Stories to keep an eye on for 2013 [corrected]

Poseidon Desalination Project

We will keep a close watch on Poseidon's plans and update the community on its permit request from the California Coastal Commission and any movement made toward the desalinization project.

An earlier version of this story erroneously referred to the Poseidon Desalination Project as the Poseidon Recycling Project.

The idea for the plant is to convert seawater into drinkable water to provide a steady supply for Orange County with the aim of producing 50 million gallons of drinkable water a day for Orange County.

Not everyone is happy about the project. Some worry about the marine life in the area and some worry about the cost to taxpayers.

But as of now, things are moving in the right direction for the company, which just completed financing issues for its Carlsbad Desalination Project, and if the state commission approves its request permit, they are hoping to have the plant complete by 2017.


Pacific City

All eyes will be on the hole. Pacific City is supposed to move forward with development plans for the downtown site.

DJM Capital Partners announced in late November that it purchased about 11 acres of the vacant 31-acre site designated for the Pacific City project.

Pacific City seeks to bring 516 residential units, shops, restaurants and an eight-story hotel to the site on Pacific Coast Highway between First and Huntington streets. Crescent Heights, a Florida-based development company, sold the land to Santa Barbara-based DJM and owns the remaining 20 acres.

DJM plans to turn 6.5 acres of the land into an outdoor shopping center and 4 acres into an eight-story hotel.

The plan is to get designs approved in January and open in 2015.



What kind of sparks will go off this year should the council decide to permanently lift the fireworks ban remains to be seen.

This will be the second July that Huntington Beach will allow "safe and sane" fireworks as part of a two-year trial.

Last July — after the holiday — the council tried to get a permanent lift of the ban on the ballot, but ultimately voted 4 to 3 to leave things as they are.

With residents complaining of "war zone" like neighborhoods and delayed response from police on the Fourth, it doesn't seem likely the holiday will go smoothly for everyone. But others want the sales allowed for the purpose of fundraising and the general spirit of the holiday.

While the ban may not be on the path for a permanent lift, it is likely to be an issue that doesn't die without a bang.


Harmony Cove Project

The Harmony Cove Marina project was approved by the Huntington Beach City Council in November. Now a 23-boat slip marina, outdoor dining restaurant, metered parking and a kayak and paddle board rental kiosk will be added to the 2.28-acre site.

What remains to bee seen is what the California Coastal Commission has to say abut the project proposed by property owner Joe Daichendt of Theory R Properties.

Opposition comes from Pier Colony residents and the group Demand a Safe Harbour, or DASH. Concerns include an increase in already heavy traffic and the elimination of ocean views.

While Daichendt said there is misinformation going around including the fact that his proposed restaurant would be one story, many are eager to hear what the commission has to say and what the developer will ultimately do.


Sex offender lawsuit

Relatively new laws meant to keep children safe from registered sex offenders have hit some obstacles.

In October a registered sex offender filed suit against four Orange County cities: Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Costa Mesa and Lake Forest.

All those cities have local ordinances modeled after the county's law that bans sex offenders from entering county parks, beaches and other public facilities. He is also suing Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens and the four cities' police chiefs.

The ban is considered one of the most aggressive sex offender laws in California.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Oct. 1, claims the local laws that ban the plaintiff from entering city parks or other public facilities violate the Constitution and his protected rights under the law.

The San Francisco law firm representing the man, identified only as "John Doe" in the lawsuit, said the ban violates his 1st, 5th and 14th Amendment rights.

The lawsuit alleges that the plaintiff, by being banned from entering public property, is unable to peaceably assemble, speak freely, travel via some public roads, receive information and petition the government. The ban also deprives him of his liberties without a fair hearing and prevents him from judicial access, the lawsuit says.

The law hit another snag when in November a registered sex offender had his conviction overturned by the Superior Court of Orange County after he was arrested at Mile Square Park in Fountain Valley.

Though a three-judge panel made clear its Nov. 15 unanimous decision applies only to the case filed by Hugo Godinez and not to other pending or future prosecutions, Lake Forest repealed its sex offender ordinance soon after that decision. It had been the first O.C. city to adopt the ordinance.

That decision has been referred to the Court of Appeal for possible review. That court can settle whether local jurisdictions are preempted by state law from passing the type of sex offender ordinances at issue in the Godinez case.

District Attorney Tony Rackauckas emphasized that his office will not back off sex offender cases.


U.S. Open of Surfing

We will keep a lookout for new sponsors of the event and along with the usual coverage of the nine-day competition we will see how they fare after the pullout of Nike, Hurley and Converse.

Three years after jumping in and helping to turn the event into the best attended surf competition in the world, the companies have pulled out.

IMG, the owners of the event, don't seem worried about finding a sponsor so we look forward to seeing how well the transition goes.


Commentary Writers

We at the Independent are certainly looking forward to vibrant dialogue in our forum pages between residents on a variety of sides of the issues. We are looking for writers in Huntington Beach and Fountain Valley who are clear, concise and thoughtful.

If something matters to your, or irks you, makes you cry tears of joy, chances are it will matter to someone else too. Share it with your community, write to or

Twitter: @alicialopezHB

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