New police chief's salary approved

The Huntington Beach City Council approved the salary of the newly appointed police chief Monday.

Soon-to-be former San Bernardino police Chief Robert Handy made his first public appearance in Surf City, thanking the council members for the opportunity to serve the city.

"It truly is an honor to have been selected to serve alongside the men and women of the Huntington Beach Police Department," Handy said. "I look forward to working with them as well as the city team to help make our community safer. And my wife and I and my family are very much looking forward to becoming a part of the community."

According to chief's agreement, he will be paid $208,994 annually. It is slightly over $4,000 more than outgoing Chief Ken Small's salary.

Handy served as police chief for San Bernardino for almost two years and worked for the Phoenix Police Department for 21 years.

He is expected to take over for Small by early or mid-December.


Alcohol permit denied

Council members also voted Monday to deny a restaurant's conditional use permit to serve alcohol.

The council voted 5-2, with Mayor Pro Tem Matthew Harper and Councilman Joe Carchio dissenting, to reject the application on the basis of oversaturation of alcohol permits downtown and the negative crime statistics of alcohol-related incidents in the area.

The Local Bench Grill is in the Pierside Pavilion on the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Main Street. It opened in February 2013.

The permit was approved by the city zoning administrator Aug. 7 and passed by the Planning Commission during a public hearing Sept. 24. Mayor Connie Boardman appealed the permit in October, with concerns about the concentrated amount of alcohol licenses in the downtown area.

"I think we need to start sending a message as a council to the property owners downtown that they need to look at businesses other than those that are alcohol-dependent," Boardman said.

The permit would have allowed the business to operate from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 9 a.m. to midnight on Friday to Sunday, with the condition that alcohol wouldn't be served after 10 p.m. all week.

Additionally, Local Bench would have been prohibited from serving alcohol without an order of food, required employees to go through responsible beverage service training and prohibited beer to be served in pitchers, according to a staff report.

"I think staff and the commission stepped up and we prudently conditioned this project to be very unlikely to cause additional problems in downtown," Planning Commission Chairman Mark Bixby said.

But Boardman and Chief Ken Small said that any additional alcohol permit, no matter how controlled, would add to the alcohol issue downtown.

"I think there's ample public safety information available to have a policy that says just having one more [Alcoholic Beverage Control licensed] location downtown is a problem," Small said. "Because it's one more place where people can drink, one more potential for people to cause problems after they leave, potential for people to drive drunk after they leave."

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