Leece Files For Re-hearing Of Banning Ranch Payoff
Have you seen a portly lady kind of humming to herself? Well, she hasn't begun to sing yet, at least not as far as the Banning Ranch payoff to Costa Mesa is concerned.
IT AIN'T OVER YET
Even though the Newport Beach City Council voted last night, 6-0, to approve the project - read Mike Reicher's article in the Daily Pilot HERE - and the Costa Mesa City Council voted last week to accept almost $4.4 million from the developer to theoretically pay for the impact of their project on several Costa Mesa intersections and roadways - see Joe Serna's Daily Pilot article HERE - it's not over yet.
UNDER THE WIRE
Right at the end of the business day Monday Costa Mesa councilwoman Wendy Leece filed for a re-hearing of the decision made by her peers at the meeting on July 17th. The documents were accepted by Interim City Clerk Brenda Green and we understand this item will very likely appear on the agenda for the council meeting scheduled for August 7, 2012.
THE BULLET POINTS OF THE REQUEST
I'm not going to attempt to post the entire package of papers involved, but I will give you a thumbnail of the five issues being used for this re-hearing.
1 - Newport Beach is already requiring Newport Banning Ranch to take responsibility for street improvements in Costa Mesa.
Comments at the council meeting on July 17th that asserted MUST enter into the agreement before other approvals were granted or Costa Mesa would lose the opportunity for any mitigation. A review of the Draft EIR determined that was a false assertion.
2 - Newport Beach is requiring Newport Banning Ranch to complete the street improvements or provide all funding to Costa Mesa within five years of project approvals whereas the agreement allows more time.
In the mitigation measure there is the following statement:
"The payment of fees and/or the completion of the improvements shall be completed during the 60 months immediately after approval. Approval refers to the receipt of all permits from the City of Newport Beach and applicable regulatory agencies."
The agreement stretches those payments out over a much longer period.
3 - The street improvements listed in the agreement do not fully reflect the improvements identified in the DEIR.
The lack of full information regarding improvements could possibly allow less than the full improvements needed. This information was neither discussed nor presented to the City Council on July 17th.
4 - Under the Coastal Act, projects must have adequate public services, including streets.
Sections of the Coastal Act outlines the requirements. This information was neither discussed nor presented to the City Council on July 17th.
5 - The Agreement makes a false assertion.
Section 5.1 of the agreement states that the DEIR does not identify any other adverse impacts on the City, environmental or otherwise. However, the DEIR (p. 4.12-23) states otherwise.
"Impact Summary: Thresholds 4.12-1 and 4.12-4: Significant and Unavoidable. With the implementation of MM 4.12-5, which provides funds to resurface 17th Street west of Monrovia Avenue and 15th Street west of Placentia Avenue with rubberized asphalt if required by an updated noise study. If mitigation is required, noise level increases to sensitive receptors adjacent to off-site roadways would be reduced to less than the significance criteria prescribed by the City of Newport Beach. Feasible mitigation has been identified to mitigate the noise impact to residences in the City of Costa Mesa to a less than significant level. However, because the City of Newport Beach does not have the authority to mandate the implementation of mitigation in the City of Costa Mesa, the impact is considered significant and unavoidable."
The agreement does not include the suggested mitigation measure for noise impacts in the City of Costa Mesa. Thus, as stated in the DEIR, significant and unavoidable impacts will occur in Costa Mesa, contrary to the statement in Section 5.1 of the agreement.
SO, WE WAIT FOR TWO WEEKS
So in a couple weeks we'll find out if the City Council will re-hear this issue. It will make for an interesting evening, for sure.