Please join us for the Downtown Task Force meeting on THURSDAY, December 5th, 5:30, at the Main Street Library. The major agenda items are Public Safety and the Priority of Issues going forward for future meetings. We hope to see you there.
Please join us for a celebration for the National Register of Historic Places listing of the Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle Park. This event is open to the public, and we encourage all of our members to attend.
The ceremony will be on Saturday, November 23rd, at 10:00 AM, at the corner of Main and 6th Streets. Mayor Connie Boardman will officiate the dedication of a new park monument sign and three historic plaques for Triangle Park and the Main Street Library. As you might know, Huntington Beach Neighbors succeeded this past April in getting the library and park listed on the National Register.
Our years’ long effort on this nomination and listing has been one of our group’s major accomplishments to date. We appreciate the support we received from all of our members, and from Mayor Boardman, the entire City Council, the Historic Resources Board, the Library Board, and countless other City groups, leaders, and residents. And in 2009, nearly 7,000 Huntington Beach residents, through an all-volunteer campaign, signed a petition to preserve the Main Street Library and Triangle Park.
This property is only the fourth National Register listing in all of Huntington Beach. Our listing was the first one in the City in almost 20 years, since 1994 for the City Gym at the historic Dwyer Middle School, completed by the Founding Chair of the Historic Resources Board, Barbara Milkovich.
We look forward to seeing you on the 23rd. Thank you again for your support for the historic preservation of the 60-year-old Main Street Library and its surrounding 100-year-old Triangle Park. Without your help, these important testaments to our City’s proud history might have been lost forever.
At the October 24, 2013 DTTF meeting there were a total of six agenda items discussed to include:
1) Establish a uniform dress code for downtown private security personnel in District 1.
2) Establish private security for the downtown parking facilities in District 1 along with notification of this to the general public and to the downtown late night patrons.
3) Establish free parking in the downtown public parking structure for downtown late night employees.
4) Expand the downtown surveillance camera program to cover all of District 1 along with notification of this to the general public and to the downtown late night patrons.
5) Extend the Task Force meetings from 90 minutes to 120 minutes to include 15 minutes of public comments (1 minute time limit) at the end of each meeting followed by 15 minutes of Task Force comments.
6) Consider modifications to City Council resolution 2013-24 along with adding 2013-24 as a Zoning Text Amendment to the DTSP.
The Task Force expressed some support for items 2 – 3 but the minutes coming out next week will confirm that. Item 5 was approved at the meeting and will allow the community more input at DTTF meetings. The DTTF agreed to take up Item 6 at its next meeting. This resolution applies to new conditional use permits for alcohol service at restaurants in the Main Street area of Downtown, called District 1 under the Downtown Specific Plan (DTSP).
In other news, at their October 21, 2013 meeting, the City Council approved an amendment to the DTSP, so as to cap the number of alcohol licenses in District 1 at its current level for “off-sale” outlets. This was a major victory to finally be able to stop the increase of some types of alcohol selling establishments in downtown. These apply to new liquor stores and convenience stores e.g. places like the new 7-Eleven Downtown on Main Street, which currently does not have an alcohol license, thanks to our efforts to curb alcohol sales in downtown. The ruling will be official in about three months after approval from the California Coastal Commission. Then it will become part of the DTSP with no variances and no exceptions permitted.
Mayor Boardman mentioned during the deliberations, that the DTTF supported this proposal along with another proposal to cap “on-sale” alcohol licenses as well, which include restaurants and bars. Mayor Boardman indicated she will bring the on-sale proposal forward to the City Council too which would cap the number of on-site alcohol selling establishments too. This would mean that if a new restaurant wants to open Downtown, they can purchase an existing alcohol license as there was consent that we already have enough restaurants downtown but we need a better mix of establishments that support a more diversified downtown. We’re grateful to Mayor Boardman and the rest of the City Council (except for councilmember Harper who dissented) who voted to support the HB residents instead of the alcohol selling establishments as we have enough alcohol being sold in downtown presently.
Please consider coming to support YOUR downtown at the DTTF. The next meeting will be on a Wednesday night though, instead of every other Thursday, due to a one time schedule change, so we hope to see you on November 13th at the library. See you November 13th at the library at 5:30pm!”
Thursday September 12th, there is a Downtown Task Force to address many of the Downtown Issues.The meeting starts at 5:30pm at the Main Street Library. We encourage everyone to attend.
Based upon our Open Meeting on August 7, 2013, input from our neighbors, and our experience with various government entities (1), HB Neighbors suggest the HB Downtown Task Force consider the following strategies or tools to better manage the Downtown Huntington Beach alcohol problems:
1) Stiffen the Entertainment Permits- Once a bar or restaurant receives a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) from the City of HB and an Alcohol license from ABC, that location retains the right to serve food and alcohol. Those rights can be transferred to new bar owners with limited input from the City of HB. However, most of the Downtown HB bars also have Entertainment Permits (EP) issued annually by the city and enforced by the HB Chief of Police. This tool has been used a few times in recent years to reprimand poor bar operations. The City of HB should much more strictly regulate these Entertainment Permits so the HB Police has more control over the bar’s late night operations. Our neighboring beach city, Newport Beach has been effectively using this tool.
