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Disputed Ellis Avenue residential-commercial project to return to Huntington Beach council

Ellis Avenue condo rendering
A rendering shows a proposed project that would add a four-story building with 48 residential units and a coffee shop to the corner of Beach Boulevard and Ellis Avenue in Huntington Beach.
(Courtesy of Tahir Salim)

The Huntington Beach City Council on Tuesday is expected to vote on a controversial proposal that would develop 48 residential units and a coffee shop in a mixed-use project at the corner of Beach Boulevard and Ellis Avenue.

Under applicant Tahir Salim’s proposal, a four-story building including the residences, 891 square feet of commercial space and three levels of underground parking would redevelop the property at 8041 Ellis Ave. It would provide five affordable-housing units.

The site shares its eastern property line with duplexes and other low-density housing.

This is the second time the project will go before the council. Mayor Erik Peterson delayed a vote Aug. 19 because Councilwoman Barbara Delgleize was absent from the meeting. Salim, who appealed after the city Planning Commission rejected the project in June, had asked to delay the vote for the same reason.

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However, residents were encouraged to share their opinions during that meeting, and nearly a dozen urged the council to nix the proposal because of concerns about traffic congestion and safety.

Less than a handful, including the applicant, asked the council to approve the project to help beautify an area that’s frequented by homeless people and to provide more affordable housing.

At the heart of the issue is the city’s ongoing attempt to retain its suburban beach town aesthetic. Some residents fear that development proposals such as Salim’s would threaten Surf City’s appearance. The Elan Huntington Beach luxury apartments across from where the new development would go are already viewed by some as encroaching on the city’s charm.

But Salim’s project could help the city meet the state’s rules for low-income housing. It falls within the city’s Beach Boulevard and Edinger Avenue corridors, an area that doesn’t meet the current requirement.

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In January, California sued Huntington Beach over what state officials called the city’s failure to allow enough homebuilding to accommodate a growing population. The case is continuing after a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge recently denied the city’s request to dismiss the lawsuit.

New police management contract

In other business Monday, the council may formally authorize a new contract with the city’s police management union that would provide members a one-time $1,200 reimbursement for law enforcement-related equipment purchases.

The council unanimously gave preliminary approval Aug. 19 with no discussion.

Under the contract, retroactive to 2018 and effective through June 2020, members of the Police Management Assn. also would see changes in medical benefits. The city’s monthly contribution toward the union members’ medical plans would increase by about $200.

The proposal is expected to cost the city $41,654.

Tuesday’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 2000 Main St.

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