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City approves Harmony Cove project

Neighbors voice concerns about safety and traffic near the proposed restaurant and water sport rental area.

November 27, 2012|By Andrew Shortall

For seven years, developers have tried to expand Huntington Harbour. Now one company has taken a significant step toward that goal.

At its Nov. 19 meeting, the Huntington Beach City Council unanimously approved the Harmony Cove Marina project, which will install a 23-boat slip marina, outdoor dining restaurant, metered parking and a kayak and paddle board rental kiosk to a 2.28-acre site.

"It seems like a pretty reasonable use for this area that's under utilized," Councilman Keith Bohr said at the meeting. "I feel it would be a positive benefit to the community."

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The property used to be known as Percy Dock, which contained a 60-foot public fishing and boat dock and 35-space parking lot that was operated by the city.

The proposed development, which was also unanimously passed by the Planning Commission before being appealed by Mayor Pro Tem Devin Dwyer, will appear before the California Coastal Commission for final approval. Property owner and Theory Properties Chief Operating Officer Joe Daichendt said there's no set timetable.

BayviewHB, a development company, attempted to bring residential housing, a restaurant and a 27-boat slip to the marina in 2008, but abandoned the project before selling the property to Daichendt a few months ago.

Daichendt's proposal was voted through, 7-0, after 16 members of the public — mostly Pier Colony residents and members of the grass-roots campaign Demand a Safe Harbour (DASH) — raised concerns about the development and asked the council to slow down the process.

"It feels good to be at this stage," Daichendt said. "Unfortunately, it's bittersweet because there is a lot of incorrect information out there that has upset the residents and the homeowners."

Many residents said the restaurant, which has proposed hours of 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., would decrease their property values by bringing in crowds.

"As it is today, there's too much traffic," DASH member Ed Clark said at the meeting. "You put this kind of congestion in this area and you're going to open up a can of worms."

Some also claimed the development would eliminate their ocean views, but Daichendt said that isn't true of his proposed single-story restaurant.

There were also safety concerns raised by public speakers about the use of kayaks and paddle boards in an "unsafe area" under the bridge, which creates high-speed waters.

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