Commission postpones decision on Bolsa Chica zoning

City and developers asked for time to study changes to the staff report on the project.

January 13, 2014|By Anthony Clark Carpio

A decision about whether to allow Huntington Beach to rezone a portion of the Bolsa Chica mesa known to harbor historical artifacts will have to wait.

California coastal commissioners unanimously voted Wednesday to postpone a hearing on proposed changes to the city's Local Coastal Program, at the city's request. Local Coastal Programs help local communities in coastal areas guide development, in concert with the Coastal Commission.

A late addendum and changes to the commission staff report prompted Huntington Beach to request a delay in order to allow city officials and the public to digest the new information.


Huntington Beach Planning Director Scott Hess told commissioners that the city and developers involved would like time to analyze and reply to late additions and changes.

The roughly 100-page addendum consists of a few pages of edits made to the original report and a collection of letters from the property owner, historical preservation organizations and archaeologists.

Coastal Commission staff recommends denying amendments to Huntington Beach's Local Coastal Program that would allow property owner Signal Landmark and developer Hearthside Homes to build 22 "green" homes on a five-acre parcel called the Ridge near Bolsa Chica Street and Los Patos Avenue.

The staff document reported that the land use changes would "eliminate a higher-priority land use designation" and "not assure that significant culture resources and sensitive habitats will be protected." Preservationists say the Ridge site, like the rest of the mesa, contains Native American artifacts and remains.

However, the commission would consider approving the amendment if the city and property owners were willing to abide by the agency's requirements.

Originally, commission staff said it would consider the amendments if Signal Landmark chose to buy the neighboring six-acre site owned by the Goodell family, which is also thought to contain Native American artifacts, and ensure that no development takes place there.

Now, in its updated report, commission staff says that before it will consider rezoning the Ridge, the city and the property owners must also "irrevocably" offer the Goodell site to be dedicated to a governmental organization or a nonprofit to be used as open space.

Other new recommendations include requiring a cultural resources protection plan and current biological assessments to be done for both sites.

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