The Southern California Edison company wrote a letter to a Huntington Beach resident, dated May 19, saying it would go forward with an RV storage lot lease despite his concerns about fire safety.

I wrote a story earlier in the month on the fight among residents of the Aragon Circle neighborhood in the city and an entrepreneur over his proposal to turn a lot adjacent to the neighborhood — which is now home to a nursery — into a site for RV storage. Edison owns the property and is in the process of granting a lease to the entrepreneur, Doc Rivers.

Residents, including Tim Karpinski, who raised the concerns with Edison and received the letter, say the lot will impose a fire hazard and affect their quality of life.

The Huntington Beach planning commission signed off on the lease, but the City Council has the final say. The council is scheduled to discuss the matter at its June 21 meeting.

The letter did not say anything about the fire issue — only that the proposal “would not impact SCE’s ability to safely maintain and operate its transmission facilities.”

The statement reflected a theme I encountered while writing my story. Edison spokesman Steve Conroy made the same statement numerous times during a conversation I had with him. He also said that the company would “leave it to the subject matter experts” as to whether there is a fire hazard.

At least one such expert has expressed apprehension about fire safety for this kind of project.

The Los Angeles County Fire Department took “a stance that they did not want to fight fire underneath power lines and they did not want storage or buildings under power lines,” according to minutes from the Orange Planning Commission, which rejected a proposal for a lot in that city in 2008.

Conroy has yet to return phone calls for comment on the letter.

The letter was written just days before a fire at another RV lot in the city. That fire started in one RV and spread to two others. The Huntington Beach Fire Department extinguished the blaze, and nobody was hurt.


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