BY NICK DIAMANTIDES
After several years in Long Beach, the American Gymnastics Academy is coming back to Signal Hill. Last week, the Signal Hill City Council approved a negative declaration and zoning ordinance amendment that will allow the facility to relocate to an area designated primarily for light industry.
Shane and Carol McIntyre of American Gymnastics Academy (AGA) at 3100 Airport Way in Long Beach wish to relocate their gymnasium to Signal Hill at the old Cash & Carry building located at 1901 Obispo Avenue,” said Gary Jones, director of community development, in his report to the council. “The McIntyres have owned and managed AGA for nearly 20 years since it was housed in a 9,500-square-foot warehouse at 2749 Temple Avenue in Signal Hill.”
Jones explained that AGA’s move to Long Beach several years ago was necessitated by its need for a larger facility. Its move back to Signal Hill is motivated by the same need. According to Jones, AGA now needs an even larger facility to accommodate more gymnastics students, newer equipment and more parking.
Shane McIntyre praised Jones and other city staff for expediting the academy’s return to Signal Hill. “We’d like to thank you for everything you’ve done,” he said. “We can’t wait to be back in Signal Hill. Everyone we have worked with in every office has been very helpful.”
Councilmember Ellen Ward asked if the McIntyres could arrange for a public gymnastics demonstration– perhaps in an outdoor venue– to show residents the athletic skills the academy teaches to local youth. Shane said they would look into that and added that all of the academy’s competitions and shows are open to the public.
Jones noted that the former Cash & Carry building is surrounded by light industrial buildings and has no residences in the immediate vicinity, which means that evening operating hours will not be an issue. The building encompasses 20,194 square feet and has a parking lot with 31 spaces. The McIntyres plan to use 18,686 square feet of the building for training and competitions and 1,058 square feet for office space and seating areas.
“The proposed facility is an improvement from AGA’s existing facility in Long Beach,” Jones said. “In addition to its larger space, the building is more accessible with its location on Obispo Avenue and safer with its private parking lot that avoids backing out into the street.”
McIntyre said he expects to open the academy at its new location by mid-December.
In another action during its special Wednesday night meeting, the council adopted an ordinance regulating the use of the city’s seal and logo. “The city seal and logo are the property of the City of Signal Hill and have been designated to identify official city business, facilities, events and publications,” said City Manager Ken Farfsing. “Identity theft has increased in the last few years; we as a city have an identity and this is a way of protecting our identity.”
Farfsing said the ordinance was inspired by previously voluntary guidelines that discouraged the use of the seal and logo in political campaign literature and advertisements. “Some of the candidates have abided by the voluntary restrictions and others have not,” he said. “We felt it was important to bring forward an ordinance amendment prior to the next municipal election that would clearly establish the ground rules in terms of the use of the city seal and logo.”
The ordinance prohibits elected officials and those running for election from using the seal and logo in their campaign literature. However, the seal and logo may be used on literature expressing a majority vote of the council in favor of or in opposition to state or federal legislation or literature declaring the city’s official position on any issue. In addition, council members may use the seal and logo on official correspondence pertaining to their official duties on the city council.
The ordinance also prohibits the use of the seal and logo for any private or commercial purposes without prior approval of the city council.
In a separate action, the council voted 4–1 to change its meeting dates from the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month to the first and third Tuesdays. “The city attorney (Dave Aleshire) has requested that the city council consider changing the dates due to a potential conflict of meeting dates with another client,” Farfsing said. “The city attorney would not be able to attend Signal Hill City Council meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays, though another attorney from the firm would be available.”
Aleshire is a partner in a law firm who acts as city attorney under contract for several Southern California cities. An additional city recently hired the firm to be its city attorney and its council meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays. Aleshire explained that the new client is currently embroiled in political turmoil, which necessitates his attendance at council meetings. He added that conflicts among that city’s council members make it highly unlikely that they would be willing to change their meeting dates.
Councilman Ed Wilson was the only councilmember to vote against the change. He explained that since Signal Hill had a long-standing contract with Aleshire’s firm, priority should be given to Signal Hill. “The other city should have been asked to change its council meeting dates,” he said.
The new schedule will take effect on January 6, 2009.
The next regularly scheduled meeting of the city council is Tuesday, December 9 at 7 p.m. in the council chambers of Signal Hill City Hall, 2175 Cherry Avenue.