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Seal Beach Creates Housing Panel

The City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to appoint a citizens committee to review a recently approved housing plan to see if revisions are necessary.

The committee was proposed by Councilwoman Marilyn Bruce Hastings, who took office May 15.

Each of the five council members may appoint up to four residents to the committee, which will study details of the city’s strategy for dealing with future housing needs. Changes recommended by the committee will be considered by the Planning Commission and the City Council, if necessary.

In March, a judge blocked Seal Beach from approving major residential projects because the city’s state-mandated housing plan was obsolete. The state requires the plan to be updated every five years, and Seal Beach failed to submit its new plan by last summer’s deadline.

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The outgoing City Council approved a new version of the plan during a meeting May 10 that lasted past midnight. Hastings is critical of that plan, saying it “has many inconsistencies.”

The council also voted Tuesday to conclude public hearings and end meetings by midnight unless a majority of the council wants either of them to last longer. The guidelines, proposed by Hastings, were in response to the council’s marathon meetings earlier this month that lasted as late as 4:30 a.m.

“It’s just not good business practice” to conduct business at those hours, Hastings said.

The council opened a public hearing Tuesday to consider Mola Development Corp.'s controversial plan to build a 329-unit project on the Old Hellman Ranch property but was expected to continue that hearing to a special meeting later this week or until the next regular council meeting June 13.

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Mola’s option to purchase the property for the $200-million project expires Friday.


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