The decision led Shea Homes to sue the commission for $55 million, but the case never went to trial and was settled privately.
Part of the settlement required the commission to bring back the project, as it was presented in October for a vote.
The only difference, however, are the guidelines under which the commission planned to consider the project this time around.
The commission used the guidelines of the California Coastal Act, which sets the rules on development in the coastal zone, when it considered and ultimately rejected Shea Homes last year. This time, the commission planned to use the rules of the Local Coastal Program, which is specific to Huntington Beach, to make its decision.
The coastal act allows each jurisdiction to develop its own coastal program specific to its needs. All local coastal programs must align with the guidelines of the statewide act and be approved by the coastal commission.
Although the commission planned to use different guidelines, the land trust doesn't see the Shea proposal differently.
"We see conflicts," said Councilwoman Connie Boardman, who is also the president of the land trust. "We see reasons to deny the project."
Given its location, Shea Homes will have to build what's called a Vegetated Flood Protection Feature, a levee-like barrier to protect the homes in case of a flood.
Shea Homes must also comply with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Floodplain Management Requirements, according to the coastal commission's staff report.
To provide the necessary flood protection, the barrier will be built between the bluff on the western edge of the project and the Wintersburg Channel on the south, the staff report said.