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Posts Tagged ‘redevelopment’

The following the first part of a series of excerpts from a wide ranging interview with Keith Bohr, the mayor of Huntington Beach, California, conducted by OC Voice editor John Earl last November.

Part One: Goals for the next year, New Urbanism and transportation.
Tomorrow: The proposed Poseidon desalination plant.

Q: Where do you want to lead the city and where do you see it going in the following year?

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California

Mayor Keith Bohr, Huntington Beach, California. Photo/OC Voice

I will preface everything by saying that I am just one of seven. I can try to steer a little bit and set some tone but I need at least three others to agree with me.

When I came on the council it was about generating revenues. Of course, you should do everything you can to keep down costs, but with my background in development and with the city in redevelopment it’s about increasing your sales tax, your bed tax from the hotels and the property tax.

That goes to projects. So you look at the Strand [hotel]finishing here [in downtown] … You’re going to have the new retail stores. In the spring you will have the Strand Hotel, The TOT (transient occupancy or “bed” tax) to go along with the rest of the hotels that are operating now. [Get] Pacific City started again. You have 517 condos and the hotel, which is about 250 rooms, and the retail that goes along with that and restaurants.

Bella Terra Phase I has been completed since I’ve been on the council; we just approved Phase II, which they’re calling the Village at Bella Terra, which will be 700 units and about 140,000 square feet of retail.

We’re hoping to provide all the opportunities we can for people, including myself and my wife not to shop at Westminster Mall and South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island. So the more we do that the more we capture those tens of millions of dollars that leak out of Huntington Beach every year. And the extent that we can [we want to] provide something that nobody else has and that makes them come down to Huntington Beach and spend money. (more…)

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By John Earl
OC Voice

Courtesy Susan Worthy

ORIGINAL OWNERS: Charles Letterman and wife, Allie, with their two children, Gladys and Claude, standing in front of their downtown Huntington Beach home about 1901. Photo: Courtesy Susan Worthy

SUSAN WORTHY and her husband, Guy Guzardo, had been trying for decades to save and restore their small two-story, eastern-style, cottage and its accompanying large commercial building, both located at the corner of 6th and Walnut streets in downtown Huntington Beach. After years of fighting redevelopment politics and searching for funding, they began a full restoration of the two buildings about a year ago.

H.B. residents might appreciate their perseverance because the structures are extraordinary and vital to understanding the city’s history. The 1200 square foot house and the 5,000 square foot commercial building date prior to 1904, the year that electricity first came to the city and it officially took the name Huntington Beach.

Both buildings are in the National Register of Historical Places because they retain their original materials and structure (the Newland home is the city’s only other un-remodeled historical structure) and due to their direct connection to two of the city’s founding settlers-Matthew and Mollie Helme, Susan’s great grandparents.

“There’s nothing that looks like it in all of southern California,” Worthy says. Although small, the home started out with four bedrooms and an outside bathroom. In 1907 walls were knocked down to create two bedrooms. Today, one of those rooms is the bathroom, leaving only one bedroom. (more…)

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Editor’s note: Late Monday night the Huntington Beach City Council passed the Ripcurl project with modifications, including a 385 unit limit as proposed by city staff for the 3.8 acre site, with 50 percent on site affordable housing provided for moderate income levels (50 percent low income housing provided off site) and improved pedestrian walkways. The vote was 6-1 with Councilmember Jill Hardy voting no. The OC Voice will publish more details soon on this blog and in its next print edition on Nov. 24.

By Thu-Trang Tran
OC Voice Staff Writer
(Nov. 10, 2008 at 4 p.m.)

Ripcurl could become Surf City's first development guided by the hand of God.

With Him in charge, how bad could it be?

Jesus may have been a carpenter, but would he build a “green” high-density and mixed-use development of luxury apartments and hep boutiques on Gothard Avenue and Center Street across from Golden West College?

Red Oak Investments, seeking “To serve God in the marketplace,” according to company literature, will ask the Huntington Beach City Council tonight for permission to build the project, which it calls Ripcurl, heralding a radical new approach toward redevelopment in the city.

Ripcurl was previously approved by the planning commission but with 87 apartment units per acre on the 3.8-acre property, or 330 units total. Red Oaks wants 440 units per acre. Residential density is typically 15 units per acre but often goes over 35 units and sometimes as high as 50 units per acre at specific locations throughout the city.

The strongest advocates of change that Ripcurl represents are city planners and developers. They have been swept away by the “green” philosophy of New Urbanism, a more centralized approach to community planing that allows much higher population densities and mixes commercial with residential living in order to save space and cut down on automobile commutes. (more…)

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