Saturday, August 05, 2006

Saving What’s Left of the Real Huntington Beach

Yes, I was disappointed when the Huntington Beach Planning Commission rejected a proposed overlay zone in the Main and Crest area of Wesley Park. But I’m not sure that was the only solution anyway.

The road to preservation (and the abatement of mini-mansionization) lies down the path of historical districts, education, and a city-wide effort to preserve what remains of our historical and cultural resources.

These efforts should, in most cases, use the carrot rather than the stick. Adoption of the Mills Act would be a big step in the right direction. It offers property taxes breaks for homeowners who restore and preserve historic properties.

Need an example of how these programs can be win-win for everyone? Look at what the City of Anaheim has done with the Mills Act and their two (soon to be three) historic districts. If you haven’t driven around the old Colony area (around Pearson Park) in the past ten years, you owe it to yourself. The restored historic homes are the pride of the city, the neighborhood is vastly improved, and property values have skyrocketed – even by Orange County standards.

The conversion of H.B.'s pleasant and historic downtown into a high-density and mini-mansion-ized mess is nearly complete. If ANY historic structures are to be saved, the time to act is now.

Links:
Mills Act Information (State of California)
PDF with more Mills Act information (State of California)
What is the Mills Act? (Anaheim Colony)
Mills Act article (O.C. Register, 1998)

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