Antos’ outright third story ban in the resulting recommendations and draft zoning amendment.  Even in Citywide residential downzoning, larger lots in District 1 were left with the option to build a reduced-sized third floor.

Mr. Antos, desperate to enforce his ban on 3 story structures, then to all public presumption, acted to establish an illegal chain quorum, with the specific intent to conceal from the general public the citizen zoning negotiation outcomes, and override the Planning Commission’s recommendations, even though he is clearly aware of the public’s right to know about and participate in such matters – and of the public’s right to be notified in advance of actions being contemplated or taken by the City Council.  To all appearances, he could only have effected the vote outcome on Ordinance 1569 by privately lobbying two new City Council members who were not publicly elected but are merely recent temporary Council appointees – Mr. David Sloan and Mr. Gary Miller.

On Monday February 11, 2008, the City Council picked David Sloan to fill a vacancy in one of the Council Districts.  "He seemed to be well up on issues and well rounded," said Mayor Charles Antos, during a vote for appointment by the Council. "He's my number one choice."  Yet banning 3 stories or overriding the Planning Commission’s hard-gained recommendations was not publicly discussed.  This is evidence that Mr. Antos had private conversations with Mr. Sloan about the complex zoning issues.  He demonstrated prior conviction that Mr. Sloan would vote for such a ban publicly rejected by the Planning Commission, and may well have offered his vote for Mr. Sloan’s appointment in exchange for Sloan’s support of Antos’ ban.

Later, on April 14, the new Council member, David Sloan, and yet another new Councilman appointee, Gary A. Miller, voted on the issue when they had not been involved or present in the long-term zoning debate or any public sessions.  Miller had just been sworn in as a Council member the very night the vote was taken for the new Ordinance 1569, the 3 story ban was suddenly introduced against the Planning Commission’s recommendation, and Miller was participating in his first Council meeting. 

 

Page 5

 

These new Councilmen and Councilman Shanks voted on this complex 600 page Ordinance 1569 with Mr. Antos’ sudden midnight revisions including the 3 story ban, without any visible surprise, comment or question, following Antos’ lead.

The debate that had taken countless hours during the prior two years was settled contrary to public consensus with nary a word from these new City Councilmen, and without any prior public notification that an outright ban of 3 story structures was again to become “in play” in the zoning code Ordinance 1569.  This is not just negligence or laziness, this is direct evidence of a Brown Act violation choreographed by Mr. Antos.   He did it with the intent to create a secret concurrence through a chain quorum amongst the Council for his pet issue – the 3 story ban.

On Monday, April 21, in an extraordinary scheduled meeting only one week later, and still NO public notification of the change in code effecting the height limitations on residential properties rejected by the Planning Commission, the “new” City Council voted 4-1 to approve the zoning amendment with the added 3 story ban.  Mr. Miller, Mr. Antos, Mr. Shanks and Mr. David W. Sloan voted in favor.  Mr. Michael Levitt, voting alone against the measure declared that, “Doing this is wrong.”

We, the petitioners, therefore comprehensively object and seek relief against all apparent abuse of the democratic process, violations in spirit and letter of the Brown Act, and all other failures of protection of the rights of responsible self-government by the City of Seal Beach on behalf of the citizens thereof in the enactment of Ordinance 1569 and all subsequent City Council actions pertaining thereto.

Sincerely,                                       

signature           signature
Mary P. Lewis                                   Eldon L. Alexander
President, Chairman of the Board      Secretary, Member Board of Directors
Save Our Seal Beach, Inc.                 Save Our Seal Beach, Inc.

 

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740  www.SaveOurSealBeach.com



 

MAY 20, 2008

JUST STOP!!!  STOP

Tell the Seal Beach City Council to STOP


STOP   Tell the City Council to STOP their Eminent Domain Abuse

STOP   Tell the City Council to STOP their Regulatory Takings

STOP   Tell the City Council to STOP their Arbitrary Downzoning

 

Why is the City Council Devaluing YOUR HOME in Seal Beach When the Economy is Cratering and the City is Millions of Dollars in Debt?

 

 

You Can Tell the City Council to STOP by:

Phone: (562) 431-2527 x1303 -- City Manager

Email: dcarmany@ci.seal-beach.ca.us -- City Manager

Public Comment: Come to the Next City Council
Meeting on Tuesday, May 27, at 7:00pm

 


Do Not Be Fooled by the City Council’s Manipulations of Their DOWNZONING Ordinance 1569

They Have NOT STOPPED!!!

Charles Antos and Gordon Shanks Still Intend to Come After YOUR HOME

 

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740    www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

 

MAY 15, 2008

Eminent Domain and Regulatory Takings

The Referendum on Ordinance 1569 is ALL ABOUT eminent domain and regulatory takings by our corrupt and out-of-control City Council.

"The definition of 'eminent domain' is: the power of the state to take private property for public use." Downzoning enthusiasts in Seal Beach have argued many specious grounds for taking your home’s square footage and value from you, but their favorite theme is that they are enforcing their public objective to "preserve the quaint character" of the City, at, of course, your private expense of your private property’s square footage and economic value.

