Council rejects RV lot project

The City Council on Monday unanimously denied a project that would have allowed an almost 400-space RV storage lot behind a senior-living mobile home park, a decision that satisfied some residents.

The council denied the Ward Garfield Specific Plan after more than two hours of public hearing.

Councilman Don Hansen said the proposal was like trying to fit a circle into a square peg.

"It's too intense a use for the neighborhood. It's too intense a use of the mobile home park," Hansen said calling for a denial of the project.

The Ward Garfield Specific Plan would have turned a portion of land owned by Southern California Edison and used by the Village Nurseries Landscape Center into a storage lot for almost 400 RVs and a rental office.

The original proposal was slated to fit 557 RVs behind Mariner's Pointe Mobile Home Park and Aragon Circle, a residential neighborhood near Yorktown Avenue and Ward Street.

The proposal, originally slated to be heard March 15, was continued three times at the applicant's request to address residents' concerns.

The proposal had been updated to maintain the nursery behind Aragon Circle to address neighbors' concerns, but Aragon Circle residents still came out to oppose the project.

"I feel that the research [Aragon Circle residents] did and the months they spent planning — we owe it all to them," said Linda Ramaglino, a resident of Mariner's Pointe.

More than 20 residents spoke out against the project, expressing concerns about fire, traffic, pollution, crime, lighting and decreased property values and quality of life.

"I feel like David facing Goliath, but I don't have a slingshot," said Lorna Randolph, a longtime resident of Mariner's Pointe, during public comment. "We are extremely concerned about the negative effects to us if this is approved."

Mariner's Pointe resident Sharon Kay said she was unsure how the council would respond to their concerns, but felt they really listened to what everyone said.

Applicant Michael Adams said he is unsure whether they his group will challenge the decision in court at this point, but thinks the residents' wishes were made clear, "so I'm sure that Edison, as the property owner, wouldn't want to take it farther than this."

The council also unanimously approved a memorandum of understanding to bring a community garden one step closer to fruition.

The proposed Huntington Beach Community Garden is a 2.5-acre site on Atlanta Avenue at the Santa Ana River. The garden will be divided into 84 15-by-20-foot leasable plots for $100 a year. The council approved the project in December.

"We just need to get this thing passed, going and make it a reality," said Councilman Joe Carchio.

Director of Community Services Jim Engle said the project still has to gain final approval from Edison and the licensing agreement has to be completed, but everything should be wrapped up in about 30 days.

Huntington Beach Community Garden President David Baronfeld spoke during public comment to urge the council to approve the memorandum. Baronfeld said 50 residents have already paid membership dues in the hopes that it will come to life.

The garden will provide the community with educational opportunities as well as a chance for those who can't afford fresh fruit and vegetables to grow their own, Baronfeld said.

The council also approved an exclusive negotiation agreement with Ayres to build a four-story hotel at Edinger Avenue and Parkside Lane.

Ayres Holdings LLP was selected to build a 79,000-square-foot, select-service hotel on an almost 2-acre lot at 7872 Edinger Ave. The hotel would have 120 rooms, dining and bar facilities, gift shop, fitness center and meeting space, along with a pool and spa.

The council agreed to wait 90 days to market the project to other developers while the fair market value of the project is determined. Ayres will submit a project description, sit plan, proposed construction schedule and economic analysis within 60 days.

The need for an additional hotel was identified in the Beach and Edinger Corridor Specific Plan.

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