‘Not enough progress,’ Huntington councilman says about investigation of foul odor

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The Huntington Beach City Council on Monday will consider establishing a committee to aid in the investigation of a recurring foul odor that some residents say causes headaches and nausea.

“Not enough progress is being made to address the source of the odor,” Councilman Billy O’Connell said in a statement proposing the item.

He’s requesting that the city form a committee to create a strategy to work with regulatory agencies to find the cause of the odor and methods of mitigating it.


The city released a post last week on its website that said the odor wasn’t believed to be “an immediate life safety issue.”

The South Coast Air Quality Management District is leading the investigation.

An informational webpage provided by the agency says that due to multiple sources in the area with the capability of producing gas-like odors and the periodic nature and unknown location of the source, the agency has had a difficult time assessing the cause. SCAQMD spokesman Sam Atwood said last week that the analysis of complaints and wind directions points to an offshore source.

The Huntington Beach Fire Department has also been working with the agency.

Seal Beach and Long Beach have reported similar odors.

Several residents showed up to a council meeting on Sept. 18 to request help from the city with the odor and complained of headaches, nausea and sore throats.

Huntington Beach resident Adam Plesniak started a petition to raise awareness about a year ago. He’s gathered more than 1,300 signatures.

The council also will consider approving an update to the city’s general plan, which will guide the city’s development decisions through 2040.

The council continued the item from its last meeting so City Attorney Michael Gates could look into how the plan would be affected by state Senate Bill 35, which would ease local development restrictions to encourage homebuilding.

The council did unanimously approve the associated environmental impact report.

The general plan update has been in the making since the council voted in 2013 to hire planning consulting firm Michael Baker International to assist.

The document wound its way through the Planning Commission for months and commissioners unanimously recommended it Aug. 15.

California cities are required to have general plans and update them at regular intervals. Huntington Beach’s general plan hasn’t been comprehensively updated since 1996.

The 1996 general plan forecast a total of 86,499 residential units in the city through 2040. The new update projects 85,403 units through 2040.

The update also includes a new land-use designation — research and technology — intended to help fuel job and economic growth. The designation would allow for industrial and commercial uses that aren’t accommodated in the current commercial or industrial areas.

The council meeting will be at 6 p.m. at the Civic Center Council Chambers at 2000 Main St.