To "take" includes "loss or elimination of use or value."
All "zoning" authority of the government to remove, reduce, restrict and regulate private property is thus in principle precisely the "takings power of eminent domain" — which is to say, loss of title from a property owner to government power. A regulatory taking represents the taking by government of partial property title from a private owner, and eminent domain represents the taking by government of full title from a private owner.

Takings abuses by government like Ordinance 1569, exercised through the regulatory and "permitting" regime that includes devaluation or confiscatory zoning ordinances against homeowners that take effect RETROACTIVELY to the homeowners’ investment and ownership of their private property, are merely a "species" of the genus "eminent domain abuse." To learn more about property rights, eminent domain and regulatory takings, please go HERE and HERE.

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740    www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

MAY 14, 2008

Way to Go Seal Beach!

You have seen through the exaggerated 2-Story/3-Story issue to the real crisis of a complete DOWNZONING of every property the City Council could devalue – Every Residential Property in College Park East, College Park West, The Hill, The Coves, and Old Town

You have seen through the misinformation that the New Zoning Ordinance 1569 only affects Old Town and you realize instead it is a TAKING of valuable assets from properties throughout Seal Beach

You have seen through the mindless rush to needless coercion, regulation and enforcement by the City Council and have acted to take the matter into your own hands by supporting a VOTER’S referendum  halting Ordinance 1569 and making an informed decision with your vote

Every Signature Matters

Send a Message to the City Council

They are Accountable to the Voters

 

NO MORE BROKEN PROMISES!

NO MORE DOWNZONING

YOU SHOULD STILL SIGN THE REFERENDUM

LET’S MAKE SURE THE CITY COUNCIL RESCINDS
ORDINANCE 1569

Sign the Referendum

At These Locations
Friday, Saturday, Sunday
10 am to 6 pm

Ralph’s Supermarket – Old Town Ranch Shopping Center

Pavilion’s Supermarket – PCH and Bolsa Avenue

Bank of America – Old Town – Main and Central

Wells Fargo Bank – Leisure World Shopping Center

 

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740    www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

 

Download flier:


Way_to_go_Seal_Beach.pdf

 

MAY 11, 2008


May 11, 2008
HAPPY MOTHERS’ DAY

ACTION ALERT!

COME TO THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING MAY 12, 2008  7PM

SIGN THE CITIZENS’ REFERENDUM

THIS IS AN URGENT MESSAGE FOR ALL SEAL BEACH HOMEOWNERS:

OUR REFERENDUM PETITION DRIVE IS SUCCEEDING!  PROPERTY OWNERS IN SEAL BEACH HAVE DISCOVERED THE CITY’S PLANS TO DOWNZONE AND DEVALUE OUR HOMES THROUGH WILDLY EXCESSIVE “TAKINGS” WRITTEN INTO THE NEW ZONING CODE, ORDINANCE 1569.

The Seal Beach City Council voted Monday night (April 21, 2008) to take away from you on average at least 16% and as much as 47% of what you can build on your property, through residential zoning restrictions buried within a massive revision of the whole City zoning code.  They have dragged their feet on publicly comparing the old and new Codes, deliberately muddied the data with complicated “FARs” and formulas, but the facts are NOT disputed:
Square footage losses are as follows:

  • 16% Average Loss for College Park East, College Park West, and the Hill
  • 30% Average Loss for Single Lots in Old Town
  • 47% Average Loss for Lot and a Half or Greater Lots in Old Town

Eight out of ten Seal Beach voters responding to SOSB had no idea Citywide Downzoning was even under consideration by City Hall, and they are rejecting it by overwhelming margins in every City District.  Residents with expensive home improvement building plans already “in the Pipeline” for approval with the City Planning and Permits Departments were thrown under the bus with pending enactment of the new Ordinance, in contravention of prior determinations by earlier City Council votes – again without ANY proper Brown Act advance public notification that those standards were going to be ignored or overridden – which really means reneged on, dumped, jettisoned – by our little Czars of the “new” City Council.

Now we are suddenly informed in a “REVISED AGENDA” for the City Council Meeting, tomorrow night, May 12, 2008 that some of the “questions” raised by the odious Ordinance 1569 are going to be “revisited”!  Is it possible Antos, Shanks and their two new APPOINTED Council Member Downzoners finally READ what they voted for and share YOUR concerns??!!  Don’t bet on it.  We predict another agonizing evening of the City Council’s bullying of homeowners combined with attempts to appease affected individuals or small factions of interests, in hopes of diffusing widespread popular rejection of their super-aggressive Downzoning agenda.   

Their antics will be ineffectual, because DOWNZONING IS SIMPLY BAD FOR EVERYONE; IT HURTS THE ECONOMIC AND COMMUNITY VITALITY OF OUR SEAL BEACH; it creates two classes of property owners and ownership inequities in the housing market; AND it is fundamentally unjust and wrong.

Had enough of little dictators who violate YOUR property rights with impunity, use YOUR money to do it, and then run around town congratulating themselves on how cleverly they managed to lie, cheat and steal from YOU to benefit their buddies, at YOUR expense? 

