SEAL BEACH The City Council has dealt a death blow to a proposed fitness club in the back of The Shops at Rossmoor.
Council members voted 3-2 early Tuesday, Sept. 12 against a conditional use permit to allow development of an LA Fitness — or similar business — at the site.
However, they separately voted 3-2 to deny an appeal filed by residents that would have overturned the project’s Environmental Impact Report — a somewhat moot point since the gym had just been squelched.
The meeting started Monday night, but dragged on for almost seven hours until nearly 2 a.m. as dozens of residents and representatives spoke on each side of the issue.
Halfway through, the debate took a surprising turn when the development’s spokesman — after spelling out a detailed defense of the project — announced that LA Fitness had pulled out last week.
“Tragically, LA Fitness is no longer a part of this,” said Marty Potts, senior vice president of real estate for Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). “They grew frustrated with the process and withdrew.”
Potts said the fitness club giant became concerned that the drawn-out dispute could damage its brand.
Still, Potts urged the council to approve the hard-fought conditional use permit in order to make the property readily available for other potential health club clients.
One way or another, Potts said, “This property will be developed. We cannot afford to let it lay fallow any longer.”
In an interview during a break in the meeting, Potts said the shopping center developer remained interested in bringing LA Fitness back to the table.
Indeed, the project has been whip-lashed along on a roller coaster ride.
Last year, the Seal Beach Planning Commission approved the 37,000-square-foot LA Fitness.
Condo dwellers, some of whom live within 200 feet of the proposed gym, filed an appeal. In July 2016, the City Council took their side 3 to 2.
JLL pulled the application rather than subject it to a second vote a month later that would officially uphold the appeal.
Then in December, JLL resubmitted essentially the same plan.
In June of this year, the Planning Commission changed its mind and voted 3-2 against the health club. But the City Council still had the last word.
Hundreds of residents in unincorporated Rossmoor organized the vocal Coalition Against LA Fitness to battle a business they feared would bring traffic to residential streets as well as early morning and late-night noise.
Although named The Shops at Rossmoor, the…