After years of wrangling and despite a crush of opposition, the City Council early Wednesday approved the Bixby Ranch Co.'s plan to build homes and a busy retail center in northern Seal Beach.
The 4-1 vote came after two marathon council sessions lasting a total of 10 hours and criticism from more than 3,000 residents who signed petitions against the project that they said would pave over much of the largest plots of land that remain undeveloped in Seal Beach.
“I’m disappointed,” said Erwin Anisman, president of a local homeowners association that is opposed to the project.
There was one concession to angry residents: A proposal to build a 3,500-seat church was set aside in favor of building 75 homes that are expected to sell for more than $300,000 each. The Bixby Ranch Co. also plans to build a retail shopping center, residential facilities for seniors and expand the existing golf course on its 218-acre property off Seal Beach Boulevard.
Residents of Los Alamitos, Rossmoor and Seal Beach’s College Park East in nearby neighborhoods opposed the retail center because of the more than 13,000 car trips a day it would generate. But City Council leaders said the center would bring badly needed revenue to Seal Beach, which ranks 30th out of Orange County’s 31 cities in terms of sales tax revenue.