WE HAVE!  LET'S PUT DOWNZONING TO A VOTE OF THE PEOPLE!

PLEASE JOIN WITH YOUR NEIGHBORS WHO SUPPORT FAIR PLAY AND THE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS, NOT BACKROOM DEALS AND BACKSTABBING POLITICIANS!

SIGN THE REFERENDUM ON DOWNZONING ORDINANCE 1569 TODAY, AND LET THE PEOPLE OF SEAL BEACH DECIDE!

Call Save Our Seal Beach if we have missed you, or you cannot get out to one of our community’s markets to sign the Referendum: 562-431-0950 – We are getting many calls, so please leave your name and telephone number, and we will call you back to arrange bringing the Referendum Petition to your home.

 

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740    www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

 

 

MAY 8, 2008

New Eminent Domain Abuse

Seal Beach City Council’s Latest
Takings of Your Property

“Floor Area Ratio (FAR): the ratio of floor area to total lot area. FAR restrictions are used to limit the maximum floor area allowed on a site (including all structures on a site)….”
[Proposed] Title 11-Zoning, Part VI: Terms and Definitions, p. 24. City of Seal Beach Municipal Code

Save Our Seal Beach Analyses:                                City of Seal Beach Statements:

For College Park East, College Park West, and the Hill, you will lose an average of 16% of what you can build on your property. As an example, a 6000 square foot lot that could build a 4980 square foot home and still have over half of the lot as yard space can now only build a 4200 square foot home with the same amount of yard space. The City Council took 780 buildable square feet from you. At a conservative value of $225 per square foot this is a $175,000 plus taking of your property.

                            —Save Our Seal Beach

The current Zoning Code lot coverage provisions generally would allow for a FAR of between 0.82 and 0.855 in the RLD-9 District [College Park East, College Park West, The Hill]; while the proposed FAR standards [of the new Zoning Code] would allow a FAR between 0.70 to 0.85, depending on the lot size and the use of the “Additional Design Feature FAR Bonuses” and “Design Feature FAR Deductions” allowed [or disallowed] pursuant to proposed Section 2.05.015.D.1, and Tables 2.05.015.D.1 and 2.05.015.D.2, respectively, as indicated on pages 14-21 of Chapter 2.05 [of the new Zoning Code].
—Lee Whittenberg-Director of Development Services to Seal Beach City Council—Public Hearing Final Draft—April 14, 2008

For Old Town it is a little more difficult to see how much they took from the homeowners’ properties, because without any public notification or discussion they simply changed the numbers from the presentation to the Planning Commission on March 19th to the presentation to the City Council on April 14th. [The March 19th numbers were used throughout the study session meetings to represent buildable space in Old Town according to current zoning codes.]

                                                —Save Our Seal Beach

Seal Beach City Approved with Reductions

Here’s an example for Old Town for a single 25 by 117.5 foot lot (the most common sized lot in Old Town). Using the March 19th numbers under the old codes you could build a 4204 square foot home now reduced to 2352 square feet under the new code. They have taken 1852 square feet, 44% or $416,700 of your property.

                                                —Save Our Seal Beach

Note: The City Staff may argue that rather than using a 0.80 FAR as calculated in the example above, a 1.00 FAR should be used. In this case the buildable area would be 2937 square feet and would still represent a 30%, 1267 sq. ft., $285,000 reduction.   

The current Zoning Code lot coverage provisions generally would allow for a FAR of between 1.37 and 1.43 for 2-story homes…in the RHD-20 District [Old Town]; while the proposed FAR standards [of the new Zoning Code] would allow a FAR between 0.80 to 1.10…, depending on the lot size and the use of the “Additional Design Feature FAR Bonuses” and “Design Feature FAR Deductions” allowed [or disallowed] pursuant to proposed Section 2.05.015.D…, and Tables 2.05.015.D.1 and 2.05.015.D.2, …, respectively, as indicated on pages 14-23 of Chapter 2.05 [of the new Zoning Code].
—Lee Whittenberg-Director of Development Services to Seal Beach Planning Commission
—Public Hearing Final Draft—March 19, 2008

Using the April 14th numbers the same homeowner with a 25 by 117.5 foot lot could build a 3616 square foot home under the old codes and a 2352 square foot home under the new codes. With these numbers they have taken 1264 square feet or a 35% taking. This is $280,000 loss of value from your home.

                                                —Save Our Seal Beach

Note: The City Staff may argue that rather than using a 0.80 FAR as calculated in the example above, a 1.00 FAR should be used. In this case the buildable area would be 2937 square feet and would still represent a 19%, 679 sq. ft., $152,000 reduction.

