Council to discuss senior center, downtown drinking

Huntington Beach City Council members are looking at a stacked agenda on Monday, including a talk about the long-awaited senior center.

Officials last discussed the proposed facility at Huntington Central Park during a special meeting on Jan. 25, listening to residents' suggestions on the location of the center. The topic comes back to the table on July 1 during a study session at City Hall.

"I've been waiting for this for seven years," Councilman Joe Carchio said Friday. "This is probably the biggest disservice we've ever done to any of our citizens in Huntington Beach."

The project was approved in 2006 and slated to be completed in 2009. But one issue after another — lawsuits and appeals by the Parks Legal Defense Fund and the loss of funding — have stalled progress on a new senior center.

Huntington Beach residents have long complained about the deteriorating state of the Rodgers Seniors' Center located on 17th Street and Orange Avenue. Chipping paint, loose ceiling tiles and poor restrooms are just some of the issues users of the facility have had.

The estimated $20-million center was supposed to be funded by another development, which council members will also discuss during their study session — the large mixed-use Pacific City project.

The 30-arce site near First Street and Pacific Coast Highway is slotted to include apartments, businesses and a hotel, but a slow economy has made the project see little to no progress, Mayor Connie Boardman said Friday.

Pacific City was approved in 2004 and was going to fund the senior center project with $22 million from parks fees. But after changes in developers, funding from those fees is estimated to be around $6 million.

"Everybody in the community is looking forward to that big hole going away," Boardman said.

DJM Capital Partners, who own Bella Terra, will be discussing proposed plans and redesigns for Pacific City.


Downtown Drinking

Council members could further discuss Huntington Beach Police Chief Ken Small's suggested changes to a city ordinance that would help curb alcohol-related incidents in the downtown area.

Small is asking council members to adopt a new ordinance that would be stricter on restaurants and bars, asking them to install and maintain surveillance cameras, banning new patrons from entering half an hour before closing and require that last call be made no later than 15 minutes from closing.

He also suggested that overtime funds be used for foot-patrol officers on weekends and banning the sale of alcohol from convenience stores in the downtown area.

Carchio said he will later introduce an item that will look to double the fines of alcohol-related violations during major holidays, like the Fourth of July and St. Patrick's Day.

He said there is a drinking problem in downtown Huntington Beach and believes this would deter people from getting out of hand.

"I think people will realize it a lot more when it's in their pocket book," Carchio said. "You're going to think about it twice if it's going to come out of your pocket book. It's a small deterrent. Hopefully it works. Hopefully it will give our police officers a little bit of assistance."

The study session will be 4 p.m. in Room B8 in City Hall, 2000 Main St. The regular council meeting is 6 p.m. Monday in the City Council Chambers, 2000 Main St.

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