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Huntington Beach OKs firm to head environmental analysis of Magnolia Tank Farm redevelopment

The Huntington Beach City Council voted Monday to enter a contract with a consulting engineering firm that will conduct an environmental analysis of plans to redevelop the Magnolia Tank Farm with homes and possibly a hotel and retail space.

The council voted 5-2, with members Erik Peterson and Lyn Semeta dissenting, in favor of a three-year, $510,213 agreement with Psomas to prepare the environmental impact report.

A financial agreement with Shopoff Realty Investments, the owner of the land, was an item of contention at the council meeting.

Peterson said he was concerned that the city would be “fronting” the money for the EIR and said the company should pay the cost from the outset.

But Community Development Director Scott Hess said the city is not fronting the money and that Shopoff will put down $150,000 and continue to make deposits as the costs for the EIR are compiled.

Hess said the structure of the contract is “typical.”

The property, about 400 yards from Huntington State Beach, was an oil storage and pumping facility. It contains three 500,000-barrel tanks that would be removed for the proposed project.

Shopoff has proposed two development scenarios.

One would include a 211,000-square-foot hotel, 19,000 square feet of retail and 250 residences, with some land remaining open space, according to a report by City Manager Fred Wilson. The other would consist solely of 250 homes.

Several opponents of the project spoke at the meeting.

Resident Dominic Menaldi said neighbors favor housing that is consistent with nearby residences. He said Shopoff’s proposals are “crazy.”

Resident Nancy Buchoz said building a hotel wouldn’t make sense because of a lack of amenities in the area.

Semeta said she wanted the EIR to take into account the sentiments of residents who want a less high-density proposal with housing that fits the surrounding area. Hess said the contract could include alternatives in the analysis.

Other residents showed up to voice support for the EIR.

Jo Ellen Pendergraft and Liz Howell said they favor the analysis so it can be determined what project would be most beneficial to the surrounding neighborhoods.

List of downtown repairs presented

The council voted 6-0 on Monday to file a list of repairs considered necessary in the downtown area. Councilman Billy O’Connell recused himself because of his business interests in the area.

Councilman Patrick Brenden and Mayor Pro Tem Mike Posey brought the issue to the council May 15, requesting a compilation of needed repairs in an area of downtown bounded by First and Sixth streets, Pacific Coast Highway and Pecan Avenue. The analysis also includes the pier, Pierside Pavilion and the beach boardwalk.

Resident and former council candidate Amory Hanson spoke at the meeting to support the idea, saying the city hasn’t been “nice” to downtown.

City staff conducted several inspections of the area during the past month and compiled its findings in a spreadsheet with photos.

The list labels items based on priority. “Immediate fixes” include skate stops (which are placed on the edges of benches and other structures to prevent people from skating on them), sticker, graffiti and weed removal and washing poles.

benjamin.brazil@latimes.com

Twitter:@benbrazilpilot

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