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SEAL BEACH : Mola Measure Gets Closer to Ballot

The City Council made the ballot for Seal Beach’s special spring election lighter than it might have been by dropping eight proposed ballot measures from consideration Monday night.

“I kept getting revised agendas last week, and every time I got a new agenda there was a new ballot measure on it,” Councilwoman Gwen Forsythe said. “It got to the point it was very amusing.”

Forsythe said the ballot measures, ranging from building-height limits to campaign financing restrictions, would each have cost $3,000 or more to put on the ballot, depending on the wording.

One measure that was not tabled might ask the voters to designate most of the Hellman Ranch property as open space rather than allowing the Mola Development Corp. to proceed with its proposed development.

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That $200-million development, already the subject of a Mola-sponsored initiative, would consist of 329 homes. The city clerk will set a date for that election provided that at least 2,683 of the more than 4,000 signatures turned in last month are valid.

The alternative measure, drafted late last year by a citizens committee at the direction of the City Council, would restrict the development to a strip along Seal Beach Boulevard. The council voted 3 to 2 to continue discussing at its Jan. 14 meeting whether such a measure would be binding or advisory.

Supporters of Mola’s plan say it would be financially advantageous to the city, bringing $1 million to the general fund reserve and more than half a million dollars a year in redevelopment funds. In addition, they say, it would provide the city with 41.4 acres of environmentally valuable wetlands, preserve and restore Gum Grove Park and provide a new community park.

But the council majority and other opponents of the plan dispute its financial and environmental advantages and say geological conditions make the land too unstable to build on.

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