The current Zoning Code lot coverage provisions generally would allow for a FAR of between 1.04 and 1.23 for 2-story homes…in the RHD-20 District [Old Town]; while the proposed FAR standards [of the new Zoning Code] would allow a FAR between 0.80 to 1.10…, depending on the lot size and the use of the “Additional Design Feature FAR Bonuses” and “Design Feature FAR Deductions” allowed [or disallowed] pursuant to proposed Section 2.05.015.D…, and Tables 2.05.015.D.1 and 2.05.015.D.2, …, respectively, as indicated on pages 14-23 of Chapter 2.05 [of the new Zoning Code].
—Lee Whittenberg-Director of Development Services to Seal Beach City Council—Public Hearing Final Draft—April 14, 2008

 

Note: Ellipses indicate non-pertinent language sections from the Proposed Zoning Code

 

Sign the REFERENDUM
To Kill This Ordinance

Paid for By Save Our Seal Beach, PO Box 986, Seal Beach, CA 90740 – www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

 

 

MAY 1, 2008

 

The New Eminent Domain Abuse

Seal Beach City Council’s Latest Takings
Of Your Property is Outlined Below

 


Say NO to Takings by the City Council

The new down zoning ordinance passed on April 21 by the City Council is drastic and citywide. The square footage a property owner now may build in every Seal Beach district has been arbitrarily and radically reduced. Please do not be distracted by any other issue in the City Council’s action. They took away a great deal of property and value from you in this ordinance.

I have used the numbers presented in the City Planning Director’s reports to show you what you have lost if this ordinance goes into effect in 30 days. I will be presenting the detailed information at www.saveoursealbeach.com.

For College Park East, College Park West, and the Hill, you will lose an average of 16% of what you can build on your property. As an example, a 6000 square foot lot that could build a 4980 square foot home and still have over half of the lot as yard space can now only build a 4200 square foot home with the same amount of yard space. The City Council took 780 square feet from you. At a conservative value of $225 per square foot this is a $175,000 plus taking of your property.

For Old Town it is a little more difficult to see how much they took from the homeowner’s properties, because without any public notification or discussion they simply changed the numbers from the presentation to the Planning Commission on March 19 to the presentation to the City Council on April 14.

I will give an example for Old Town for a single 25 foot by 117.5 foot lot (the most common sized lot in Old Town). Using the March 19 numbers under the old codes you could build a 4204 square foot home and this has been reduced to 2352 square feet under the new code. They have taken 1852 square feet. This is a 44% taking. Using the April 14 numbers the same homeowner could build a 3616 square foot home under the old codes and a 2352 square foot home under the new codes. With these numbers they have only taken 1264 square feet or a 35% taking. Whether they have taken 1264 square feet or 1852 square feet this is over $280,000 of value to your home.

We have started a citizens’ referendum to kill this draconian downzoning. Please go to the web site www.saveoursealbeach.com to see how you can help fight these takings and sign the petition.

You have heard the expression “a man’s home is his castle.” The complete saying is “a man’s home is his castle and neither a king nor army can take one foot of the land.” This was a warning to tyrants. Seal Beach needs to rise up and say NO to the petty tyrants of Seal Beach who are taking property and value from our homes.

Eldon Alexander

 

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740    www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

 

 

 

FLIER, APRIL 30, 2008

cartoon

The Seal Beach City Council did it again! They passed a downzoning ordinance to take valuable property from Seal Beach homeowners.

 

Stop the Seal Beach
City Council
Wrecking Crew

 

Sign the REFERENDUM
To Kill This Ordinance

Protect Your Property —
Join the Fight

Go to www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

Paid for By Save Our Seal Beach, PO Box 986, Seal Beach, CA 90740


 

APRIL 30, 2008

ACTION ALERT!

JOIN THE CITIZENS’ REFERENDUM

THIS IS AN URGENT MESSAGE FOR ALL SEAL BEACH HOMEOWNERS:

The Seal Beach City Council voted Monday night (April 21, 2008) to take away from you on average at least 16% and as much as 47% of what you can build on your property.

Square footage losses are as follows:

  • 16% Average Loss for College Park East, College Park West,
    and the Hill
  • 30% Average Loss for Single Lots in Old Town
  • 47% Average Loss for Lot and a Half or Greater Lots in Old Town

Builders and real estate professionals estimate your home will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars of home improvement value in diminished square footage and more expensive construction if these zoning changes are permitted to stand as law in our city.

Just as they did a year and a half ago, the City Council ramrodded drastic downzoning laws through without adequate notification to the public, without reasonable citizen warning or gauging of voter wishes, and without consideration or respect for homeowner rights. These massive zoning restrictions affect ALL SEAL BEACH HOMES – College Park East, College Park West, the Hill and Old Town.

Save Our Seal Beach does not think you want to have your home or livable space reduced by 15 to 50 percent. We do not believe you want to lose a third or more of your improved home’s potential market value, and vastly increase construction costs.

YOU CAN STILL DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS! Join with us to qualify a Citizens’ Referendum to freeze this Downzoning Ordinance and to halt this shocking abuse of power.

THERE IS NO TIME TO DELAY. WE HAVE ONLY THIRTY DAYS TO GATHER SEAL BEACH VOTER SIGNATURES TO HALT THIS DOWNZONING ORDINANCE FROM BECOMING LAW!

YOU CAN STILL DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS! YOU CAN SIGN THE REFERENDUM, VOLUNTEER TO JOIN US, AND DONATE TO SAVE OUR SEAL BEACH TO FIGHT BACK!

