City of Huntington Beach Rumors

Welcome to the City's Rumor Page where we dispel myths and rumors within the community. The City created this page as a way for members of our community to go to an official City source for information. We realize the rapid rise of social media is an excellent way to disseminate information, however, many times that information can be changed from its factual origination as it is passed from post to post. The City is also not in the position to constantly monitor all social media outlets so when we hear of rumor, whether true or not, we will post it here so that community members can check and get the official story. If you hear a rumor, don't see it already checked out on this page, please submit it to [email protected] and we will get to work on verifying the story and posting it!



A. Based on resident complaints regarding commercial video production occurring at residential locations, Staff reviewed the City’s Commercial Photography Ordinance as found in the Huntington Beach Municipal Code Chapter 5.54.  Last updated in 1986, the ordinance is not technologically up to date and does not reflect the prevalence of low budget commercial (video) productions.  At the July 5, 2016 meeting this item was first introduced and then continued based on City Council request to ensure that certain uses were exempt and to compare the draft ordinance with other ordinances in place in other cities.

Staff conducted surveys of other commercial photography ordinances and discussed best practices with location managers, among others.  The new draft for consideration includes updated definitions and clarifies who needs a permit (a film permit has always been required).  Commercial photography and production are now defined.  A section was added to exempt “photographers or photography related to insurance claims, home sales, persons employed by another governmental agency, or to photographers, motion picture or television cameramen employed by a major news network or bona fide news publication, or to aerial photography, including aero mapping and survey, where the purpose is not to sell the photo or video.”  People can take pictures, it is only when there is a clear commercial intent to make a profit from the act (such as photographing the pier to sell prints for a profit).  Photographing an article in order to sell it online (such as EBay) is exempt, as is a business taking pictures of customers or products for online display or posting to social media.  (However, if you hire a professional photographer that charges you, that person must comply with City business license requirements).  Drone video or pictures, if not done for profit, are exempt.  This ordinance does not change the current fee, though the City now uses an online film permit application to make this process simpler and quicker. 


A.  The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally released regulations concerning Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS or drones) which allow local governments to fill in the gaps of the FAA regulations.  The Orange County Grand Jury released a report in June 2016 that recommends each city adopt a drone ordinance prior to March 31, 2017, among other educational and information endeavors for its residents related to drone operation.  Additionally, the Grand Jury report called out the need to protect the reasonable right to privacy that drones equipped with cameras may interfere with.  The City of Huntington Beach, with its beach and community events, has the potential for more drone interactions with the public than other cities and the FAA expects that there will be more than 600,000 commercial drones in the air within the next year.

The City is taking proactive measures through the consideration of an initial drone ordinance and has begun to work with all cities and the County of Orange on an overall model drone ordinance.  Faced with a lack of other already enacted drone ordinances, the City’s ordinance seeks to control, but not overly regulate the operation of drones.  The intent is to ensure public safety and reasonable privacy concerns of residents, but to begin to realize the drone operations will become far greater, specifically in our beach areas, in the very near future.  The City will look to monitor this ordinance very closely and work with the drone operator community, law enforcement, residents, and interested parties to ensure that, overtime, we remain flexible in our drone regulations, but with the understanding that some regulation is required.   As currently proposed, the drone ordinance only requires notification of operations – there is no permit fee.  A permit fee for filming would only be required if the action was covered under the Commercial Photography Ordinance. 
The City is working on a “Drone” informational webpage on the City website and will post information and educational materials on the issue in the near future.


Yes!  There are two opportunities for public comments/input at the March 7th meeting.  The public always has an ability to speak for 3 minutes on an item on the agenda at the beginning of the meeting during ‘Public Comments.’  No Council discussion can occur based on ‘Public Comments,’ but the public may choose to use this time to express their concerns/viewpoint on the issue.  Since the Housing Element Amendment is an official ‘Public Hearing,’ the Mayor will open that portion of the meeting (after the consent calendar) for public comments on that specific item.  This is also limited to 3 minutes per speaker.  Public comments during the ‘Public Hearing’ are part of the official record so it is encouraged that people make their comments at this time.  Council discussion on the item occurs after the public provides their comments since the item is properly agendized.


