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Huntington Beach, Calif., Revitalization Includes Broadband

A recommendation to create a broadband plan as part of a larger effort to rejuvenate the city’s industrial areas is slated to go before the city council August 19 as part of a research and technology zoning amendment.

by Priscella Vega, Daily Pilot, Costa Mesa, Calif. / July 26, 2019

(TNS) — The Huntington Beach, Calif., Planning Commission on Tuesday recommended studying the possibility of adding sidewalks and creating a broadband plan as ways to revitalize the city's industrial areas.

Commissioner Dan Kalmick's suggestions will go before the City Council for consideration on Aug. 19 as part of the research and technology, or R&T, zoning amendment -- a project led by city staff and consultants to evaluate how to balance mixed-use businesses and development within Huntington Beach's Gothard Street corridor and northwestern industrial areas.

The council could adopt, amend or deny the proposals, or ask for further information.

The commission was united in supporting all of Kalmick's suggestions -- which also included reviewing the city's urban design guidelines -- with the exception of Commissioner John Scandura, who voted against the sidewalk item.

Chairman Pat Garcia recused himself from the discussion because his office is located in the Gothard Street corridor.

While he thought it was a great idea to install sidewalks in all industrial parks and settings, Scandura said the "train has left the station" in Huntington Beach. He said he didn't see a "practical or feasible way" for the proposition, or believe eminent domain would be a viable option.

Even if the city had properties install their own sidewalks, Scandura said, it could take decades until "we see a meaningful connection."

Commissioner Alan Ray said he liked the idea, but also was against using eminent domain -- the power of a governing body to take private property for public use, with compensation to the owner.

Kalmick said he at least wanted city staff to look into the proposal, or have the City Council take a position on the idea.

He also pitched creating an ad hoc committee to review policy and outline goals for broadband, technology and transportation improvements within the R&T zone. He submitted a paper outlining potential goals and policy discussions for that committee.

"There is a huge economic upside to having a city-owned fiber-optic network for businesses, including the hotels, that can service high-speed connections and eventually hit our residential neighborhoods to encourage telecommuting (which cuts down on traffic) and startups that require high bandwidth without the need for co-location or off-site data centers," Kalmick wrote. "Bringing in new types of businesses that are high paying and low impact is a primary goal of the R&T zone."

Kalmick ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the City Council in 2018 on a platform that included creating a broadband plan for the city.

©2019 Daily Pilot (Costa Mesa, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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