Schools, city revisit plans for LeBard Park

The Huntington Beach City School District and the City Council on Monday discussed plans to construct homes near LeBard Park off Brookhurst Street and Indianapolis Avenue.

Supt. Gregg Haulk told council members that the district favors a proposal to build 25 homes on what is the current site of the district office, at 20451 Craimer Lane. Plans include rebuilding the Little League baseball fields and constructing new permanent restroom facilities, storage areas and a snack bar.

The land is owned by three parties. Ten acres are owned by the school district. The city owns the adjoining 3-acre neighborhood park. Next to that is 2 acres of Southern California Edison land.

The prospect of building homes on the property has been floating around for years. The district initially proposed that 30 units be constructed in the area, but the idea was met with anger from residents who said increased traffic would hurt the neighborhood.

Critics have also opposed any park development on the 2-acre portion of the parcel owned by Southern California Edison, citing safety reasons.

Another option was to build 15 homes in place of the existing building, but make no changes to the park or baseball fields.

Ed Kerins, a former Huntington Beach planning commissioner and resident of the Meredith Gardens community, north of LeBard Park, said he would support development but only if the district considers the plan for 15 homes.

"We'd like to have sufficient parking or uses for the open space," he said. "We'd like to have no increase in traffic volume, and we would like to preserve LeBard Park as it exists."

District Board of Trustees President Celia Jaffe said any of the three plans would benefit the city, residents and school district to some degree, but suggested that the 25-lot proposal would make the most sense.

"It doesn't require a large investment from the city," she said. "It keeps the tennis courts and tot lots exactly where it is, untouched, so any concerns anyone has about things moving near the power lines, none of these plans have playgrounds under the power lines in any way."

Jaffe added that the city would get 5.1 acres of open space as well as control over the baseball fields and park. The district would also transfer $1.1 million to the city.

Haulk said Tuesday that the earliest the board could vote on the matter would be January, but he expects the decision to come sometime later next year.

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