Huntington Beach council delays approval of General Plan for future years – Orange County Register

HUNTINGTON BEACH The process of creating a 25-year update to the city’s General Plan began in March 2014. So what’s a couple of weeks more?

On Monday, Sept. 18, at the suggestion of Councilman Erik Peterson, the City Council voted unanimously to delay a decision on the document for two weeks to allow the city attorney to review items relating to housing.

The General Plan and its periodic amendments are the city’s blueprint and policy guide for future land use and development for the “approximate” 25 years. This plan is scheduled to be in effect through 2040. The current General Plan amendment was finalized in 1996.

Peterson expressed concerns about whether passage of the General Plan could trigger parts of a law working its way through state government, Senate Bill-35, meant to expedite construction of housing and spur creation of affordable housing with strong enforcement tools.

The council has staunchly reined in construction and zoning for high-density and low-income housing in recent years and is currently far short of meeting provisions for low-income housing availability.

City Attorney Michael Gates said Peterson was acting with caution. He said his office is preparing a report for the council on SB-35 in the context of the General Plan.

Among the General Plan features is a projection of a potential development to accommodate 7,228 residential units and 5.4 million square feet of nonresidential use in the coming years. About 3,100 units have already been approved, meaning growth in the city would be extremely slow if housing projections hold.

A new Research and Technology land use designation and zoning scheme were added to the plan that would apply to more than 420 acres of industrial property along Gothard Avenue and in the Northeast Industrial area. The research and technology areas are proposed to help support job growth and sustained economic vitality. They also ease zoning for existing businesses to expand.

Among the proponents of the research and technology efforts was John Scandura, a planning commissioner, who said the zoning would attract new and emerging businesses in a manner similar to efforts in the 1960s and 70s that brought in companies in the aerospace industry.

The council did pass an environmental report and a required California Environmental Quality Act statement that accompanied the latest amendment to the General Plan.

In other council news:

• The city’s two business improvement districts – the Downtown…

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