Proposed homeless shelter site on Beach Boulevard may be off the table for Huntington Beach

The former site of Al’s Woodcraft at 17881 Beach Blvd. is one of two locations the city of Huntington Beach has been considering leasing to create a 35- to 60-bed homeless shelter.
(Daily Pilot)

The city of Huntington Beach may head back to the drawing board in its search for a site to create a homeless shelter and may consider partnering with other cities or agencies to help address the regional issue.

City Manager Oliver Chi said in an interview Friday that as additional options have become available, he wasn’t ready to recommend that the City Council move forward with one location — the former site of Al’s Woodcraft at 17881 Beach Blvd. — to use as a 35- to 60-bed homeless shelter.

Chi declined to say where other possible sites are but said the city is also talking with surrounding communities to see whether there’s a more regional solution.

“Our intention is as soon as we get more analysis done, we’ll engage in robust communication efforts and get some additional input,” Chi said. That information may be released as early as next week, he added.

The City Council is expected to meet in closed session Monday regarding negotiations on the price and terms of payment for the Beach Boulevard property.

The council also is expected to vote during its regular meeting on a recommendation to direct city staff to explore more options for a homeless shelter and authorize Chi to sign documents required for the sale of property at 15311 Pipeline Lane. The council had authorized a $2.85-million purchase to create a 75- to 90-bed shelter there but was later sued by a group of residents and other property owners and businesses because they claimed the property could be used only for industrial purposes. That legal issue is continuing.

Chi said he had issues with the Beach Boulevard property’s location and size and that the city also received pushback from the community. After additional analysis from staff, he said it couldn’t easily be configured into a shelter.

A building at 17712 Crabb Lane was identified as a potential site for a Huntington Beach homeless shelter, but that option has fallen through, according to City Manager Oliver Chi.
(Daily Pilot)

Another option, at 17712 Crabb Lane, fell through after the property owner was no longer willing to consider its use as a temporary shelter, Chi said. That site is at the end of a cul-de-sac in a commercial-industrial area, with some homes nearby.

“That was our preferred site at the city,” Chi said. “It was much more industrial in nature.”

Huntington Beach, like several neighboring cities, has struggled to find a suitable location for a homeless shelter. In addition to dropping the Pipeline site, the city in April scrapped a plan to create a 50-bed shelter at 5770 Research Drive, just behind Marina High School, after objections from residents, school officials and parents.

Neighbors say a possible 40-bed shelter at 592 Superior Ave. would unfairly concentrate homeless people in that area and bring down property values, safety and quality of life.

This time, Chi said, Huntington is exploring regional options because “that’s where we think we need to spend time analyzing before we do frankly anything else.”

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

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