The CCC unanimously approved 45 modifications to the City of HB Updated Downtown Specific Plan (DTSP) on June 15, 2011. These were significant changes to the proposed density, parking program, beach/pier access and visitor-servicing commercial uses. HB Neighbors considers this a major win over the City’s efforts to develop a massive urban center and abolish Downtown’s “Village Concept”. The city disagreed with these issues and was only able to lobby for a few minor changes.
HB Neighbors’ Board view nearly all of the forty-five CCC-required changes to the DTSP as significant improvements to the benefit of DT residents, with two significant exceptions. The HB City Council is required to adopt all forty-five changes approved by the CCC in order to have the DTSP certified by the CCC. Without the CCC certification, the DTSP will not go into effect.
MAJOR BENEFICIAL CCC REQUIRED CHANGES TO THE DTSP
Instead of approving the 400,000 sq ft of new commercial development in the downtown core, the CCC only approved 150,000 sq ft at this time. This is a 63% decrease in the density requested.
Instead of allowing future development of Triangle Park and the historic Main Street Library, the CCC required a new zone be created for the site that restricts the development of the open space, and that preserves the historic character of the building.
Instead of allowing the City to abandon the existing Downtown Parking Master Plan (DPMP), the CCC required that the City continue to maintain a detailed parking plan that tracks each spot so as to ensure that off site parking spots cannot be counted more than once when allocating them to specific development projects.
Instead of allowing the City to simply list parking solutions in their “tool box”, the CCC is instituting triggers that require the implementation of parking solutions once the trigger indicates that the need exists.
Instead of allowing the City to remove parking spots, such as has been proposed on Main and 5th Streets, the CCC requires that the City replace any removed parking spots on a one-for-one basis, and the City cannot use the in-lieu parking program to postpone the replacement.
MAJOR HARMFUL CCC REQUIRED CHANGES TO THE DTSP
The CCC has required that no establishment of preferential parking districts in the coastal zone be allowed. This requirement means that a residential permit parking program in the coastal zone might be much more difficult to implement, if it can be implemented at all, if these CCC changes are adopted by the City Council.
The second change that HB Neighbors does not feel is to the benefit of either DT residents or HB taxpayers is the requirement to keep the beaches, pier, beach parking lots, and associated amenities open 24/7.
The City of HB has had a beach curfew in place for over 30 years, before the formation of the CCC. Thus, the beach curfew has been grandfathered in and allowed. If the City gives up the right to close the beaches, as a condition of approving the DTSP, the City can never get this right back.
Since the Updated DTSP also included the City beach and pier districts the CCC has required these areas be open at all times. This would create major police and safety issues especially now with up to 3,000 people being emptied onto Main Streetat late night bar closing times. The City would experience major increases in police cost to patrol beaches, pier, and City parking lots.
HB taxpayers need to insist, before the City Council approves the CCC changes, that the City must first complete and make public a long-term cost study. This study should analyze the costs of the increased public safety and other resources, liability risks, and insurance that will be needed to keep the beaches open 24/7.
For a detailed analysis of the 45 modifications to the Updated DTSP keep reading……
HB Neighbors board members spoke in opposition to the CCC Suggested Modifications to the DTSP. While we are encouraged by the CCC approved lower density, more restrictive parking program and other changes, we also wrote to the CCC and spoke in opposition to the City having to give up its right to close the beach, pier, beach parking lots, and beach amenities after 10 pm (Beach Curfew). We listened at the hearing to the CCC state that they would work with the City of HB to address city concerns relating to nighttime beach issues. While this sounded positive to us, the Modifications the CCC are seeking are quite clear and explicit (see below). The City will forfeit its grandfathered curfew rights, the CCC may grant a coastal development permit to limit some night access, but this is a short term agreement and will be “reassessed periodically”.
The city ofHB DTSPwas requesting to allow 400,000 SF of new commercial development and the CCC has only agreed to allow 150,000 SF. Pg. 4, Pg 13. This is a reduction of 63% in development. To seek approval for the additional 250,000SF the city is required to complete a cumulative parking analysis, address inadequate parking with funding, amend the DTSP, and seek CCC through a Local Coastal Program Amendment.
The CCC also requires that new development proposals shall include a Public View Analysis. Pg. 20, Pg. 22, Pg. 26, Pg. 61
The CCC also strengthens the Public Open Space requirements Pg. 21, Pg. 22, Pg. 25 and Recreational Facilities as permitted uses Pg. 23.
The Downtown area did not require a new DTSP to allow new development according to the CCC. “It should be noted that some of that 400,000 sq. ft. of development would have been allowed under the currently certified DSP in the area outside the 42 acre DPMP area because the 715,000 square foot development threshold did not apply beyond the DPMP area.” Pg. 34.
The Updated DTSP discuss alternative transportation methods as an alternative to adding more parking supply, but there is no trigger to implement them. “As proposed, the alternate transportation methods are identified and their benefits described, but there is no trigger that would actually cause them to be implemented. This, development, with its related impacts to public access, would be allowed while the measures necessary to off-set the impacts may not be implemented. Pg. 4. “Upon completion of construction of up to a maximum of 150,000 square feet of net new commercial development in District 1, the City shall conduct a cumulative parking analysis…” Pg. 13.
