Monday, August 26, 2013

The ongoing effort to save Historic Wintersburg

The Furuta bungalow, lined with a beautifully trimmed hedgerow, August 2001. (Photo courtesy of the Furuta family)

*NEW* Tentative City Council hearing: October 7.

   On August 13, the Huntington Beach Planning Commission voted 4 -3 to certify the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  The Commission then voted 5 - 2 to approve the General Plan Amendment and Zoning Map Amendment (ZMA, re-zoning) of Historic Wintersburg property to commercial / industrial.

    The Planning Commission denied, 4 - 3, the Statement of Overriding Consideration (the action that would allow demolition).

   The actions were subject to a ten-day appeal period.  As of last week, all three actions were appealed.

   The Ocean View School District appealed the certification of the EIR and the action to rezone the property, due to their concern about increasing industrial uses adjacent to the Oak View Elementary School.  

Ocean View Grammar School, circa 1926, included some of Huntington Beach's founding families.  In this photograph are Frank McIntosh (#7), Harley Asari (#10)--the son of Wintersburg goldfish farmer Tsurumatsu "T.M." Asari--Juanita Gothard (#5), Sumi Akiyama (#25)--daughter of Wintersburg goldfish farmers Henry and Masuko Akiyama--Toshiko Furuta (#31), and Lily Kikuchi (#33).  Children walked through the farmland to go to school every day. (Photo courtesy of Douglas McIntosh)

   The original Ocean View Grammar School was located at the southwest corner of Stanton (Beach) Boulevard and Wintersburg (Warner) Avenue, and the children of the former Wintersburg Village attended the school.  The present-day Oak View Elementary School is immediately adjacent to the south end of the Furuta farm across Belsito Drive.

Oak View Elementary School is located just south of Belsito Drive, at the bottom of this aerial photograph from the Warner-Nichols project draft Environmental Impact Report.

Portion of letter submitted on behalf of Ocean View School District at the August 13, 2013, Huntington Beach Planning Commission. (Click on image to enlarge.)

   As of Friday, August 23, 2013, the action on the Statement of Overriding Consideration (SOC) was appealed by City Councilman Matt Harper.

Excerpt from interoffice memorandum appealing the Statement of Overriding Consideration by Councilman Matt Harper.

   These actions mean the entirety of the EIR package, including the GPA, ZMA and SOC (including the proposal for demolition) will go before the Huntington Beach City Council for review.  Issues such as re-zoning impacts, analysis of project alternatives and justification of demolition will be reviewed again.

   The current information from City staff is that this meeting may be held in October (*New* tentatively Monday, October 7).  Continued support for the preservation of Historic Wintersburg will be  needed.

   More information regarding the upcoming City Council review will be posted as available.

WATCH: the full Planning Commission meeting on the Historic Wintersburg Youtube Channel

   Thank you again to all the supporters who came forward to speak.  We will continue our effort to save Historic Wintersburg!

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The Historic Wintersburg blog focuses on an overlooked history in Huntington Beach, Orange County, California, in the interest of saving a historic property from demolition. The author and publisher reserves the right not to publish comments. Please no promotional or political commentary. Zero tolerance for hate rhetoric. Comments with embedded commercial / advertising links or promoting other projects, books, or publications may not be published. If you have an interesting anecdote, question or comment about one of our features, it will be published.