School district appeals vote on mixed-use project

The Ocean View School District has appealed the Huntington Beach Planning Commission's approval of a housing and business project's impact report, saying the study does not adequately address density issues or the lack of school space to accommodate new students.

Supt. William Loose said the school that would likely take in new students is at capacity and reopening a closed one would cost the district a lot of money. Loose is also concerned with the traffic and overcrowding the project may generate.

"We're asking for reconsideration and for the city to look at all these additional impacts that would be caused by the project," he said. "We don't think they're adequately addressed."

The Beach and Warner Mixed Use Project proposes 9.4 acres of residential, restaurant and retail space. The project would include the development of two mixed structures that vary from one to six stories and allow for retail space on the street level, according to a city staff report. The project's environmental impact report (EIR) was approved by the Planning Commission on Oct. 25.

Councilman Matthew Harper has also filed an appeal of the decision, mainly because he wants the City Council to review the school district's concerns, he said.

But the district has already voiced its concerns at prior stages of the process and the impact report was found to be adequate, said Associate Planner Rosemary Medel.

New students would likely attend Oak View Elementary School, which the district says is at capacity.

While the impact report acknowledges that the project may result in overcrowding at Oak View, current and future enrollment projections show that Mesa View Middle School would remain within capacity, according to the report.

Once the project comes forward for a permit, school fees paid by the developer will be factored in to take care of any impact the project will have on the schools, Medel said.

As it stands, Medel said this appeal doesn't provide any new concerns that haven't been addressed, and city staff plan to ask the City Council to uphold the commission's decision.

"There's nothing that we haven't already responded to in the EIR," Medel said.

Planning Commissioner Mark Bixby was one of two commissioners who voted against the impact report, but it wasn't for the same reasons the school district brought forward. Commissioner Blair Farley also voted against the report.

Bixby said the report failed to adequately address the impacts on off-site parking in the adjacent neighborhoods. The project provides the minimum parking requirement, which would mean Beach and Warner households with more than one or two cars would have to find parking on nearby streets.

The appeal is scheduled to go before the council Dec. 19.

Twitter: @MonaShadia

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World