“The recommendations of the parking analysis shall be implemented through a Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA) processed in conjunction with an amendment to the Downtown Specific Plan. Future development shall not proceed until resolution of the measures contained in the LCPA is final.” Pg. 14. If the City removes any parking spaces it must be replaced on a one-for-one basis and the City cannot use the in lieu parking program. Pg.15 “Establishment of new preferential parking districts in the coastal zone shall be prohibited.” Pg.17. The CCC is requiring a new parking requirement “For project with 10,000 square feet or more of net new commercial development that do not propose to provide 100 percent of the required parking on-site, a parking management plan shall be submitted. The parking management plan shall identify for implementation one, all, or a combination of the following parking strategies:” Pg. 17-18. These are parking triggers the CCC has now placed on the DTSP.
The parking in-lieu program requires a tracking program. Pg.47, Pg. 56.
The shared Parking Agreements “Shall be tracked by the City ofHuntington Beachin order to avoid “double counting of parking spaces.” Pg. 19, Pg.48, Pg. 57.
The Updated DTSP will terminate the successful DPMP that was based upon “The amount of parking available in a area-wide parking pool. Instead, new development would be required to provide the required parking spaces…” Pg. 35.
Beach Curfews Issues From the CCC Staff Report
Below are excerpts from the CCC Staff Report pertaining to the Beach Curfew. These excerpts are arranged by page numbers. The Modifications will be inserted into the DTSP and the agreement between the CCC and the City of HB.
This will be a long-term agreement and regulated by future HB CC and CCC. It is troubling how the City will be able to police and maintain the coastal area between 10 pm and 5 am. We are neighbors and not land use attorneys schooled in CCC issues. We may not be understanding all the Curfew issues and regulations. We are requesting the City to assist us in our analysis pertaining to the Beach Curfew.
“It is important to make clear that access to State tidelands, submerged lands and public trust lands, including the area seaward of the mean high tide line, cannot be limited. This includes access to the portions of the pier that extends over State tidelands.” Pg. 6.
Modification No. 35 to the DTSP relating to District 6- Pier-Related Commercial States: “This district is intended to insure that the majority of the pier will remain open and accessible to the public at all times at no charge for strolling, fishing, and/or observation. Pg. 24.
Modification No. 38 to the DTSP states: “Any public pier curfews/closure cannot apply to any portion of the pier which is over State tidelands and within the Coastal Commission area of original jurisdiction.” Pg. 25.
“Measures that limit public use of the pier shall be limited to those necessary to address documented public safety events that cause a risk or hazard to the general public and shall be the minimum necessary to address the risk or hazard to the general public. The need for continuation of safety measures that limit public access shall be reassessed on a periodic basis to assure maximum public access is provided.” See Pg. 26
Modification No. 41 to the DTSP states: Section 220.127.116.11 Public Access “A public beach closure/curfew cannot apply to the area of Coastal Commission original jurisdiction (State tidelands, submerged lands and public trust lands) including but not necessarily limited to the area seaward of the mean high tide line. Public access to the water’s edge and at least 20 feet inland shall be permitted at all times. Closure to public use of any portion of the beach inland of the mean high tide line is not encouraged and requires a coastal development permit which must maintain the public’s right to gain access to State tidelands. Measures that limit public use of the beach shall be limited to those necessary to address documented public safety events that cause a risk or hazard to the general public and shall be the minimum necessary to address the potential risk or hazard to the general public. The need for continuation of safety measures that limit public access shall be reassessed on a periodic basis to assure maximum public access is provided.” Pg. 27
“All beach amenities available to the general public on the City’s public beaches (including those owned and operated by the City and the State) shall be available to all members of the general public on an equal basis.” Pg. 27
“As such, these districts present and excellent opportunity to address the question of beach closure or curfew. It is important to note that City of Huntington Beach Ordinance No. 861 (see exhibit I), adopted on August7, 1961, approved a beach curfew on the City beach precluding public use of the beach between the hours of 12:01a.m. and 5:00 am Additionally, City of Huntington Beach Ordinance No. 1743 (see exhibit J), adopted April 17, 1972, limits (among other things) the hours of operation of the City’s beach parking lots to from 5;00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight. Thus, both of these ordinances took effect prior to the effective of the Coastal Zone Conservation Act of 1972 (aka Proposition 20, “the Coastal Initiative) which became effective on February 1, 1973.” Pg 49
“Nevertheless, it is important to make clear that access to State tidelands, submerged lands and public trust lands, including the area seaward of the mean high tide line cannot be limited. This includes access to the portion of the pier that extends over State tidelands. Limits on the use of the beach and parking areas inland of the state tidelands areas should also be minimized. Further restrictions on the City’s sandy beach and parking areas are discouraged.” Pg. 49 and Pg. 50
Visitor Servicing Commercial Uses
There were three significant issues relating to visitor-serving uses that the CCC modified or added to the DTSP.
1.) The city was proposing only a portion of the ground floor area be devoted to visitor-servicing commercial uses where the CCC Modification No. 22 requires the entire ground floor level be devoted to visitor-servicing commercial uses. Pg. 20.
2.) Modification No. 22 also reduced the area of visitor-servicing commercial uses alongMain Street, between PCH and Orange Ave. Pg. 20 and Pg. 69. Unlike the HB City Council, the CCC recognized a need for neighborhood commercial uses north ofOrange Avenue.
3.) Modification No. 25 “Public open space and pedestrian access shall be required for development projects in order to assure a predominately visitor-servicing, pedestrian orientation.” Pg. 21
Library and Triangle Park
“The proposed LUP amendment would revise Subarea 1D to separate out a new Subarea 1E Main Street Library.” Pg. 29
“Uses proposed to be allowed within Subarea 1E are: Public and Open Space uses including cultural and civic uses, and open space. Proposed subaera 1E also includes a requirement for the provision of open space areas and the preservation of historical structures.” Pg. 29 and Pg 40
HBN Board Member