Things We Learned From The Planning Commission Meeting
Last night the Costa Mesa Planning Commission met to do the city's business for their only scheduled meeting this month. Watching the meeting I learned a few things I didn't know before.
MESA GREEN DESIGN AWARD
For example, apparently it is possible to present award - the Mesa Green Design Award, specifically - intended to recognize a PROJECT for its green impact on our city, to a person. Tonight Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick presented the award to employee Khanh Nguyen, the city Building Official. (photo show him receiving another award five years ago) As I've said before, this seems like a corruption of the award - certainly the intent of the award. Yes, the contribution Nguyen and his team has made in facilitating plan checking and inspection is quite significant and, yes, recognition is certainly appropriate - just not this particular award.
FITZPATRICK WANTS "ACTIVIST" COMMISSIONERS
We also learned that Chairman Fitzpatrick is taking on the mantle of "activist". He said, "I have always believed that commissioners should be active and not just read the staff report and vote yes or no, but they should have projects and things that are important to them in the community and things that are important to residents and businesses." He went on to say, "My intention is to roll up my sleeves and work on motels within our community. I think there are a lot of opportunities to improve the quality of life here by focusing on motels." He went on to encourage his fellow commissioners to find issues and roll up their sleeves, too.
PARKING AT "THE CAMP"
As anticipated, the commission pulled the item from the Consent Calendar dealing with the parking issue at The Camp and approved without comment the balance. The discussion focused on the on-going parking difficulties at that retail center, the extensive use of valet parking and off-site employee parking. Commissioner Colin McCarthy emphasized the broader issue of under-parked retail centers throughout the city during the discussion.
PITFIRE ARTISAN PIZZA
The commission went round and round discussing the request for extended hours and valet parking for this facility. The request was to permit the restaurant to remain open until 2:00 a.m. and would including valet parking. When the item was passed, 5-0, it included a proviso that the staff bring back an analysis of the operations as approved at the September meeting.
BEACH HUT DELI
The next item was the Beach Hut Deli, located just down the street at the corner of17th Street and Irvine Avenue. Once again, the applicant wants to serve alcohol on the patio fronting on 17th Street and extend the hours. This center, which has many food establishments, has an on-going parking issue during peak hours despite a recent renovation of the parking lot that added approximately 8 spaces. McCarthy expressed concern about "intensity of use" due to the alcohol sales, but it was satisfied by an explanation by the applicant who told them that another business in the center no longer sells alcohol.
The commission resolved any concerns about parking and outdoor service of alcohol and approved the request, 5-0.
CONDO CONVERSION APPROVED
The final item on the agenda, the conversion of new construction condos on Pacific Avenue to ownership units. It breezed through the process and was approved, 5-0. McCarthy was euphoric about this opportunity for more ownership units in Costa Mesa, which - according to McCarthy - has the worst ratio of rentals vs. ownership units in the entire county.
HONORING MIKE DELGADILLO
Vice Chair Rob Dickson closed the meeting in honor of recently-deceased Costa Mesa Detective Mike Delgadillo for his service and dedication to the community... a nice touch. The City recently advised us that donations may be made to Mike's family - his four children, ages 14 to 20. Those donations may be made out to the Costa Mesa Police Officers Association Survivors Fund on behalf of Mike Degaldillo and either forwarded to the Costa Mesa Police Department or mailed to the CMPOA at P.O. Box 1742, Costa Mesa, CA 92628. We are reminded that they have no one actively soliciting donations from the public. Donations should only be made through the CMPOA Survivors Fund.