Growing up in the communities of Los Alamitos, Rossmoor and Seal Beach I had a unique opportunity to learn and experience this hidden “city” named Leisure World, Seal Beach. It is this community that sits back behind a guard gate, you have to have a pass or be on a list to get into the community and it is specifically for individuals who are 55+ years of age. This about sums up what most local residents also know about Leisure World, Seal Beach. As you see, not all have had the pleasure of going behind the gates nor know what an amazing place it is. So I will share with you my view of what is, Leisure World, Seal Beach.
Leisure World, Seal Beach was one of the very first major planned retirement communities in the Nation. It was built by Ross Cortese, who also designed the planned community of Rossmoor in Orange County, California. Leisure World, Seal Beach is made up of 17 mutuals (corporations) and each one acts like a Homeowners Association within the master community. The master community is run by the Golden Rain Foundation (a for profit trust).
What does this all mean? It means that the GRF (Golden Rain Foundation) operates and maintains the main common areas of the master community such as the streets, the guard gates, the pool, golf course, clubhouses, library, rec room, etc.) while the 17 mutuals (corporations) operate and maintain the land around the residential dwellings and the residential dwellings themselves within their designated area. For example, if you look at the map down below you will see that there are 17 different areas within Leisure World, Seal Beach. (Technically only 16 as here is no number 13 mutual). Each of the areas on the map is its own mutual (corporation) and in such has its own rules, regulations, policies, fees, etc. Many of the mutuals have adopted similar policies and do not vary too much from one another. You can find the various mutuals and their policies here.
When they say the mutuals (corporations) are responsible for the dwellings and maintaining the dwellings, it means that the mutuals (corporations) are responsible for the roofs, the sewer lines, the shared common plumbing, the grounds maintenance, the carport buildings, the walkways within the mutuals (corporations) and to some extent a portion of the interior of the individual units based on whether or not they have been altered/changed or are still original. For further and more specific examples/information please refer to the policies for each individual mutual and those of the G.R.F.
What does this mean to a homeowner?
It means you live in a planned community where you must abide by the rules, policies, by-laws set forth and while, yes you can remodel, update and expand your units, you must do so within the guidelines and policies of the mutual and the G.R.F. and it is done all of the time. Please click here to see some amazing examples of what residents have done in the community to enhance their units. Many are quite spectacular!
Why I personally love Leisure World, Seal Beach
My grandparents moved to Del Monte Avenue in Mutual 14 within Leisure World, Seal Beach when I was 10 years old. This led to me spending countless days within the community, as my grandparents were a very integral part of my childhood. My grandparents would take me with them to the library, the Friends of the Library bookstore, occasionally I was allowed to attend an amphitheatre show with them, especially if there was a magician. My grandfather and I loved to see the magic shows. However, my favorite thing was to visit the gardens and walk over to the golf course to watch the golfers. Then we may or may not have snuck out onto the golf course after hours to “help” the maintenance crew find any lost balls. 🙂
What Leisure World, Seal Beach offered for me as a young grandchild, was knowing my grandparents lived in a beautiful and safe environment that was close to my family. I could always get to my grandparents and they could always get to me. My grandparents were incredibly active in the various activities, clubs and seemed to thrive in their environment.
As an adult, who took care of her grandparents as they aged, it was knowing my grandparents were not alone, neighbors were always nearby, we could always access the 24 hour nurse hotline, my grandparents could take the bus or ride a scooter to the medical center, pharmacy, post office, library, etc. and still be safe within the community itself. It was knowing how much my grandparents looked forward to the Golden News Newspaper arriving on their doorstep every Wednesday night so they could know what was going on in the community and still feel like they were a part of it all, even if they only ventured outside one or two days a week in their later years. It was also having access to the most amazing resources for Senior Citizens that made a huge difference in my life and that of my sister, who has now taken charge of our aunt’s care and who now lives in Leisure World, Seal Beach. Between the medical center, the events at the clubhouses, the speakers that provide seminars of various topics for the elderly, the many advocacy groups, the County services, the pharmacy and the G.R.F. staff; we have always felt that an abundance of resources was at our fingertips. It most certainly helped us to not feel alone or so overwhelmed when times were difficult.