There has been a lot of discussion lately about the housing element, most recently about the proposed site at Accurate Storage in Seal Beach. Specifically the housing element is required to be periodically updated and is subject to the detailed statutory requirements and mandatory review by a State agency, the California Department of Housing and Urban Development (HCD).
With missed deadlines, the Seal Beach City Council is under pressure to identify suitable locations to accommodate housing for slightly over twenty affordable housing units. To be clear, “affordable housing” is measured in density, not the price of the home, condo or other residence.
When the City did not meet it’s recent promissory obligation to approve, at the second reading, an ordinance which would have rezoned the Accurate Storage site to permit residential high density (RHD-20, which is the same as most of Old Town) development, Seal Beach was immediately decertified by the HCD. This in turn could if left unattended or addressed create a host of problems for local property owners.
To have a decertified housing element, creates not only legal hazard for the City, if the issue is not resolved by the deadline of October 2013, further sanctions within twelve months are almost certain. The consequence of this to homeowners is the means by which they must obtain building permits. As in 1990, according to Quinn Barrow, City Attorney, during the Council meeting, the City would be prohibited from issuing building or construction permits.
Seal Beach seems to be trapped between two options, which are not ideal – either Accurate Storage, or as brought up by the Ad Hoc Local Coastal Plan committee, a one-acre parcel on the property at the Shops at Rossmoor. The Marina Drive parcel has been deemed unacceptable because it is private property and would require environmental testing.
At some point in the future, these housing demands must be met. What happens when they are? Seal Beach is land locked by the 405 to the east, a waterway to the south and river to the north all with bridges that will have to be traversed to support this growth.
I’m interested to hear how you feel this challenge could best be solved, and what you propose as a solution? Leave your thoughts to this question in the comment section below.