HUNTINGTON BEACH : Developer Reaffirms Parkland Donation

County Supervisor Harriett M. Wieder said Monday that the long-proposed Bolsa Chica Linear County Regional Park is proceeding on schedule and as planned.

Wieder, who has worked to secure the park for the last 10 years, said that an environmental group's fears that the Huntington Beach Co. was reneging on a pledge to donate land to the park "are based on misinformation."

The Amigos de Bolsa Chica last week accused the Huntington Beach Co. of backing away from its pledge to the city to donate parkland in exchange for city permits to develop company-owned land in the area.

Wieder, however, said that she had talked to Huntington Beach Co. officials on Monday and was assured that land would be donated. "The Huntington Beach Co. is being very cooperative," she said.

Bill Holman, project manager for the Huntington Beach Co., also said Monday that the developer is still firmly committed to donating about one-third of the total acreage of the 113-acre county park.

The park, which was partially dedicated earlier this year, will extend from Pacific Coast Highway near the Bolsa Chica wetlands to Central Park.

The recent uproar was caused when the Huntington Beach Co. proposed two townhouse projects at the intersection of Palm Avenue and Seapoint Street, which is near the park site. In exchange for building permits for this development alone, the company is required under state law to give the city either 4.5 acres of parkland or money.

Despite an earlier stated willingness to trade land, the company proposed to give the city money for these particular projects. The Amigos de Bolsa Chica were angered because they saw the offer as a first step in a retreat from the original verbal agreement.

Holman said Monday that the Huntington Beach Co. has now agreed to donate parkland, rather than money, if its townhouse projects are approved. The projects come before the Planning Commission at its 7 p.m. meeting today in City Hall.

Amigos de Bolsa Chica officials have said the organization still opposes the Huntington Beach Co. townhouses because they would be high-rise structures and would "ruin the view" of the Bolsa Chica wetlands area.

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