2) Track Each Bar’s Alcohol Crime- The HB Police Department should annually track the alcohol related crimes (DUIs, ABC infractions, etc.) that are associated with each HB Downtown Bar. HBPD should limit the Bar’s Entertainment Permit if they are generating an undue level of alcohol related crimes. HBPD should post to the public the guidelines of enforcement and the crimes upon conviction. Most Downtown Bars are equipped with video surveillance that will protect responsible and well operated bars.
3) Expand Late Night Bar Rules- The City of HB has recently established bar rules for late night operations including single alcohol servings only prior to closing and no late night drink specials. These rules need to be expanded with more enforcement tools.
4) Expand Private Security- Some of the larger Downtown commercial property owners should provide more security commensurate with the number of alcohol serving tenants within their buildings. If a property owner chooses to lease to more than two bars or liquor stores, they should provide Private Security after 8pm. The more alcohol serving tenants the property owner chooses to lease to, the more private security they should provide. This private security should be patrolling outside of the bars and be of additional assistance (and set of eyes) for HBPD. This strategy is not calling for another Bar Bouncer but a trained uniformed security officer equipped with a radio. Some property owners already provide late night Private Security. This strategy seems fair and equitable. As an example, at the intersection of Main Street and PCH are two large properties. One has four large bars (seeking a 5th license) and the other corner, Jack’s has no bars or liquor stores. The Landlord that chooses to contribute to the alcohol issues in Downtown HB should also contribute to the security of the sidewalks adjoining their property. We understand downtown Fullerton utilizes this strategy.
5) More Police Presence and Enforcement- The City of Huntington Beach chose to increase from three to forty-one the number of bars in Downtown since the days of the Golden Bear so they could generate more sales tax, but they have not expanded the number of Police Officers patrolling Downtown during busy weekends. We commend the job Chief Small and his officers have been doing, but they need more officers. The lack of HBPD officers and Private Security on the third block of Main Street led to the July 28, 2013 riot. At random weekend nights, the HBPD needs to have a dedicated team to enforce drinking and late night partying in the residential neighborhoods adjoining Downtown. Many of the bar patrons regularly party at their cars because there are not adequate police resources to respond to residents’ complaints. The city generates a lot of sales tax from the bars and restaurants, and now they need to adequately protect the residents, tourists and retail employees.
6) More Video Surveillance- Just weeks before the July 28th riot, the HB City Council appropriated funds to install a limited Video Surveillance System on the Downtown streets The system was not operational on July 28th. This system needs to be expanded prior to next summer. Also, most of the Downtown bars have video surveillance. If a Downtown bar wants the right to serve alcohol and provide entertainment with an Entertainment Permit, they need to install an adequate Video Surveillance System.
7) Maintain a list of Downtown Bars and Capacities- In 2011, HB Neighbors created a list of all Downtown alcohol serving “on-sale” establishments, capacities, hours of operation, and Entertainment Permits. Up until that time, the City of Huntington Beach and ABC did not know how many bar customers were spilling into the streets at closing time. HB Neighbors created this list as a tool for governing officials and the HBPD. If the city is finally going to address the alcohol issues, they need to know the cumulative effects of each additional alcohol license they keep adding or expanding. The city staff should maintain this list, expand it, incorporate it when writing staff reports, and use it as a tool when making decisions concerning Downtown alcohol establishments. By the way, HB Neighbors was the first to identify that Downtown Huntington Beach has one of the highest concentrations of alcohol licenses in California. Police Chief Ken Small has recently been repeating this statement. Within Downtown, there are 41 bar/restaurants with a total capacity of over 6,300 patrons. For the entire State of California, we challenge anyone to find a higher concentration of alcohol licenses than what we have within a two-block radius, from the intersection of Main and Walnut.
8) Create a New CUP for future Restaurants- One of the contributing issues creating the current Downtown problems is a term HB Neighbors coined “License Creep”. This is where a nice little sandwich shop requests a alcohol license so they can help their sales by offering beer and wine, closing by 9pm. A new owner expands the license to include liquor, their operating hours, and obtains an Entertainment Permit. An example of this is Deville. This License Creep happens in many cities. HB Neighbors is not opposed to restaurants operated by responsible owners. The County of Ventura created a model Conditional Use Permit (CUP) to prevent License Creep. The City of HB needs to stiffen their CUPs to prevent License Creep.
9) Limit the Sale of One Ounce Liquor Bottles- There are a number of Downtown liquor stores that sell one ounce liquor bottles. Many of these bottles are consumed by customers that later are in bars to get around the rules of the bars. These small liquor bottles should be banned from Downtown Liquor stores.
