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HUNTINGTON BEACH | COMMUNITY NEWS FOCUS

Council Rejects Proposed Water Dealings With Koll

August 07, 1996|DEBRA CANO

After hearing comments from dozens of residents, the City Council rejected a city staff proposal to begin negotiations to supply water for the proposed Bolsa Chica housing development.

Instead, the council on Monday night directed City Administrator Michael T. Uberuaga to develop a process for possible negotiations with Koll Real Estate Group on water and other issues, and to make projections of the financial impact of the 3,300-home project on the city budget.

City staff had recommended that the city begin discussions with Koll on the possibility of providing water and sewer services to the development.

Councilman Tom Harman dissented, arguing that the time has come for the city to play "hardball" with Koll. "We should tell them we're not going to give them any water," he said. "We should simply tell them we're not going to negotiate."

Koll's proposal to build homes on an unincorporated area surrounded by Huntington Beach has drawn widespread protest from homeowners as well as environmental groups concerned about possible ill effects on the nearby Bolsa Chica wetlands.

Other council members said a variety of issues, including the project's density, compatibility with neighboring Huntington Beach homes and likely effect on city fire, police and library services should be addressed.

Until all issues are resolved, Koll "shouldn't get a drop of water," Mayor Dave Sullivan said.

Many residents arrived at the council meeting carrying signs protesting the housing project. Those who spoke expressed similar sentiments.

"If you give water and sewer [services] to Koll, you're going to sell out Huntington Beach and the Bolsa Chica. Don't do it," urged Paul Horgan of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, which advocates preserving the entire Bolsa Chica wetlands.

The city staff estimates that a study to determine the likely positive and negative effects on the city would cost about $50,000.

Said Uberuaga: "It's not being recommended that it be paid for by the city."

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