SEAL BEACH : Is Dome Doomed? Neighbor Wonders


In August, 1993, the City Council decided that a 30-foot metal dome built atop a Marina Hill home would have to be removed within a year. It was a victory for neighbors who had fought the dome for three years, claiming it blocked their views and violated city zoning laws.

But more than 13 months later, the dome still stands on the Sandpiper Drive house, and next-door neighbor Jerry Andersen wants to know why.

“After all this time we thought the thing would finally be torn down,” Andersen said. “It’s like it doesn’t matter what the city decided.”


City officials are reviewing new, undisclosed plans for the housetop.

“You can’t just go in and physically tear it out unless you get a court order,” said Lee Whittenberg, city director of development services. “And to do that takes a lot longer than trying to work with the homeowners and solve the problem.”

The dome was built in 1990 by Mark and Elizabeth Thompson with approval from the city Planning Department. But in August, 1993, after hours of public testimony for and against the dome, the council ruled that the structure violated zoning laws and had been misrepresented.

The Thompsons could not be reached for comment, but after the council decision, Mark Thompson said it was “inconceivable” that the city could require demolition of a structure it had previously approved.

City planners expect to complete their review of the Thompsons’ new plans by the end of the week.

“They have cooperated to the point of getting plans to us,” Whittenberg said, “and we’re hoping to continue that level of cooperation.”