A group of neighbors has launched a petition drive asking the Planning Commission not to grant exceptions to city codes, known as variances, to the Woman's Club of Huntington Beach, which has applied to build a new headquarters to replace its old one destroyed in a fire last year.
Nesip Tarcan, who has lived across the street from the Woman's Club site since 1999, said he has already gathered nearly 40 signatures from fellow residents. His group plans to speak at the commission's public hearing on the Woman's Club on Jan. 24.
Tarcan said his group is opposed to the variances and also to the location of the clubhouse in the neighborhood near downtown and the beach.
"We're questioning the whole Woman's Club idea in a residential neighborhood," he said. "And if it is going to be rebuilt, there shouldn't be any variance."
The Woman's Club applied last fall for a permit to construct a new headquarters at 420 10th St. The application seeks several variances from city code, including four parking spaces instead of a minimum of 73, 55% lot coverage instead of the maximum 50% and a 20-foot turnaround radius instead of 25.
Tarcan said groups that rented out the Woman's Club headquarters often had loud parties and left beer cups and other litter around the property. In addition, he said, the clubhouse's limited on-site parking led to overcrowding along the curbs.
"If they build something, they need to build within the codes," Tarcan said.
Woman's Club President Jackie Judd said after hearing about Tarcan's petition, she planned to write one of her own and circulate it Wednesday.
The petition will not address the variance issue, but merely will ask for public support of a new headquarters, she said.
Regarding the variances, Judd said the 73 parking spaces would not be feasible, but the club might be able to follow city code on the lot coverage and turnaround radius.
"I think that anything's possible," she said. "The idea is to get a structure up."
The original clubhouse, which dated back to 1910, burned nearly to the ground April 30 and took a century's worth of artifacts with it. Fire officials declared the blaze accidental and said it apparently began due to an electrical malfunction.