The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday overturned a Planning Commission recommendation and approved an expansion of Pierside Pavilion, a retail, restaurant and office center on Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway.
The expansion of the four-story building will add nearly 30,000 square feet to Pierside, more retail space on the first floor, an additional restaurant to the second floor and office space to the third and fourth floors. Developers hope to draw new tenants and offset a decline that began when a movie theater left the space in 2007.
Owner Joe Daichendt and developers said the project will improve the building, create jobs and attract more business to the city.
But nearby Pier Colony residents said their beach view, which is an integral part of their property values, will decrease as traffic and noise increase.
Pier Colony resident David Abu was one of a dozen residents from the complex at 200 Pacific Coast Hwy. to speak against the expansion.
"It's totally out of character with the rest of our shore," he said.
Councilman Keith Bohr disagreed, voting in favor of the plans.
"It seems to me that there's almost nothing you can build that doesn't bother the folks next door," he said.
Several business owners in the area also came to the meeting in support of the expansion.
In addition to their concerns about the expansion, residents said the Pierside Pavilion development had problems when it was first approved in 1988. The city's coastal element, they said, requires the street to be 60 feet wide and this project encroached on the open space — a problem that the expansion will make worse.
"For a building that's been so heavily publicly subsidized, I think we should respect that there is a public benefit to having those 60 feet view corridor," said Councilman Joe Shaw, who voted against the expansions along with Councilwoman Connie Boardman.
In August, the Planning Commission voted against the expansion because of the "potential environmental impacts to the public view corridor" and inconsistencies with guidelines in the Downtown Specific Plan, according to a city staff report.
Councilman Joe Carchio appealed the commission's vote to the council, saying the expansion would benefit downtown.
"This is really a real improvement to the area," Carchio said. "Everybody, and even the folks sitting up there, will agree that this space there is underutilized. It's going to increase business downtown."