As a longtime Huntington Beach resident and observer of the painful efforts to "plan" the Bolsa Chica, I think some recent events deserve considerably more public attention than they have received so far.
It has been apparent for some time that many conflicting public and private interests would have to be melded if an acceptable and workable plan is to be formulated for the Bolsa Chica wetlands. It has also been apparent--though perhaps not so readily--that a true consensus plan would be a prerequisite for actually achieving any of the public or private benefits the Bolsa Chica could provide. The key question has been how to achieve that consensus.
It appears that Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder found the answer when she insisted on the creation of the Bolsa Chica Planning Coalition by representatives of the major factions to develop an acceptable plan. At last, a consensus seems to be evolving among the varied interest groups and agencies involved in determining the future of Bolsa Chica.
The Bolsa Chica is my front yard, so to speak. I am very concerned what happens there. I also view the Bolsa Chica as a significant environmental resource worthy of protection and enhancement. Philosophically, I believe that the landowner has certain property rights. I think there has been a serious and creative attempt by Wieder and the coalition to balance all these valid objectives.
The recent unanimous approval of the coalition's concept plan by the city of Huntington Beach is an important indicator that a true consensus is emerging.
More work remains to be done to further refine the agreements reached to date. I hope that work will continue in the spirit of consensus building and balanced interests established by Wieder. Those of us interested in the future of the Bolsa Chica owe her and the members of the coalition a sincere thank you.