SIGN THE REFERENDUM AT SEAL BEACH SHOPPING CENTERS OR WHEN OUR SIGNATURE GATHERERS COME TO YOUR DOOR. IF YOU ARE NOT REGISTERED TO VOTE, NOW IS THE TIME, AND WE WILL REGISTER YOU!

SIGN UP AT THE “JOIN US” OPTION ON THIS PAGE, AND WE WILL CONTACT YOU TO SIGN THE REFERENDUM TO STOP THIS DOWNZONING ORDINANCE NOW! WE CAN ALWAYS USE MORE VOLUNTEERS AND HELPERS!

PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS AND PROPERTY!
STOP CORRUPTION AND CRONYISM AT CITY HALL!
MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD!

 

APRIL 16, 2008

ACTION ALERT!

THIS IS AN URGENT MESSAGE FOR SEAL BEACH HOMEOWNERS:

The Seal Beach City Council voted Monday night (April 14, 2008) to take away from you at least 15% and as much as 50% of what you can build on your property.

Builders and real estate professionals estimate your home will lose hundreds of thousands of dollars of home improvement value in diminished square footage and more expensive construction if these zoning changes become law.

Just as they did a year and a half ago, the City Council is ramrodding drastic downzoning laws through without consideration or respect for homeowner rights. These massive zoning restrictions affect ALL SEAL BEACH HOMES – College Park East, College Park West, the Hill and Old Town.

Save Our Seal Beach does not think you want to have your home or livable space reduced by 15 to 50 percent. We do not believe you want to lose a third or more of your improved home’s potential market value, and vastly increase construction costs.

YOU CAN STILL DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS! Come to the City Council meeting at City Hall, 8th Street and Central Avenue, this Monday night, April 21, at 6:30pm to halt this shocking abuse of power.

THERE IS NO TIME TO DELAY.  THE VOTE THIS MONDAY NIGHT WILL ENACT THESE DOWNZONING ORDINANCES INTO LAW!

YOU CAN STILL DEFEND YOUR RIGHTS!  Come to the City Council meeting this Monday night, April 21, at 6:30 pm AND MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD!



Download flier:


sb_new_ordinances_flier.pdf



Listen to our robocall:
1.34MB

 

04-17-08


Dear Seal Beach Citizen,

THEY DID IT!  DOWNZONING ORDINANCES THAT TAKE AWAY FROM YOU 15% TO 50% OF THE LIVABLE SPACE YOU CAN BUILD ON YOUR HOME WERE JUST APPROVED BY THE SEAL BEACH CITY COUNCIL!

One more vote this Monday night, April 21st by the Council will turn these outrageously unfair and inequitable ordinances into law!  Imagine trying to redo your home, like your next door neighbor just did last year, and discovering that YOU can only add HALF the square footage your neighbor was “entitled” to, and with all the complicated new design codes it will cost YOU nearly twice as much to build the paltry half-sized “allowance” of living space conforming to the new “floor area ratios” our little City Czars have left you.

If you are a property owner in Seal Beach—here’s ANOTHER “Wake-Up Call” from an out-of-control City Hall rife with cronyism and corrupt practices—and WE IMPLORE YOU to PUSH BACK, AND COME PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS AND YOUR INTERESTS!

Homeowners, families, renters, and commercial property owners, COME TO CITY HALL MONDAY NIGHT, APRIL 21ST 6:30 PM and RESIST what the “new” City Council plans for Seal Beach homeowners—which is a future of economic “Haves versus Have-Nots”—as in “I HAVE my maxed out property; too bad yours will only be worth a fraction as much.”

THE ECONOMIC DAMAGE FROM DOWNZONING WILL HURT PROPERTY VALUES AND ECONOMIC VITALITY FOR THE WHOLE TOWN.  EVEN CONDOS, LEISURE WORLD, THE BEACH FRONT, AND RENTAL PROPERTIES’ VALUES WILL BE AFFECTED—YOU NEED TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD IN DEFENSE OF YOUR RIGHT TO COMPETITIVELY IMPROVE YOUR PROPERTY!

For those who own residential properties in Seal Beach BEWARE: THESE SHOCKINGLY AGGRESSIVE CITYWIDE DOWNZONING ORDINANCES WILL BE LAW BY NEXT WEEK!  THEY MEAN SEVERE RESTRICTIONS ON YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY FOR HOME IMPROVEMENTS, REMODELING, and NEW CONSTRUCTION.

There is no legitimate need for these HUGE building prohibitions on home improvements and new construction in Seal Beach.  DOWNZONING will financially “leave behind” and drive out Seal Beach working families. You will lose thousands of square feet of livable space and hundreds of thousands of dollars of value in your home compared to your neighbors who have already rebuilt, because of these zoning changes that abuse and violate your private property rights.

Seal Beach deserves better than coercive Downzoning and regulatory property takings!

