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Committee will help investigate foul odor in Huntington Beach, City Council decides

The Huntington Beach City Council formed a committee Monday to address the mysterious foul odors afflicting the community.

The council voted 6-0 to work with other agencies to identify the source of the sulfur-like smell and possible solutions. Councilman Erik Peterson was absent.

The committee consists of Mayor Pro Tem Mike Posey and council members Patrick Brenden and Billy O’Connell, who proposed the idea.

O’Connell said it’s important to show residents that the council is proactive.

“Not enough progress is being made to address the source of the odor,” he said in a written statement.

Councilwoman Jill Hardy said the smell has gotten worse. The Marina High School teacher said there was a moment last year when she believed a stink bomb had been released in her classroom.

Ocean View School District board President Gina Clayton-Tarvin voiced support for the committee at the council meeting. The foul smells are present throughout her district.

“Thank you for hearing the voices of your constituents,” she said.

Residents have reported headaches, nausea and sore throats, but according to the city website, the odor is not “an immediate life safety issue.”

Mayor Barbara Delgleize said public agencies began working together on the issue at the beginning of the year.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District, the lead agency, hasn’t been able to identify the origin, though spokesman Sam Atwood has said it’s likely offshore.

Seal Beach and Long Beach have reported similar odors.

General plan update

In other business, the council voted 6-0 in favor of an update to the city’s general plan.

The item had been continued from the last meeting so City Attorney Michael Gates could look into how state Senate Bill 35, which would ease local development restrictions to encourage homebuilding, may apply to the plan.

Chief Asst. City Attorney Mike Vigliotta told the council the bill does not affect the plan update.

California cities are required to have general plans and update them at regular intervals. Huntington Beach’s general plan hasn’t been comprehensively updated since 1996.

The last update forecast 86,499 residential units through 2040. The new update projects 85,403 units through 2040.

The update also includes a new land-use designation — research and technology — intended to help fuel job and economic growth.

benjamin.brazil@latimes.com

Twitter:@benbrazilpilot

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