Tuesday, July 24, 2012

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.

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.

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.


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 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.

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Blogger Mike H. said...

Well done, Wendy!!!

7/24/2012 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

Thank God Costa Mesa has a city council er councilMEMBER to look out for its interests. Go Wendy!

7/24/2012 11:28:00 PM  
Anonymous History Channel said...

Uh oh. Jimbo's gonna be ranting his little head off tonight! Fitzy and Colon will have to wax his car again and keep refilling the sandwich platter every half hour.

Mensy will run down to the airport and take it out on some baggage people..

7/25/2012 12:00:00 AM  
Blogger feral390 said...

I wonder what rude and childish comments Bever and Pigheimer will have about this

7/25/2012 05:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Marshall Krupp said...

Council Member Leece is a true hero and representative of the citizens of Costa Mesa. She is willing to stand in the fire alone and fight for what is for highest good of the City. Will the Righeimer, Mensinger, Monahan and Bever majority reverse their vote? Probably not! Whether they do or not, we are potentially in for another round of litigation against the City resulting in additional costs. I hope that the entire Council Chambers is filled with Westside and Eastside residents, business owners and property owners when this appeal is considered. Let the City Council view what they are up against in the November election.

On July 17, 2011, when the City approved the $4.4 million agreement prematurely, they were fully informed that it was not in the best interest of the City. I sent a letter to the City Council on July 16, 2011 and raised a number of concerns with the agreement. These included the following:

1. The City of Costa Mesa has a policy that the payment of traffic impact fees can be used anywhere within the City as the need may arise. So in this case, the payment of over $4.3 million in fees may be paid, but there is no assurance that the fees will be used in a timely manner to mitigate the impact that the Project has on these specific intersections within the City’s circulation system. In essence, the fees could be expended for other projects and when it came time to implement the required Project traffic impacts, there could be inadequate funds available to insure that the impacts were mitigated.

2. As noted in the Agreement, the fees do not pay for 100% of the improvements that may be required, only the Project’s “fair share”. There is a concern that even if the Project fees are paid, other funds required in completing the traffic improvements may not be adequate to fully fund the improvements that are required.

3. I do not see where in the Agreement the other impacts on the City of Costa Mesa are address. These would include, and not be limited to noise and air quality impacts (for example) from the construction of the Project and the future development of the area. There is no provision for mitigation of noise from the additional traffic impacts on the various streets within the Project and which connect to the City of Costa Mesa’s circulation system. The City has an obligation to pursue all administrative and legal remedies to insure that all impacts are mitigated to a level of insignificance. The Agreement provides that the City of Costa Mesa is giving up “all” of its rights and remedies with regards to not only the traffic impacts, but all other impacts of the Project on the Community.

I also suggested that the Project and the Agreement had not mitigated all of the impacts associated with the Project on the City of Costa Mesa, and that the City would be giving up many of its rights to protect the residents, businesses and property owners of Costa Mesa who are in the Westside and Eastside of the City. All of this was ignored. The agreement clearly binds this City Council and all other City Councils in the future.

During the discussion when the City Council agreed to remove the item from the Consent Calendar, I indicated that I could write over 200 pages of comments challenging the adequacy of the Draft EIR and its lack of compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act. The City Council ignored those comments.

Not only were there misrepresentations in the agreement and inconsistencies between the agreement and the Draft EIR, but questions which were asked by the City Council of the City’s Staff did not appear to be answered with correct information.

So I applaud Council Member Leece and only hope that her army of supporters fills the Council Chambers. The character of these four men certainly showed it’s ugly head on July 17th. It may show it’s ugly head again when the appeal is heard.

Marshall Krupp, Candidate for Costa Mesa City Council

7/25/2012 07:27:00 AM  
Anonymous Cautionary appeal said...

The agreement did need fixes, identified by the speakers, which the Council directed staff to take care of. It will be interesting to see what fixes were made and if they address the issues raised in the appeal. Hopefully, her appeal was unnecessary, but we have no way of knowing that until the nmeeting.

7/25/2012 08:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Where was Krupp? said...

Marshall Krupp,

You are aware that the time for "200 pages" of comments on the DEIR has long passed, correct? I checked the Responses to Comments document and I did not see your comments.

Why is that? If Banning Ranch is so critically important and Costa Mesa so desperately needed your expert analysis, why didn't you comment on the DEIR?


You also said that you have a fool proof solution that you will implement if elected. Well, here is your chance - if you really care about the City, and not your own political aspiration, you'll share that plan at the next council meeting.

7/25/2012 10:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Question 4 West said...

I don't understand how Leece cm call up this vote when she lives within 500 feet?

Do the rules not apply to her? A little fast and loose with the rules, hey Geoff.

I don't like that Geoff arbitrarily encourages Council to follow the rules when Leece goes against a standing policy and goes against legal council.

This sets the City up for a law suit. Where is CM4RG? They are also silent.

This project improves my property value.

Why won't Wendy listen?

Why no issue with Council critics?

7/25/2012 06:49:00 PM  
Blogger just wondering... said...

Question for West, you are wrong on all counts.
First you question why there is vocal opposition and then you question why CM4RG is not vocal. Which is it?

There is appealable issues...don't worry little one, go have a twinkie and let the people that know how do the work.

7/27/2012 01:32:00 PM  
Anonymous Done with Fitzloser said...

Indeed just wondering, Fitzy is a strange, sad, little man.

7/27/2012 02:34:00 PM  

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