Magnolia Tank Farm property owner asks to pull hearing off Huntington Beach City Council agenda

Aerial view of Magnolia Tank Farm
Property owner Shopoff Realty Investments requested that a public hearing on entitlements for a Magnolia Tank Farm redevelopment project be pulled from the agenda for Monday’s Huntington Beach City Council meeting, citing “the community’s ongoing concerns.”
(File Photo)

Huntington Beach City Hall’s council chamber figures to be noticeably quieter at Monday night’s City Council meeting after the owner of the Magnolia Tank Farm property requested that a public hearing on entitlements for a planned residential and commercial redevelopment be pulled from the agenda.

The Planning Commission voted 5-2 on Oct. 24 to verify the project’s environmental impact report and approved a general plan amendment and zoning change for the 29-acre site at 21845 Magnolia St., which once served as an oil storage and pumping facility.

In a letter to the council Wednesday, Shopoff Realty Investments asked that the item be pulled to “continue to address and be responsive to the community’s ongoing concerns.”

“In addition to the ongoing environmental concerns of our residential neighbors regarding the Ascon property, we continue to hear that the proposed residential density is also of concern,” Shopoff Vice President of Development James O’Malley said in the letter.

The Ascon property is a former landfill near the tank farm site that is undergoing cleanup.

Shopoff hopes to develop the tank farm property with up to 250 for-sale residential units and a 230,000-square-foot “eco-lodge,” along with public parking and retail and dining facilities. However, no specific development proposal is currently before the city — just the zoning provisions that would allow such a project.

“From the beginning, our goal has been to develop a visionary land-use plan for the property that carefully addresses the property’s interface with each of those neighboring land uses and provide citywide benefits,” O’Malley said.

Many community members have protested the project online and at City Hall, voicing worries that its construction could dislodge substances that would expose residents of southeast Huntington Beach to hazardous chemicals and pollutants. Some argued that the development shouldn’t be considered until the nearby Ascon cleanup is complete.

Supporters of the project said the city needs more housing.

City staff has recommended that the council continue the public hearing to a date determined by Shopoff.

Bluff Top Park project

The City Council also will consider the final design of blufftop improvements slated to roll out in the first part of next year.

In June, the state budget earmarked $1.7 million to restore the 2-mile stretch of multi-use trail at Bluff Top Park on Pacific Coast Highway.

“It’s going to be a big change in terms of what people see,” Huntington Beach City Manager Oliver Chi said of the project, which will include widening the popular path, new landscaping and changing the rail that stretches along the blufftop.

The Design Review Board recommended a wood lodge pole guardrail design.

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

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