The U.S. Navy is eyeing some of its property in Seal Beach for possible development, and the military is asking residents for feedback.
It’s still too early to say what kind of project could be built in two parcels, totaling approximately 29 acres near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Seal Beach Boulevard at the Naval Weapons Station.
“We’re at the beginning stages of this process,” said station spokesman Gregg Smith. “The first thing we want to do is get a draft environmental assessment to help us frame what the potential uses of the property might be.”
Residents can offer input until July 31, which ends a 30-day public comment period.
The mostly vacant property is underutilized and includes a forklift training area that can be moved, Smith said.
Until the U.S. Navy decides what it wants to build on the property, it’s not known whether the development will be open to the general public or only accessible to personnel at the station, Smith said.
Meanwhile, Mayor Joe Kalmick said it’s premature for city officials to say what they would like to see on the land — but one option is a mixed-use development with housing.
California, facing a housing shortage, has ordered cities to drastically increase the number of units they must plan for under a once-every-eight-years planning process.
The Navy site was included in Seal Beach’s housing plan, which also identified other properties for possible development. Those included the Shops at Rossmoor, Leisure World, Old Ranch Country Club, and part of the Seal Beach Center at Main Street and PCH.
In its response to the Navy’s draft environmental assessment, city officials submitted traffic-related questions and concerns regarding access to the property from Seal Beach Boulevard and PCH, Kalmick said.
“If you’re going southbound on Seal Beach Boulevard, the only way you can now get there is to make a U-turn. That doesn’t sound too good,” Kalmick said.
For the 78-year-old Naval Weapons Station, a development project on the property would mark a first, Smith said.
The 5,200-acre facility is one of the larger naval installations in the U.S. and the only military installation to feature an enclosed wildlife refuge within its borders. The 965-acre Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge is home to the endangered California least tern and light-footed Ridgway’s rail, among other shorebirds.
While large, the base’s military personnel ranges from 200-250 per day plus another 500 civilians who work at the station, Smith said. Military housing at the station off Seal Beach Boulevard offers housing to more than 180 families.
Comments and concerns regarding the environmental assessment must be postmarked by July 31 to [email protected], or via mail to:
Naval Facilities Engineering Systems Command SouthwestAttn: Amanda Peyton750 Pacific Highway (12th Floor, Environmental)San Diego, CA 92132-5190.
Staff writer Jeff Collins contributed to this report.