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Affordable housing among topics of proposed amendments to H.B. zoning and subdivision ordinance

Huntington Beach planning commissioners Tuesday took their first look at possible updates and changes in a multiyear undertaking to amend the city’s zoning and subdivision ordinance.

The ordinance is “where rubber meets road” and “physical buildings get manifested to promote those … policies,” Community Development Director Ursula Luna-Reynosa told commissioners during a study session.

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Proposed amendments to six chapters of the ordinance include:

  • Having one or more areas for construction of affordable housing units and emergency shelters

  • Adding definitions describing assisted-living facilities

  • Clarifying parking requirements for eating and drinking establishments with 12 seats or less

  • Fixing typographical errors

Luna-Reynosa told commissioners they’re addressing “low-hanging fruit” before introducing complex items that are expected to draw a lot of public interest.

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Commissioner Dan Kalmick asked whether the proposed changes are based on city policy or direction from the City Council that hadn’t been reflected in the ordinance.

Luna-Reynosa said some changes are being introduced to help Huntington Beach get more low-income housing.

She said staff was presenting an “easy look” on the affordable housing section of the zoning code and that it would return later.

City staff also is proposing reorganizing the flow of certain applications.

When city code is “pretty clear,” applicants may be directed to the zoning administrator instead of the Planning Commission, Luna-Reynosa said. It would help cut costs for applicants, and commissioners could spend more time on policy issues, she said.

The last comprehensive zoning code update was in 1994, though various amendments have been adopted through the years, according to a staff report.

A public hearing on the proposed amendments is scheduled for Dec. 11.

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