No. The rehabilitation of 220,000 square feet of Gothard Street north of Edinger to McFadden Avenue and a portion of Center Avenue from Gothard Street to the railroad tracks is estimated at $1,555,000 to include engineering, design, and construction.  The portions of Gothard Street and Center Avenue were last rehabilitated in 1963 and 1972, respectively. 

Street rehabilitation is the most expensive improvement because all of the asphalt street and rock base material are removed, reclaimed, and converted into a new cement treated base before overlaying the street with entirely new asphalt.  The developers of nearby residential buildings, the new car wash, and OCTA bus parking improvements were required as part of their projects to rehabilitate a combined 54,000 square feet of street frontage (25% of the project) as a condition of development.  

In order to gain efficiency in the project scope and to complete a larger street rehabilitation project, the City had the developers pay into a restricted fund and these funds were then combined with additional City funds to rehabilitate the larger street area.   Based on the timing of the project, the developer payments cover about 28% of the overall project cost.  

Additionally, by combining the projects there is only the one time inconvenience of paving.  The award of this contract is on the City Council agenda for February 16, 2016.


In the last few days there have been several emails sent to the City regarding a proposal to rezone and develop the Armstrong Nursery at the southeast corner of Goldenwest St. and Slater Ave. (behind ARCO gas station).  This is not entirely accurate, so the City wants to provide an update. 

Last week public notices were sent to surrounding property owners of eight potential sites for future rezoning to accommodate the remaining lower income RHNA (Regional Housing Needs Allocation) as part of the upcoming Housing Element Amendment.  One of the sites is the Armstrong Nursery site which the property owner has agreed to the future rezoning.  The Draft Housing Element identifies this site for future rezoning to Residential High Density (up to 30 units per acre).  Since this site is an acre, up to 30 units would be allowed.   

Keep in mind that the RHNA is a planning target, not a building quota, and as such, there is no mandate that the site be developed with housing.  There is no proposal for redevelopment of the site at this time.  The Armstrong Nursery business is currently operating and can remain operating even if the site is rezoned. 

This Housing Element Amendment is scheduled before the Planning Commission on Tues., Feb. 9 and does not include any specific rezoning at this time.  The Planning Commission will be making a recommendation regarding the Housing Element Amendment to City Council for consideration at the March 7 meeting.  If all these sites are recommended for rezoning, then following the City Council action, any actual rezoning as well as environmental review of the eight sites will occur in the next eight to ten months.


Rumor:  Is the City getting into the residential broadband (internet) service?

Truth:  No.  An article in the HB Independent references a broadband study being conducted by the City and alludes that one option is for the City to develop its own broadband service.  A consultant was retained to “develop a high-level strategic plan that explores options for maximizing the economic development benefits of the City’s existing broadband infrastructure, integrating future broadband projects with the City broader economic development planning, and meeting the broadband connectivity needs of businesses in the City of Huntington Beach" based on a City Council Strategic objective. 

The City set up a webpage to explain and solicit community input here.  A goal of the study is to help the City understand the needs of businesses and the community with regard to broadband needs in order to facilitate better connectivity in the future.  Such efforts could include a "dig-once" policy where if a street is to be trenched by any party, the necessary conduit is placed for future fiber optic cable use so that any holes in the current fiber optic network can be patched in the most effective and efficient manner.  Such studies are often a requirement to invite private sector broadband investment, such as Google Fiber, into a community. 

Additionally, the consultant will identify the best routes for future fiber to maximize potential private sector investment in broadband delivery.  In this manner, the City is taking a cost effective and strategic approach to help facilitate better broadband service. 


Did you know?

The City maintains 124 traffic signals. Report malfunctions to (714) 960-8861(City) or Caltrans (PCH & Beach Blvd) (949) 936-3600. You can also report a malfunction online.

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