HUNTINGTON BEACH — Despite protests from educators that the plan does not adequately provide for school needs, the City Council on Monday night voted 4 to 1 to approve a set of long-range growth management policies and goals.
Approval of the plan, called the "growth management element," makes the city eligible to share in millions of dollars from Measure M, the half-cent sales tax increase approved by county voters in November, 1990. Measure M requires participating governments to adopt growth management plans.
Councilman Peter M. Green cast the dissenting vote, saying he was displeased that a citizen advisory committee had not been better utilized in forming the growth plan.
The Huntington Beach City School District opposed the city's plan because it does not adequately consider school needs, district officials said.
They wanted the city to amend the growth plan so that it would give them more power to negotiate with builders over fees for new school construction.
District officials said that too often the city has approved new residential development without considering the coinciding need for new schools triggered by population growth.
In a debate Monday night, Jerry Buchanan, an assistant superintendent for the Huntington Beach City School District, said that schools are already overcrowded.
He said the system needs more help from the city's growth plan.
Councilman Don MacAllister proposed a compromise. He suggested that the council pass the growth plan as written but have it reviewed within the next three months for possible changes to satisfy the school district and the citizen advisory group.
MacAllister's motion was then passed, 4 to 1.
The growth plan essentially gives broad guidelines for how much development will be allowed in the future. The guidelines generally gear allowable growth to how much public service--such as streets, water, and police and fire protection--the city can provide without hurting service to existing neighborhoods.
In most cases, this means more fees for developers.