As has been reported, Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson's announced that he would like to house homeless individuals in tent cities, with specific reference to the closed Gothard Street Landfill located in Huntington Beach adjacent to Central Park.
First, the City is opposed to housing homeless individuals in such a fashion on the former landfill property. The City was only made aware of Supervisor Shawn Nelson's statement after it was made and so we have not been able to fully detail the reasons why Supervisor Nelson's direction to County staff is absolutely wrong.
The City has made great progress in working with a growing homeless population - a problem that is not limited to the City, but is in fact a problem for the entire county, state, and nation. The City dedicates many resources to overcome this growing problem. During 2016, our team had over 900 contacts, assisted 292 individuals, housed 64 homeless persons, and relocated 31 willing persons.
The ability of the County to force the City to host a tent city on the former landfill site is problematic. This site, located adjacent to Central Park, is zoned as open space and currently has environmentally sensitive coastal sage scrub over the majority of the site. Additionally, there is active methane monitoring as part of the closure of the landfill. The environmental process for these issues alone, not to include the need to change the zoning, provides the City many months to have a better dialogue with the County over the homeless issue.
Your comments on this situation are greatly appreciated and needed. We also urge you to contact Supervisor Shawn Nelson at (714) 834-3440 and Chairwoman Michelle Steele at (714) 834-3220. As the City gets more information from the County and better understands Supervisor Nelson's proposal, we will make sure to keep our residents informed.
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