COME TO CITY HALL THIS MONDAY NIGHT, 6:30 pm, TO HALT DOWNZONING COLD!  PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY VALUES!  Let’s make City Hall protect our homeowner rights, and be accountable to the citizens who live here, love the town—and want it to be a vibrant, family-friendly community.


Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach
PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740 
www.SaveOurSealBeach.com

ACT NOW TO SAVE YOUR
PROPERTY VALUES!

COME TO THE CITY COUNCIL MEETING
TO PROTECT YOUR HOME

YOUR PROPERTY WILL BE DOWNZONED MONDAY

A small, special interest clique influencing City Hall has just directed the City Council to massively restrict with new zoning ordinances what you can build on your home.  If confirmed by City Council vote this Monday night, these drastic laws could DIMINISH YOUR PROPERTY VALUES BY AS MUCH 33% OR MORE.  The new Downzoning Ordinances, except gated communities and Leisure World, apply to EVERY HOUSE IN SEAL BEACH in College Park East, College Park West, the Hill, the Cove and Old Town.

THEY ARE HOSTILE TO WORKING FAMILIES, because they give unfair market advantage to maxed-out properties already “gentrified” or improved, and they will greatly increase the costs of design and construction while reducing living area.  The elitists pushing Downzoning have said outright that they want Seal Beach “to now have smaller homes, smaller families, and any new construction in town should be as difficult and expensive as possible, to preserve our quaintness.”  What snobs!

Do NOT be deceived that this is just an Old Town dispute.  These drastic Downzoning Ordinances affect YOU, apply SEAL BEACH CITYWIDE, and were APPROVED BY THE “NEW” CITY COUNCIL LAST MONDAY—2 of 5 members of which ARE RECENT POLITICAL APPOINTEES—NOT ELECTED BY THE VOTERS!  If you own a home in Seal Beach, your property is affected either directly or indirectly by these draconian, inequitable, expensive, space-robbing, heavy-handed regulations on home improvements, remodeling and new residential construction.

  • 16% Average Loss for College Park East, College Park West,
    and the Hill
  • 30% Average Loss for Single Lots in Old Town
  • 47% Average Loss for Lot and a Half or Greater Lots in Old Town
  

STOP IT NOW!  CITY HALL 6:30 pm
COUNCIL MEETING MONDAY APRIL 21ST

Come tell the City Council that Seal Beach Voters
REJECT RADICAL AND UNFAIR DOWNZONING

PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY RIGHTS

To Learn More about Regulatory Takings and this kind of Eminent Domain Abuse Visit our Website at WWW.SAVEOURSEALBEACH.COM

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach
PO Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740

 

 

03-21-07

Dear Neighbor,

New zoning changes to residential and commercial real estate in our fair city recently have been drafted by City Hall -- and are presently under active consideration by the Seal Beach Planning Commission -- that would have the effect of draconian downzoning of your property.

Stated briefly, ALL future construction on houses in Old Town, the Hill, the Cove, College Park East and College Park West would be limited to an arbitrary, family-hostile 4,000 square feet maximum! This is the case no matter the size of your lot.

Save Our Seal Beach opposes this unfair violation of property rights and will mount a vigorous public challenge against these regulatory takings as currently proposed.

We invite you to read here our initial summary analysis of the residential downzoning that is now in play. If want to help us protect property rights for all Seal Beach citizens, please sign up for our email list here, so we may keep you informed.

 



P.O. Box 986 Seal Beach, CA 90740
Phone: (562) 431-0950

Open Letter to Planning Commission
City of Seal Beach
City Hall, 211 8th Street
Seal Beach, CA 90740                                   

March 21, 2007

Dear Commissioners,

This letter is a preliminary written response as to what the Save Our Seal Beach Committee thinks are the principal effects of the zoning changes to residential real estate proposed by the City of Seal Beach.

We have made clear previously in the recent Referendum debate our view that downzoning represents regulatory takings which are a form of eminent domain abuse, and which violate private property rights.  There is considerable data demonstrating how downzoning adversely economically affects communities and property owners, and in future, as we have previously, we will present the case to you of how this agenda harms the City and the citizens of Seal Beach.  This letter presently will limit its address of concern to certain obvious specifics of the new proposals.

Seal Beach is a town of about 25,000 people. About 10,000 live in Leisure World and the zoning codes will not directly affect codes in that retirement community. Also not directly affected by the proposed zoning codes are the areas referred to as Surfside, Bridgeport, Heron Pointe, and Old Ranch. These areas comprise about 2,000 people, so the new zoning codes are targeted upon properties held by just over half of the population of Seal Beach.

As presently proposed, the two new zoning districts would be designated RHD20 and RLD9. RHD20, traditionally known as Old Town, would be the area of the city between Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and the Pacific Ocean. RLD9 would be the areas in Seal Beach north of PCH traditionally referred to as the Hill, the Coves, College Park East, and College Park West.

A standard lot in the RHD20 area is 25 feet wide and 110 to 117 feet deep. The Proposed Base FAR compared to the Current Lot Coverage in RHD20 would reduce the amount of allowable building development on a lot by just over 20%. For larger lots that are a lot and a half or greater, the Proposed Base FAR compared to the Current Lot Coverage would reduce the amount of building development by between 42% and 53%. 

