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Posts Tagged ‘Shea Homes’

By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

What some people call a mere Huntington Beach bean field is actually one of California’s last remaining wetland areas, according to environmentalists and scientists for the California Coastal Commission. In either case, all the beans and much of the wetlands habitat will vanish soon due to a 5-2 city council vote on June 16 that advanced a 6-year-old proposal to build up to 170 homes on the site.

The housing tract will be located on part of a 50-acre section of land on the upper mesa of the Bolsa Chica wetlands, on an historical flood plain adjacent to a county flood control levee, south of Warner Avenue and along the west side of Graham Avenue.

Since 1971 city officials have dreamed of building homes on the site. The project is related to a larger, 30-year-old battle for 1,700-acres of threatened Bolsa Chica wetlands and habitat connected areas, 1,100 of which have been preserved but would have been replaced by now with a 5,700 home marina and other urban sprawl were it not for the efforts of local and state wetlands preservationists.

Councilmember Cathy Green, for one, has been content for years believing that the project would replace only beans, not wetlands, and that the city should keep with its past intentions. “I have always thought of it [the site] as a bean field and always thought that it was going to be developed residential,” she recalled before voting. (more…)

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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…)

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