Editor’s note: The following article is hotly disputed by Shea Homes. Spokesperson Laer Pearce explains Shea’s position in the response the follows directly at the end of this article. The Voice encourages readers to consider the views of all parties involved in this issue.
By John Earl
OC Voice Editor
One of the primary reasons the Huntington Beach City Council accepted the California Coastal Commission’s recommended modifications to the Parkside housing project on the upper mesa of the Bolsa Chica wetlands (June 16) was the developer’s promise to repair the Wintersburg flood control levee up to FEMA standards along the property’s southern border, which Shea vice president Ron Metzler and city staff repeatedly assured the city council would lead to a FEMA certification and the elimination of flood insurance for 7,000 homes located all the way to the 405 freeway and north of Edinger Avenue.
They pointed to a 2002 FEMA letter as proof that the flood map for that area would be changed after Shea’s mandated improvements are made. The letter confirmed that the improvements would lead to lower or zero flood insurance premiums for an unknown number of people.
But Bolsa Chica Land Trust director Flossie Horgan tried to tell the council about a recent request to the city by Shea Homes to “consider a design alternative that would limit the improvement of the levee along the C05 Wintersburg Channel to the developed frontage in lieu of the entire length of the property as originally required under the conditions of approval for the project,” according to a Jan. 23, 2007 letter from City Engineer Travis K. Hopkins to the Coastal Commission. (more…)