By Ed Kerins
The Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the Murdy Commons mixed-use project, at Edinger and Gothard, EIR and site plan on Feb. 8. Comments on the Beach-Warner mixed-use project EIR are due by Feb. 22.
The levels of development intensity fall within the approved Beach-Edinger Corridor Specific Plan (BECSP) provisions and are acceptable to Huntington Beach Tomorrow if traffic-mitigating measures are implemented.
My review and experience as a former planning commissioner tells me the EIRs will be and should be certified as adequate. Experience also tells me the planning commission will also approve the project entitlements (site plan or conditional use permit), but without the conditions of approval that will ensure the traffic mitigation measures called for in the approved Beach-Edinger Corridor Specific Plan EIR are implemented.
Some traffic mitigation measures call for the taking of private property to install additional turn lanes at various intersections. The city has never taken property to install required traffic improvements and is unlikely to ever do so.
Other mitigation measures call for Caltrans to make improvements at Beach and the 405. The history of Caltrans implementing traffic improvements desired by the city of Huntington Beach is dismal. Project approval requires an applicant’s fair-share contribution to an improvement fund. There are no assurances or provisions that this will be done.
Even with mitigating measures implemented, the Beach-Edinger Corridor projects still have significant and unavoidable impacts that required the city council to issue a statement of overriding considerations.
The public will be best served and gridlock minimized if conditions of approval state which specific traffic mitigation measures must be authorized, funded and scheduled by the appropriate government agency before building permits are issued.