Costa Mesa City Council Actions
The Costa Mesa City Council meeting Tuesday night went pretty much as anticipated.
TRAFFIC IMPACT FEES RETAINED
After a very brief discussion the council decided to maintain the existing Traffic Impact Fees, with the staff citing the significant decline in development activity.
3R COMMITTEE STAFFED-UP
The four regular members of the 3R committee requesting re-appointment were confirmed and alternate and soon-to-be newlywed Rob Dickson was moved up from an alternate to a regular membership. We got a pretty good idea of Mansoor's mindset when he attempted to appoint Colin McCarthy as a regular member although he specifically requested NOT to be moved up from his role as an alternate. For some inexplicable reason the council denied Katrina Foley's motion to appoint Evan Little as an alternate. They were probably following Mayor Mansoor's lead, in which he rebuffed Foley's suggestion.
"ABLE" BUDGET PLANS PRESENTED
The council heard an excellent presentation by members of the Police Department regarding the cost savings measures implemented by the staff for the ABLE (helicopter) program we share with Newport Beach. The upshot was that no additional reductions were proposed and Mansoor will get together with Newport Beach Mayor Ed Selich to draft a letter to adjoining cities to encourage their participation in the program as full members and share the cost.
NO COMMISSION COMBINATION
The council rejected Mansoor's motion to combine the Planning and Parks & Recreation Commissions. It apparently felt the $3,500 annual savings wasn't worth the drop in service to the community.
JIM FITZPATRICK APPOINTED TO THE PLANNING COMMISSION
Much to my surprise, Parks Commissioner Jeff Mathews was not appointed to the vacancy on the Planning Commission. Instead, Gary Monahan nominated Jim Fitzpatrick, which was seconded by Mansoor. Fitzpatrick has become very visible in community activities over the past couple years and is a very amiable guy. However, he has virtually no planning-related experience in his background, unlike several other applicants. This may not be all that bad, but he's going to have his hands full on a Planning Commission dominated by three developers. Fitzpatrick has become a "water guru" of sorts and writes a regular column on the fledgling Newport-Mesa Daily Voice on water issues. Since Mathews was not moved up there was no vacancy on the Parks & Recreation Commission to fill.
BUDGET WOES OUTLINED
As outlined in my earlier blog entry, Budget Research Officer Bobby Young presented the bad news to the council. No action was taken, but the council looks forward to the midyear budget presentation, when the impact of reduced sales, property and TOT tax revenue will become clearer. We'll also have a clear picture of the number of retirees that will take advantage of the enhanced retirement program and the actual fiscal impact of those retirements. Right now 34 people have either retired or filed to do so. The city was hoping for around 50.
FAIRGROUNDS SPECIFIC PLAN
The council spent a significant amount of time discussing the creation of a Specific Plan for the Fairgrounds area in an attempt to lock in that use regardless who the buyer of that property might be. Many residents and vendors from the Equestrian Center presented their views, including Planning Commission Chairman Jim Righeimer. The upshot was that the staff will move forward briskly on the creation of the Specific Plan and the City Attorney will research and present views on the possibility of placing this issue on the ballot for a vote of the people in June - a suggestion that Righeimer is moving forward with at warp speed.
MONAHAN'S SIGN PROPOSAL REJECTED
After hearing Gary Monahan's request to relax enforcement of temporary signs and banners throughout the city to "give merchants a break", the council correctly rejected that proposal, but did vote to request the Planning Commission to review our current sign ordinance for possible revision.