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HUNTINGTON BEACH : City Asserts Desire to Keep Wetlands a Bio-Diversity Park

November 14, 1994|DEBRA CANO

The City Council last week voted to send the county a loud and clear message that the city's preference is to keep Bolsa Chica wetlands a bio-diversity park.

The council voted 5 to 2 to ask the county Board of Supervisors to preserve the entire wetlands and adjacent land. Supervisors are expected to consider a development proposal for Bolsa Chica in December.

Councilmen Jim Silva and Earle Robitaille cast the opposing votes. The new council, with three new members, will take office Dec. 5. The new lineup on the council is considered more pro-development than the existing council, but it is unclear whether it will take a position on the development.

The current council also authorized a letter asking the county to include the city in negotiations for a development agreement with Koll Real Estate Group. Koll is proposing to build 4,286 homes on the property and restore 1,100 acres of wetlands.

The county, however, has proposed alternate plans that include allowing up to 3,300 homes and construction of a tidal inlet.

As a bio-diversity park, the entire property would be used for conservation purposes with passive recreation uses, native habitat restoration and environmental education opportunities. This plan could be realized if the property owner agreed to a land swap or purchase of the property.

But the city, in its comments to the county, also recommended a list of guidelines should housing development occur on the wetlands.

Among the city's suggestions is that a Bolsa Chica project should be a financial benefit to the city and include a plan to deliver services with the least cost to Bolsa Chica residents and least impact to the city's residents.

In addition, the city wants the project to be a balanced community with a mix of land uses; consistent with city development standards, and designed as if it would be annexed to the city. The city also wants historically significant structures and cultural artifacts preserved.

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