Residents present their wish lists

Concerns about density, infrastructure for bicyclists and the planned desalination plant were among the topics posed by residents at the Community Vision meeting held March 27 at the Huntington Beach Central Library.

About 30 residents participated in live polling regarding what they like about the city and what they would change over the next 15 to 20 years. Another group was polled March 22.

"This forms the basis of the vision, which is the real foundation of the general plan," said Jeff Henderson, managing director of the planning consultant firm PMC.

Henderson said that the ideas brought up at both meetings will be compiled into one document and posted online, where the public can comment further.

"That helps us tailor it to what ultimately the general plan needs to express," he said.

Some ideas, including resident Jim Kirk's suggestion to use the main channel of Huntington Harbour as a landing strip for seaplanes, were more ambitious than others.

"I don't know why we can't put a rotorcraft down on the water there," the 80-year-old said. "It only takes about 30 feet to put a rotorcraft down."

Resident Roger Quintal suggested remaking the Santa Ana River area to be more reminiscent of a park.

He also favors the planned desalination plant.

"You're going to create more environmental problems by sending a lot of water down here from the Central Valley," he said. "And now we have a drought, so it even makes it much more advantageous for us to build something like that."

He would also like the city to focus on building infrastructure for bicycle use. The City Council voted in November to adopt its first bicycle master plan, which city planners will use as a framework for new bike lanes.

Density was a major concern for Quintal, 65, and many others at the meeting. He is worried about an increase in high-rise condominiums and apartments.

"Any time there's a high-density area, you create problems, such as a high crime rate and all that," he said. "All these places become dumps and terrible places to live."

Mary Jane Higby, 76, would like the city to "keep it low key and just ramp everything down."

Higby, who has lived in Huntington Beach for more than 10 years, wants the city to revert to when it was slower-paced.

"They need to make it still feel like a family city," she said. "When you [build high condominiums] it's very distracting."

Residents can visit for the latest updates on the general plan process.

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World