Site approved for 9/11 memorial

The 9/11 memorial may have found its home in the Huntington Beach Civic Center after council members approved the location Monday night.

Other viable locations were addressed, such as Pier Plaza and the corner of Utica Avenue and Main Street.

But in a unanimous 7-0 vote, council members decided the non-operational fountain in between the civic building and the police station was the ideal spot to build the memorial.

“I have developed the ultimate respect for Huntington Beach Police and the Fire Department,” Councilman Dave Sullivan said, explaining his more than 20 year-relationship with public safety officials in the city. “I have no doubt that the firemen and policemen of this city, if we had a similar situation, would react in exactly the same manner as those in New York did.”

Designed by Patrick Vogel, the 19-foot-tall sculpture will include the towers and two I-beam sections of the World Trade Center donated by the Police Officers’ Foundation and the Huntington Beach Firefighters’ Assn. It will also include a waterfall that flows between the two towers.

“That day moved me and it moved me tremendously,” Vogel said. “I sat and watched the two planes crash into the [World Trade Center] towers as I was changing my oldest son’s diaper. That day, I did nothing. I watched the television like a lot of other people. I just couldn’t believe what I saw.”

Dennis Hashin, the chief financial officer of the Police Officers’ Association, urged council members to go with the fountain location, pointing out the lack of use of the fountain itself.

“The fountain itself is broken, unpainted and a collection point of debris and trash,” he said. “It certainly does nothing to honor the gift of the Anjo lantern that the fountain was designed to do. In fact, it is rather a disgrace. It shows disrespect toward our sister city.”

Other alternatives were brought up during the discussion. The amphitheater outside the council chambers was an option council members could have taken, but public speakers that night were opposed to that location.

“If it’s down in the bowl, it’s not something that they will see consistently,” said Dianne Thompson, chair of the Chamber of Commerce and a member of the 9/11 Memorial Fundraising Committee. “If it’s up in the fountain area, it will be seen consistently. We need to make certain that all the future generations understand that there’s a bridge from Huntington Beach back to New York.”


Development Impact Fee

In other action Monday, the council decided the development impact fee schedule will remain unchanged after the issue was heavily debated on Feb. 4.

In a 4-3 vote, with Mayor Connie Boardman, Councilwoman Jill Hardy and Councilman Jim Katapodis dissenting, developers will still abide by the three-year timeline originally passed in June 2012 and implemented in September of the same year.

The original plan called for developers to pay 30% of the difference between the new fee and the old fee during the first year. The next year, the fee would increase by 30%. By September 2014, developers would be paying 90% of the recommended fee.

Had council members decided to pass the resolution, developers would have been paying that 90% percent of the fee in January 2014 instead of September 2014.

“I don’t see any reason why we need to change that plan. The older you get and the more you stay in this [City Council] job, you realize that there is commitment and integrity,” Councilman Joe Carchio said. “We made the commitment to the developers. We went out and told them that it was going to be 30-60-90 and they agreed to that. They didn’t like it, but they agree to it…Does this council have the integrity to live up to that commitment?”

Developers pay development fees to mitigate the impact the project would create. The fees are used to pay for police and fire department facilities, street and traffic signal improvement and park facilities development.


Senior Center

Also, City Council members decided the location of the senior center will not change after the topic was discussed during a study session Monday.

The location along Goldenwest Street across from the Sports Complex will remain as the future site of the senior center, Carchio said.

Carchio said he believes that he and the rest of the council will let the pending lawsuit on the project “play out and see where that takes us.”

Carchio added that the judge ruling on this case isn’t opposed to the senior center being built, but would just like to see more than an impact report done.

Twitter: @acocarpio