10) Town Hall Meeting- Conduct a town hall meeting Downtown with a panel of officials explaining the permitting process and enforcement with California ABC, HB Planning Department granting CUPs, and the enforcement and resources by HBPD.
HB Neighbors is suggesting solutions to improve our Downtown Neighborhood. We did not orginate many of these tools. HB Neighbors thought this was a good summary of stategies that have been used or discussed. We refer to this list as the HBN Tool Box.
(1)These include the City of Huntington Beach, California Coastal Commission, California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), California Office of Historic Preservation and the HB Police Dept.
On August 7th HB Neighbors had a meeting at Lake Park Picnic area that was open to anyone who wanted to discuss the issues currently challenging Downtown Huntington Beach. Twenty six people attended including Council Member Katapodis and Kellee Fritzal, Deputy Director of Economic Development for the City of Huntington Beach, and some Downtown business people. The 90 minute meeting discussed issues leading up to the July 28th Riot, the development history of the 41 bars/restaurants, the enforcement efforts using Entertainment Permits, HB Police presence and enforcement, tracking alcohol crimes, video surveillance, and other issues. The discussion was lively and most people participated and voiced their opinions. A number of solutions and strategies were discussed and proposed. HB Neighbors has experienced a number of people registering as new members and requesting email updates. We also received emails with more suggestions and complaints, primarily about late night alcohol issues. A summary of the proposed solutions and strategies will be posted on our website.
When: August 7, 2013 6pm – 7pm
Where: Lake Park BBQ Area adjoining Lake Park Clubhouse. Northwest corner Lake St. and 11th St.
What Will Be Discussed: Problems and Issues Relating to Downtown HB and Potential Solutions
- Culture and Image
- Parking Issues
- Police and Private Security
- Needed Neighborhood Amenities
HB Neighbors has been working for years to slow down the expansion of DTHB Youth Bars.
HB Neighbors has many goals besides the neighborhood changes caused by the expansion of the bars and beach events, but due to the recent riots, HBN will focus on Potential Solutions to improve the Downtown Commercial Area for tourist and local residence.
Please join us Wednesday to improve our Neighborhood.
Downtown updates: Downtown 7-Eleven withdraws ABC application. Main Street library inches closer to historic preservation.
The new 7-Eleven on Main and Orange has withdrawn its application to sell beer and wine. We believe that the withdrawal stems from the large number of protests received by the ABC as well as downtown crime statistics that far exceed acceptable levels by ABC and law enforcement standards. Two quick stats worth sharing;
a) For 2011 downtown (crime reporting district 451) had 1465% more crime than the city wide average.
b) There are 888% more liquor licenses per populous in downtown (census tract 993.11) as compared with the entire city of Huntington Beach and 825% more compared with the county of Orange.
We anticipate the 7-Eleven will open and later seek a license to sell Alcohol.
In an effort to save the historic Huntington Beach Public Library at Triangle Park, on September 4th, HBN submitted to the California Office of Historic Preservation a Nomination for it to be added to the National Register of Historic Places. The 1912 park and the 1951 library were the first and last pieces of the historic Civic Center in Downtown, which included City Hall and Memorial Hall for over fifty years. The library and park are the only parts of this Civic Center campus that remain with us today. Please consider writing a support letter for this Nomination. Your letter should identify the Nomination and Property as we have referred to them below, addressed as follows:
Nomination to the National Register of Historic Places Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle Park 525 Main Street, Huntington Beach, CA 92648
Via Email OR Via Regular Mail
William Burg William Burg
State Historian I State Historian I
Office of Historic Preservation Office of Historic Preservation
State of California State of California
email@example.com 1725 23rd Street, Suite 100
Sacramento, CA 95816
Ideally, these letters of support should be RECEIVED by William Burg by January 8th or, in a worst case, should be RECEIVED by William Burg no later than February 1st.
Your support letter can be as short and simple as: “I support the Nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for the Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle Park.” If you want to introduce yourself briefly as, for example, a Huntington Beach resident, library patron, park lover, and so forth, such an introduction probably would be helpful. Similarly, if you want to describe in your own words why the 1951 library and 1912 park are important to you personally or why, in your opinion, the library and park are important to Huntington Beach history, these types of descriptions probably also would be helpful.
On December 17th, the Huntington Beach City Council voted unanimously (7-0) to endorse Huntington Beach Neighbor’s nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for the Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle Park. This endorsement was sponsored by Mayor Connie Boardman and Former Mayor Joe Carchio. Mayor Connie Boardman is writing a letter of support for our nomination, on behalf of the City Council, to the California Office of Historic Preservation.
Thank you for your support for the historic preservation of the Huntington Beach Public Library on Triangle Park.
PS. You can see more about the preservation on a recent OC Register article.