Public Records Requests

The City's process of managing public records is decentralized in that each Department is responsible for managing their own records. Accordingly, the following recommendations are offered to assist the public in receiving the information they request in a legally sufficient and timely manner pursuant to guidelines provided in the California Public Records Act:

1.   Each City department is responsible to house, maintain, respond to requests for and make available for public inspection, departmental records during regular business hours Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (excluding holidays). Timely delivery of information in response to a request for public records occurs best when the request is submitted directly to the department(s) responsible to provide the information.

2.  The City website provides a comprehensive list of information topics that may eliminate the need to submit a request for public records. Users can find information by navigating to topics using the websites top navigation menu or using the internal Google search engine located on the top right of each page. There is also a link to an alphabetical listing of topics in the A-Z Index on the right side top navigation menu, as well as in the FAQ section of our Service Request application (Surf City Pipeline) at:

3.   Requests for public records should be specific and focused. Requests that are vague or too broad in scope may delay response time. When necessary, City staff will assist the requestor to adequately identify what they need, describe the form of delivery they prefer, and consider options on technical barriers that may prevent delivery of information.

4.   Surf City Pipeline located at allows members of the public to submit requests for service based on popular, topical categories. Note: Data entered into Surf City Pipeline is considered public information.

5.   Access to City Council records that include contracts, deeds, historical photos, minutes, ordinances, resolutions, other can be accessed 24/7 at without submission of a Public Records Request.

6.   Individuals unable to locate the information they seek online should make direct contact by phone or email with the department responsible to manage/retain/deliver the information they need. For a list of department links, go to:

7.   The City of Huntington Beach may refuse to disclose any records which are exempt from disclosure under the California Public Records Act. (See e.g. G.C. Section 6254 et seq.) All public records requests submitted to the City will be reviewed by the City Attorney's office for compliance with both the request and the California Public Records Act.

Physical inspection of records and/or receiving paper copies of a requested document:

1.   If a records request involves review of physical records by more than one department, a mutually agreeable time should be established for the inspection of the records. City staff will be better able to assist persons wishing to review specific records or make copies if an appointment is first scheduled through the appropriate department(s).

2.   Persons inspecting City records shall not destroy, mutilate, deface, alter, or remove any such record(s) from City offices. The City reserves the right to have internal personnel present during the inspection of records in order to prevent the loss or destruction of records.

3.   Paper copies of records that are not exempt from disclosure are available upon pre-payment of the copying costs of ten cents (.10 cents) per page.

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