Council mulls annexing Bolsa Chica lowlands

Huntington Beach City Council members were updated last week on the feasibility of annexing the Bolsa Chica lowlands.

The city would receive about $130,000 annually from oil extraction taxes if it acquired the land. First-year revenue, however, would be offset by a one-time, $151,000 transitional cost.

City staff added that the revenue stream would decrease over time.

The city and the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) have been working to determine what needs to be done to begin the acquisition.

Staff said the Harriet Wieder Regional Park presents the city's biggest challenge in attempting to acquire about 1,500 acres off Pacific Coast Highway between Warner Avenue and Seapoint Street.

The county — which owns the 114-acre plot and operates the four-acre park — wants the city to take ownership and handle maintenance.

The maintenance of the park costs about $39,000 a year, according to city staff.

Councilman Joe Carchio, who is also LAFCO chairman, said the county would be willing to pay for five years of park maintenance.

Carchio, however, added that he would prefer that the county continue its duties indefinitely after annexation.

Other concerns include the bike trail along the East Garden Grove Wintersburg Channel, which is maintained by the county, and the parking lots and trails maintained by the state Fish and Wildlife Department.

Both the county and state would want Huntington Beach to assume maintenance duties, which the city does not want to do.

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