Johnny's Saloon Ordered to Remove Iconic Sign Supporting Veterans, Say Hell No. The City of HB Responds: Update
Update 1: See the City of Huntington Beach's statement regarding the offending sign on page two.
ORIGINAL POST, NOV 25, 4:30 P.M.: Don't get in the way of community activist and bar owner Johnny Kresimir and his support of veterans. Kresimir and his bar are known for their rabid support of our troops and charities that support them, including the iconic sign that sits above his Johnny's Saloon on Beach Boulevard and Slater Avenue in Huntington Beach that reads, "Thank a veteran for your freedom," and features the POW/MIA remembrance emblem.
Today, Kresimir tells us that he received a letter from HB Code Enforcement stating they have two days to remove the sign or they will be slapped with a $960 fine for non-compliance. "Looks like we will have to pay a hefty fine of $960 in 2 days bc we are not going down without a fair fight!" Kresimir said on Facebook.
John Gilhooley/OC Weekly
The announcement on the saloon's Facebook page has stirred up understandable outrage from supporters of the bar and the sign. Customers are already vocalizing plans to protest at the next city council meeting, raise funds to help pay the fine, and start a petition for its permanent, legal placement.
"Every car dealership can do whatever they want whenever they want making Beach Blvd tacky but us little guys that want to spread a positive message get screwed?" Kresimir said.
This news comes exactly two weeks after Kresimir and the Johnny's Saloon team helped to fund and run a large veterans' charity car show on the Huntington Beach Pier to raise funds and awareness for veterans' issues. "After spending $1,000's sponsoring the city's Marine 3/1 Marathon & The Surf City Veterans Day Car Show this is the THANKS we get," Kresimir noted.
Huntington Beach Code Enforcement has not yet returned our calls. This article will be updated with news as it arises.
See the City of Huntington Beach's statement regarding the offending sign on page two.
UPDATE, NOV 26, 1:50 P.M.: The City of Huntington Beach Public Information Office gave the following statement today about Johnny's Saloon's offending sign via Facebook:
City issues statement regarding structure at Johnny's Booze and Pool
On Monday, November 25th, the City of Huntington Beach received a complaint about a sign located on the roof of Johnny's Booze and Pool establishment. The sign has neon tubing around it and is perched on metal bars in the corner of the building.
The City's Code Enforcement agent left a notice on the door of the business which asked for the owner to contact the City to discuss the sign and any building and electrical permits that were issued.
While the notice did indicate a violation for having the sign, the owner was given the option to indicate that the sign had been issued a permit and thereby allowed under the code. The notice requested that the owner contact the City to discuss options for permitting the sign.
"The City of Huntington Beach respects our Veterans and honors them in many ways," stated Mayor Connie Boardman. "Our ceremonies honoring Veterans, the formation of the 3-1-1 Marine Foundation and our memorial at City Hall, are only a few examples of how seriously we take the support of our community's Veterans and Armed Forces."
The City is currently trying to contact the owner of Johnny's Booze and Pool to discuss the sign and ensure that the health and safety of the patrons and those visiting the center are addressed.
"As with any structure - especially one that is placed on a rooftop - we want to ensure that the structure is sound and engineered correctly," stated Planning and Building Director Scott Hess. "We have been unable to locate a building and electrical permit for the roof sign so we need the owner to demonstrate that it has been permitted."
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