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Beach cottage replacement on O.C. ballot

October 22, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
A long-running fight in Seal Beach will show up on the November ballot. Measure Z addresses replacing beach cottages on the city's waterfront with three-story homes.When you talk to lifelong residents of Seal Beach, they describe the city as quaint, with a small-town feel along Main Street.

Small cottage homes dot the seaside neighborhoods. But more and more homeowners are building up.

Voting "no" on Measure Z means keeping the housing laws the way they currently exist. The law states there a home has may be a maximum height of 35 feet, or three stories.

Scott Sherman says he likes the bigger homes on the long and narrow lots.

"I'd like to say they're keeping the town ... the small, cute, little town that it is. But for 34 years, it has changed so much then. I mean, there's not tiny nailers anymore. There's a lot of things in this town that have already changed. Change is a way of the world," said Sherman.

When you talk to people who want the height limitation reduced to 25 feet, it comes down to a point of view: the ocean.

"We live in a two-story house and it's nice to have that level where you can see around you. But it's so beautiful and pristine here. If you put, like, a big three-story building you would really distract a lot of beautiful viewing," said Seal Beach resident Yoland Munoz.

The housing market, according to the city, is tight. There really is nowhere else to live.

Sherman, like others who support the three-story limit, says the bigger homes means more value to your property, which adds up to more tax revenue for the city.

"Our city's actually going to be losing money there. The Joneses just want to stay up top and don't want anyone to come up and play on their field," said Sherman.

"I think two stories is plenty. I have one and I'm fine with that," said another Seal Beach resident.

The 10-foot battle will be settled on November 4.


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