MOORLACH UPDATE — Los Al/Seal Beach Patch — August 23, 2011

The Board of Supervisors meeting went past 5 p.m. today.  Forgive me for the late e-mail.

The Los Alamitos-Seal Beach Patch provided an update of last evening’s Los Alamitos Planning Commission meeting.  For fifty years the county supervisor for Rossmoor never provided any encouragement for annexation or its derivatives.  Now they do.  It’s too bad I’m termed out in 2014.  Maybe we can extend Supervisorial terms from two to three and give a certain Chamber of Commerce president a real opportunity to vote against me.

Over Rossmoor Objections, Los Al Officials Move Toward Partial Annexation

Los Alamitos Commission approves zoning plans for Rossmoor Village Square.

·         By Paige Austin

·        

Some begged.

Some threatened.

And still others cited the ‘Golden Rule’ in appealing to Los Alamitos city leaders’ gentler instincts.

But the dozens of Rossmoor residents who overfilled Los Alamitos City Council chambers on Monday wanted the same thing. They wanted to be left alone.

After listening to impassioned speeches by Rossmoor residents, the Los Alamitos Planning Commission voted 4-2 in favor of a zoning map for the southwest corner of Los Alamitos Boulevard and Katella Avenue, a commercial property in Rossmoor. Though not technically part of an annexation, the vote paves the way for Los Alamitos to take control of the corner, which includes The Original Fish Company, a car wash, Boot Barn, a church and an apartment complex.

It’s the only commercial property in Rossmoor, generating about $250,000 a year in tax revenue for county coffers. Rossmoor residents see Los Alamitos’s push to annex it as an invasion. However, some Los Alamitos officials see the move as inevitable given pressure by the county for Rossmoor and Los Alamitos to merge.

As many residents at Monday’s meeting pointed out, children from Rossmoor and Los Alamitos attend school together, and residents from both communities play sports and attend church together. An unwelcome annexation by Los Alamitos is likely to create hard feelings, predicted Rossmoor resident Tony DeMarco.

“I think you guys are caught in a war of politics, and we are kind of pitted against each other,” DeMarco told the Planning Commission. “I see this as a stealing of property within our boundaries, and I am going to fight this in every way that I can.”

Several residents likened the situation to Seal Beach’s controversial 1962 annexation of land currently known as The Shops at Rossmoor. Nearly 50 years later, the annexation remains a sore subject for the community particularly after Seal Beach built two major shopping centers on the land, impacting traffic for Rossmoor and Los Alamitos residents.

“I have to say I am absolutely disgusted with what Seal Beach has done with our town,” said Rossmoor resident Shawn Wilson. “I no longer purchase from any of the shops in Seal Beach.”

Wilson and several others threatened to similarly boycott Los Alamitos businesses if the city pursues an annexation of the commercial property.

“If some of us seem edgy, please try to understand why we are concerned. We love our neighborhood, and we do not want anything that would negatively affect our community,” said Rossmoor resident Diane Rush. “Annexation would be a diplomatic, political, ethical and financial faux pas.”

Los Alamitos resident Pete Carvajal spoke up to defend his city.

“As a resident of Los Alamitos, there are things that are being said here that are somewhat offensive to your neighbors,” he said. “I am personally offended.”

Carvajal reminded the packed City Council chambers that the two communities share a school district and general sense of community and should strive to work together.

Judy Klabouch, a Rossmoor resident and President of the Los Alamitos Chamber of Commerce urged residents not to take their wrath out on the business community. Instead, the residents of Rossmoor and Los Alamitos should strive to work together and channel their anger toward County Supervisor John Moorlach for provoking the situation, she suggested.

“My hope is that when John Moorlach comes up for reelection, we can get someone who sees things our way,” added Klabouch.

Moorlach could not be reached for comment Monday night, but he has said he favors the annexation as part of the county’s overall goal to divest itself of unincorporated islands such as Rossmoor.

There are seven people and entities that own land within the commercial center, apartment and church properties. If the City Council votes to annex the land, the county’s Local Agency Formation Commission could approve the annexation without a vote of the residents or property owners. It would only go to a vote if 25 to 50 percent of the property owners or registered voters formally protest the annexation, said Los Alamitos City Manager Jeff Stewart.

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