As you know, an outright ban on all Old Town (RHD20) third story construction was just finally rejected by the City Council, which construction has been allowable on the larger lots for 30 years.  One item of contention between our Committee and the City is the true inventory of and impact upon directly affected larger properties; but certainly there are a number of lot and a half and double lot properties that have been purchased with the reasonable expectation of developing homes with the significantly greater square footage allowable under the Current Lot Coverages—and these property owners will be very severely financially harmed by the proposed FAR.

The RLD9 properties’ Currently Lot Coverage allows 45% on any sized lot.  The proposed FAR would decrease a 5,000 square foot lot by 8.5%, a 6,000 square foot lot by 28%, and a 7,000 square foot lot by 36%.  The objective for this part of the downzoning is to achieve a blanket limit of a FAR of 4,000 square feet per property.  A current City Council Member, during his prior tenure as a Planning Commission member, regularly intoned his conviction that, “No one needs a house larger than 4,000 square feet.”  During the third story ban fight, that number dropped to 3,500 square feet.  However little we are to be allotted by the Commissioners, we expect he is joined by Mr. Antos’ grim determination to see third story domiciles and their potential square footage banned in every possible form and fashion.

Additionally, another primary objective of the proposed zoning ordinances is to limit the number of bedrooms to 3-bedroom homes, regardless of lot size. Currently the codes require two garages for each standard-lot home. Under the new codes, the number of required garages increases with the number of bedrooms. The way the proposed codes are written, this appears to apply to both RHD20 and RLD9.  The proposed FAR calculation does not include garages up to three garages; however, additional garages above 3 would be included in the FAR calculation under the new proposals. This effectively adds 200 square feet into the FAR for each bedroom above three, which because it is added to the bottom floor calculations, tends to force bedrooms to the second floor. We already see in Old Town Seal Beach and elsewhere that many residents, as they age, regret not having one or more first story bedrooms, and are re-developing their homes to provide bedroom areas on the first floor. The proposed codes would greatly limit the opportunity to make these changes and accommodate an aging demographic.

Another onerous aspect of the proposed downzoning, which in its effects upon families with more than one child or a resident elder is draconian, is that many homes already built so exceed the proposed FAR that they will be not only “non-conforming” in every future application to the City for renovation or remodeling, but owners simply will not be able to do any development of their property in the future. Some properties will be right at the Proposed FAR and will not have any economic incentive to improve or develop their properties further.  But many other properties already upgraded will be significantly larger (and hence more valuable) than their next-door neighbors will ever be able to hope for.  The economic inequities and market dislocations that will result in such a small community are shocking, and morally repugnant.

As proposed, these zoning changes are highly damaging to private property owners. We believe the people of Seal Beach have made very clear in their overwhelming support of Proposition 90 and our Referendum that they do NOT want this community and their properties downzoned, and if our participation in the so-called “study session” process with the City fails to protect property rights for Seal Beach homeowners, we will mount a public challenge against these regulatory takings as currently proposed.


Sincerely,

Mary Parker Lewis
President

Eldon L. Alexander
Director, Public Affairs

11-07-06

Please see below a copy of the letter submitted to the Seal Beach City Clerk on 11/07/06 delivering the results of our Referendum against abusive Ordinance 1553!



119 8th Street, Seal Beach, CA 90740
Phone: (562) 431-0950

November 7, 2006
3:30 PM

I, Mary Lewis, have been duly authorized by the Save Our Seal Beach Committee to submit to the City Clerk, City of Seal Beach, the following Committee-documented results of the Referendum Against Ordinance Number 1553:

Total pages of documentation submitted: 1,555
Total number of Referendum Petition pages: 1,531
Total number of new Voter Registration forms for registrations entered 11/07/06: 24
Total of estimated Petition signatures: 3,600

If you have any questions please feel free to call me at 562-234-5540.

Sincerely,

Mary Parker Lewis
President, Chairman of the Board
Save Our Seal Beach, Inc.

Eldon L. Alexander
Secretary, Member Board of Directors
Save Our Seal Beach, Inc.

10-12-06

Dear Neighbor,

Seal Beach just received a rough "Wake-Up Call" — and families and property owners need to take notice of what the "new" City Council has in store for our sweet little old town.

For those who own or have interest in residential properties in Old Town Seal Beach, on so-called "larger lots," the loss is big and brutal, with little warning but no small amount of lies.

$129 million "taking"

The Seal Beach Planning Commission & City Council, in a conservative estimate, just expropriated at least $129 million in property value from a small minority of Old Town families — without their consent and without any compensation. These "public servants" did so based upon an extremist regulatory agenda that was without any data, without any documentation, without any evidence to support vague assertions of "health, safety or welfare" risks to the community if this ordinance was not enacted. Further, this action was taken without any economic analysis of harm or benefit to either the affected homeowners or to the community — and it was done in violation of law.

It was taken because certain people in Seal Beach were determined that it be taken, and they have, it seems, the power to do so. Now shocked and awakened to the extent such abuse is possible, we have organized on behalf of affected property owners and alarmed residents a new citizens' organization, Save Our Seal Beach.

