Huntington Beach City Council to consider Bolsa Chica senior housing project

A rendering of the proposed Bolsa Chica Senior Living Community.
A rendering shows the proposed Bolsa Chica Senior Living Community, as seen from the corner of Bolsa Chica Road and Warner Avenue.
(Courtesy of WATG architectural firm)
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The Bolsa Chica Senior Living Community is either needed housing for senior citizens or unwanted high-density development — depending on who you ask. The Huntington Beach City Council will consider the proposed development on Tuesday night.

The complex at the southwest corner of Bolsa Chica Road and Warner Avenue, a project of real estate developer Hines and Clearwater Living, has been slightly reduced in scale since a City Council vote was postponed last month at the request of the applicant. It would now be four stories, not five, resulting in a height reduction from 65 feet to 52 feet.

The community would now include approximately 178 total units, projected as 77 independent living units, 73 assisted living units and 28 memory care units. The total floor area is about 250,000 square feet.


It would employ about 100 full-time staffers.

“We believe this type of project aligns well with the surrounding uses,” Hines senior director of development Tom Lawless said in a letter to Huntington Beach officials on Monday. “To the north and northeast of the site are retail uses, including Walgreens and CVS Pharmacy. To the west of the site, separated by a driving lane and parking, is Monticello Apartments. On the east side, separated by Bolsa Chica, is a retail building and residential homes. Finally, on the south of the site, separated by a 20-foot driving lane, is a commercial building.”

Huntington Beach’s Planning Commission voted 6-1 to move the project along on Sept. 26, with only Commissioner Don Kennedy voting no. However, Commissioner Butch Twining has since said publicly that his “yes” vote was a mistake, and he should have voted against the project.

Notably, both Kennedy and Twining have filed to run for City Council in 2024.

They joined a vocal group of Huntington Beach residents who spoke out against the project at the Nov. 7 council meeting when the vote was postponed.

“I was quickly reminded by dozens and dozens and dozens of residents that I was wrong,” Twining said during public comments at that meeting. “I thought this was a good project without talking to the constituency ... There were no objections to a senior living facility, it was just the size.”

The current conservative City Council majority ran last fall promising to reject high-density housing. But Huntington Beach as a city has a population that continues to age.

According to U.S. Census Bureau estimates from 2022, about 18.7% of Surf City residents are ages 65 and over — about 1% more than the number of children under the age of 18.

Several Huntington Beach residents have signed a form objection letter to the project, stating in part that project would be too massive for the surrounding community, with rents too expensive.

“Many of us worked really hard during the recall to educate our residents about the HDD projects approved by the previous [City Council],” resident Michaela Rutherford wrote in an email to the council. “Do not forget the promise you campaigned on! No more HDD!”

Resident Christopher Lawrence Greaves, however, wrote in favor of the senior living project.

“This will bring new life to the area and prove to the senior citizens that after all the years they have given to the city, we are willing to help them and approve this by giving back,” Greaves wrote. “I urge you to consider the benefits this project offers not only in terms of aesthetics, but in the safety of our elderly.”

Tuesday’s City Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. at Huntington Beach City Hall.