Planning Commission Rejects A Church, And More...
AN EVENTFUL EVENING, FOR SURE
It was an interesting evening with the Costa Mesa Planning Commission last night. Much of the evening went about as anticipated, but there were a couple things that snapped my eyelids open. Let us begin...
Public Comments included Beth Refakes reminding us of the Eggstravaganza - the candy and gifts drive for the children of our adopted Marine battalion out of Camp Pendleton.
A "RED MOUNTAIN" REMINDER
Businessman Tim Lewis, who apparently came directly from work judging from the grease on his hands, reminded the commission of the ownership issue on the Red Mountain project at Harbor and Hamilton.
WANTS A CODE ENFORCEMENT REPORT
During Commissioner Comments Stephan Andranian again asked for a Code Enforcement update - at the next meeting on the 22nd.
FAIRVIEW DEVELOPMENTAL CENTER
Colin McCarthy mentioned the meeting last Saturday at the Fairview Developmental Center concerning the apparent plans by the State to sell the site, which has dwindled down to just over 200 residents from something over 2700. The meeting ran from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. McCarthy told us he arrived just after two and the Daily Pilot article about the meeting was already online. He made a point of demanding to know if the Smart Growth Initiative will have an impact on the development of that site.
Chairman Rob Dickson mentioned the Costa Mesa Brief YouTube video of the meeting.
The commission voted, 5-0, to pass the Consent Calendar - the minutes from the previous meeting.
PUBLIC HEARING #3 CONTINUED
As they then began to consider the Public Hearings for the evening, right off the bat Dickson announced that Public Hearing #3, the proposal for 43 units at the site of a car dealership on Harbor Blvd. at Merrimac was being continued to the next meeting at the request of the applicant, and that he would NOT be entertaining any public comments on the issue. The commission then voted, 5-0, to continue the item.
First up was Public Hearing #1, the request for minor conditional use permit for a church at 3184-J Airway Avenue. The request had been approved by the Zoning Administrator in December and called up for review by the Planning Commission by Commissioner Stephan Andranian that month, also. The applicant was "The Ismaili Community", which apparently is a religious organization funded by the Aga Khan Development Network and has 9 hospitals, 200 clinics and 200 schools worldwide. They have 80 facilities in the US. They have been domiciled nearby in Irvine for many years, but say they've outgrown the site. An odd statement, since the proposed site is just under 2,000 square feet and the site they currently occupy is 3,200 square feet.
TOO COMPLICATED - REJECTED
The complication of this application was the proximity of another church, the Berean Community Church, already located nearby, and the complication of congregations competing for parking. Of the seven (7) members of the public who spoke about this issue, only one - the property owner and seller - spoke in favor of this move. The rest were either representing the other church, nearby businesses who would apparently suffer from the influx of more people to the center, or concerned residents. Following an hour of discussion the commission voted to reject the Zoning Administrators approval on a 3-2 vote. Chairman Dickson and Vice Chair Jeff Mathews voted NO.
DON'T BLINK ON THIS ONE
Public Hearing #2, the proposed restaurant use at the shopping center at the corner of Harbor and Adams at the site of the old theater, then Paul Mitchell School, was promptly approved unanimously following 10 minutes of discussion. Parking - an issue with the Paul Mitchell School - is apparently a non-issue now, according to applicant John Hill.
NICE LITTLE PROJECT, BUT...
Public Hearing #4, the proposed two-unit development at 1808 Pomona Avenue, should have been a slam dunk, but it had some interesting moments. This project requested no deviations from code. Everything was rocking along nicely - Commissioner Tim Sesler asked the owner what price point they would be at and was told $680,000 - $720,000 for the 4-bedroom model and more than $720,000 for the 5-bedroom model. Colin McCarthy began to wax poetic again about the Small Lot Ordinance. Then came public comments...
DESIGNED FOR SOBER LIVING HOME USE?
The first speaker, a person active within the community and particularly so in dealing with the sober living home issue, stepped up and told the commission that this neighborhood was packed with sober living homes - she described the locations in detail - then pointed out that the configuration of these two homes was as though they were designed specifically for such a facility! The 5-bedroom unit, for example, has a bedroom with bathroom on the first floor and 4 more bedrooms and three more bathrooms on the second floor.
A second speaker stepped up and told the commission that Costa Mesa has 215 unlicensed sober loving homes and 90 licensed facilities and this project was designed for such use. A third speaker was concerned about the parking requirements for the development.
WITH A SHRUG, PASSED UNANIMOUSLY
During the subsequent discussion commissioners tap-danced around the sober living issue, stating that they couldn't make a decision based on speculation of how the properties might be used. It's interesting to note that, based on what we're led to believe is the going rate for "clients" in sober living homes in the city, it would take just over a year to pay off one of those homes with that use. The commission passed the project on a 5-0 vote.
2-UNITS ON MYRAN DRIVE APPROVED
Public Hearing #5, the two-unit development at 2156 Myran Drive, also passed on a 5-0 vote. The only question on this one was the size of a landscaped area abutting Myran Drive, which was quickly resolved.
The meeting ended at 8:30 with Deputy City Attorney Yolanda Summerhill reminding the commissioners that their Statements of Economic Interest were due to be submitted in March.