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Huntington Beach City Council moves forward with Bolsa Chica annexation study

A jogger and a wildlife photographer wear masks at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach.
A jogger and a wildlife photographer wear masks as they enjoy the afternoon at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach in May 2020. The Huntington Beach City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to update a Bolsa Chica annexation feasibility study, perhaps the first step in bringing the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve within city limits.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

The Huntington Beach City Council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to update a Bolsa Chica annexation feasibility study, perhaps the first step in bringing the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve within city limits.

The feasibility study was prepared in 2009, updated in 2013 and last discussed in 2015. At the time, the sitting City Council voted not to move forward on annexation.

A more than 1,200-acre piece of land that runs between Warner Avenue and Seapoint Street off Pacific Coast Highway, the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve is currently classified as unincorporated land in the county of Orange.

Councilman Dan Kalmick brought forward the agenda item; Councilman Erik Peterson was the dissenting vote.

“The feasibility study details what it would take and what the city would have to take on if we were to annex Bolsa Chica,” Kalmick said. “It’s been 10 years, roughly, since that report was written, so it’s probably time to update it and take a look at that again if we want to move forward.”

Mayor Pro Tem Mike Posey said he was open to revisiting the feasibility study to see what has changed in the past decade.

“It’s revisiting the feasibility of annexation and not engaging in annexation,” Posey said. “The study is 10 or 12 years old now. I guess that’s one of the most frustrating things of being in government, that we seem to look at something every 10 years then look at it again 10 years later. This time, I hope we look at it and there’s some decisive action.”

Kalmick has said that annexing Bolsa Chica would allow Huntington Beach to complete the corporate government boundary of the city, enabling local control.

Kim Kolpin, executive director of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, sent an email Tuesday to the City Council in support of updating the annexation study. The Bolsa Chica Land Trust, which has more than 5,000 members, is a nonprofit that advocates for preserving Bolsa Chica.

“BCLT welcomes the review of the feasibility study and the discussion of annexation, which would not change any protections, management, ownership, or regulations at BCER, but would create opportunities for local collaboration to continue to improve BCER for the wildlife which depends on it,” Kolpin wrote.

Carol Rohr, 65, second from right, demonstrates with fellow Skandia Mobile Country Club residents on Feb. 1.
HOA President Carol Rohr, 65, second from right, demonstrates against the rent increase with fellow Skandia Mobile Country Club residents on Feb. 1 in Huntington Beach.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Huntington Beach to host a senior resource fair

The City Council unanimously voted to organize a one-day senior resource fair for residents in mobile home parks and low-income seniors.

The move came after several members of the Skandia Mobile Country Club came to speak to the council for the second straight meeting. The Skandia residents are advocating for a “carveout” on the November ballot that would allow for a rental stabilization ordinance for mobile home parks.

“There’s a definite need, and we need to make sure that we have uncovered every opportunity for these folks,” Councilwoman Kim Carr said. “We all hear them and recognize what’s going on in the community. The particular request that has been asked is a pretty heavy lift, [but] I am very cognizant that we need to get these folks help right now, and one of those opportunities is to make sure that we are utilizing every resource available.”

Carr said she’d like the resource fair to happen in the month of March, on a weekend. Carr said she and Mayor Barbara Delgleize, who serve as liaisons for the Huntington Beach Council on Aging, have gotten positive feedback from that group.

Peterson suggested that the information be compiled into a booklet or pamphlet that could be delivered to the parks or put online.

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