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Planners to keep businesses out of 3 neighborhoods

Tariq Malik

HUNTINGTON BEACH -- Property owners and residents in three

neighborhoods can rest easy knowing that businesses should stay out of

their communities.

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The city’s Planning Commission unanimously denied a series of zoning

changes last week that would designate several residential areas for

commercial land use.

The decision affects 90 properties between Aldrich and Alhambra

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avenues, east of Beach Boulevard; 20 residential structures between

Warner Avenue and Blaylock Drive, and A and B streets; and 10 dwellings

along Moonshadow Circle.

“This is our affordable housing stock,” Planning Commissioner Connie

Mandic said, adding that the city’s low-priced housing is in short

supply. “And here we’re considering eliminating it.”

Ricky Ramos, associate planner for the city, said the zoning changes

were suggested because of amendments to the Huntington Beach general plan

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four years ago, which changed land use designations for 97 areas around

town. As a result, many properties had zoning designations that were

inconsistent with those in the general plan, he added.

The zone amendments would iron out those inconsistencies, but they

would also label any residential property in the commercial areas as

nonconforming land uses.

“No one wants to take on the hazards of a nonconforming property,”

said Jeff Lang, who owns an apartment complex on Moonshadow Circle. “We

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wouldn’t be able to attract future buyers, and I think it would impact

Huntington Beach negatively.”

Commissioners added during the Sept. 26 meeting that nonconforming

land use could also block home improvement loan approvals for some

residents.

“This area may all be commercial in 100 years, but now it’s affordable

housing, and if the general plan says it should be changed, then the

general plan is wrong,” said Tom Livengood, a planning commissioner who

received whispers of approval from the meeting’s audience.

Livengood and other commissioners agreed to recommend that the City

Council amend the general plan and set the three neighborhoods in

question under a residential land use title.

The commissioners, however, did approve zoning changes for 13.8 acres

occupied by the Huntington Beach Hospital and Medical Center, as well as

for an automotive business in the 700 block of Yorktown Avenue. Zone

discussions for a third lot, on the northeast corner of Elm Street and

Cypress Avenue, were continued to the commission’s Oct. 10 meeting

because of parking issues.


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