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The issues worth watching in 2014

Surfing and a long-planned senior center will be in the news in Huntington Beach.

December 30, 2013|By Anthony Clark Carpio
  • Brazil's Alejo Muniz carves a turn off the top of a set wave as he surfs in the men's championship final of the 2013 Van's US Open of Surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier in July.
Brazil's Alejo Muniz carves a turn off the top of… (Don Leach, HB Independent )

Huntington Beach had a small riot on its hands in 2013. So will event organizers keep their word on scaling down the surfing event?

Will the city break ground on the seemingly mythical senior center? And what about the petition to repeal the plastic bag ban?

These are just a few of many issues to keep an eye out for in Surf City in 2014.

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1) The 2014 U.S. Open of Surfing

The disturbance following the 2013 U.S. Open of Surfing was ranked as the Independent's No.1 story of the year. It's safe to say that city officials and downtown residents will closely watch 2014's surfing contest.

During a Downtown Task Force meeting in October, James Leitz, IMG Action Sports vice president and organizer of the event, proposed that the next U.S. Open will have a greater emphasis on the competition.

The 2013 event took up about 14 acres of beach next to the pier, which included a concert stage, a village area and a public skateboard bowl.

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Leitz's proposal for 2014 removes the stage, the public skateboarding area and the village, and replaces them with more open space and a handful of sponsor booths. The conceptualized layout will cut the acreage of last year's event nearly in half, utilizing about eight acres of the city beach. The U.S. Open is scheduled for July 26 to Aug. 3.

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2) Proposed polystyrene ban and plastic bag ban petition

Discussions on whether the city should ban expanded polystyrene, commonly known as Styrofoam, have been postponed since November.

The issue will be brought back to the table in late January, when City Council members will decide if they will prohibit food vendors from distributing containers and other items made from polystyrene.

The council majority voted in 2013 to ban grocery stores, liquor stores and other businesses from distributing plastic bags. The ordinance went into effect in November and has angered many residents.

One person has taken his disapproval of the ban a step further and has started a petition to place the issue on the November ballot with hopes to repeal the ordinance.

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3) The long-awaited senior center

In 2013, the City Council tried to make the proposed senior center a reality, but little progress had been made.

But this could change as city officials and staff ended 2013 with a better timetable in mind of when they will seek construction bids and break ground.

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