We utterly reject the tortured rationales and false, empty arguments advanced by the City Planning Commission for this zoning change on wider lots they just jammed through City Council — contrary to the Council's own recommended timeline for consideration, and in total ambush of unprotected property owners. This ordinance arbitrarily voids the residential "third story" Code, in place since the massive Old Town downzoning of the 1970s, and prohibits any residential building up to the 35' height in the rear half of the property, including simple home living space additions for current residents.

There is no legitimate excuse, need, or justification for a new, draconian prohibition on owners' rights to make home improvements in Old Town. If this ill-conceived and discriminatory ordinance — rushed through by the City Council in an extraordinary Sunday afternoon session on October 8 — makes it into law as planned on November 7, it will be to the shame and disrepute of the City of Seal Beach. It will also open the City to substantive lawsuit liability.

Violation of law

The ordinance has been bulldozed through in violation of state and municipal public notification law (see our section HERE on our legal action taken against the City of Seal Beach for these violations), in a sly strategy advanced by Old Town Councilman Charles Antos; the Planning Commission, spearheaded by his appointee, Chairwoman Ellery Deaton; and a small faction of strident "no-growth" activists.

The timeline for "considering" a third-story ban was surreptitiously accelerated in late August and September by the Planning Commission, against prior explicit City Council commitment to a minimum six-month "fact-finding" public process to carry into 2007. This was done to try to circumvent the possible effects of the expressed will of the people at the ballot box November 7, regarding Proposition 90.

It was only after threat of legal action by affected homeowners, for possible Brown Act violations of failure to disclose secret agenda items to the public, that the Planning Commission's effort to evade the results of the November 7 general election came to light. Even then, Commissioner Deaton lied about the Prop 90 evasion during the September 20th Planning Commission hearing that recommended the ordinance forward to City Council. She there denied the admission of her own public briefing papers that the design of the revised ordinance timeline was to hasten enactment of the ordinance prior to the November 7 election outcome.

Deaton made this denial, even though the September 20th Planning Commission Hearing was held several days shy of the lawfully required 10 day public notification period for such public hearings. Why this unseemly and illegal rush? Because the only way to "beat the clock" on the November 7 election was to cheat and violate California state and Seal Beach municipal law with a rushed hearing date.

Referendum drive

These notification laws are to protect the rights of the people. So, too, Proposition 90 seeks to protect private property rights against just such bureaucratic abuses as this arbitrary and discriminatory zoning change — and the extreme lengths that have been taken by its unprincipled advocates on the Planning Commission and the City Council to ram this ordinance through in advance of the statewide November 7 election are a clear admission by the City that what it is doing in this downzoning ordinance is confiscatory, immoral, and unjust.

To freeze this abuse of the public trust until cooler, fairer, and more law-abiding heads may prevail, a group of Seal Beach residents have formed an ad hoc citizens' committee: Save Our Seal Beach. This new organization seeks the public openness and transparency in City government that we are assured by law, but do not receive in practice. Save Our Seal Beach, as a first effort, has launched a Referendum drive to bring this dreadful, family-hostile, private-property-rights-violating ordinance before all the people of Seal Beach for open debate and, ultimately, a democratic vote. You can go to the REFERENDUM PETITION here.

One reason we have done so is that we have witnessed violations in state and municipal law in the procedural process which advanced this ordinance through the Planning Commission, and irregularities in its consideration by the City Council. Our concerns, when raised before City authorities, have been cavalierly dismissed — notably by the Chairwoman of the Planning Commission, Ellery Deaton, and the City Attorney, Quinn Barrow of Richards, Watson & Gershon. We believe the citizens of Seal Beach deserve better.

The general counsel for Save Our Seal Beach, Constitutional Law Professor John Eastman of Chapman University Law School, agrees with us, and has filed legal action against the City that can be followed here.

United action

While we are saddened by the necessity of fighting for the heart and soul, and the integrity, of the little town we love, we are warmed by the solidarity of our neighbors in their outrage at this abuse of the public trust. We have found a deep sense of dismay, and a dedication to fairness among City residents throughout Seal Beach that is a great encouragement to the animating mission of Save Our Seal Beach — renewing our community's spirit and restoring clean government to our town. It is clear that many, many citizens share our urgency that there be a restored and intensified level of accountability to the citizens by those entrusted as public stewards and officials of our City.

We welcome you to this site, and hope you will become active and informed in the fight we have had to engage, in order to make the City of Seal Beach once again responsible to all the citizens who live here and love the town — and do not want to see it reduced to the ambition of individual politicians and the agenda of a exclusionary elite. Seal Beach deserves better than to be lied to, manipulated, politicized, and downzoned into a nay-saying, static shell of the once-vibrant, family-friendly community it has been. Please join us while we fight to Save Our Seal Beach for our children and grandchildren. You may register with us here.

Paid for by Save Our Seal Beach
P.O. Box 986
Seal Beach, CA 90740
www.SaveOurSealBeach.com


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