Quick Planning Commission Meeting, Again
Monday night the Costa Mesa Planning Commission held another quick meeting, which begs the question, "Do they really need to meet twice a month?"
A RECENT CHANGE...
Some will recall that, ever since the economic downturn dried up development projects in Costa Mesa, the Planning Commission had been meeting only once each month and that schedule seemed to do the job. However, not long ago they decided to meet twice a month due to the heavy workload.
Ironically, since that decision their workload has been especially light, even with the General Plan Update being part of the mix. So, do they need to meet so often? Are they just trying to make busy work for the staff, which is already struggling to keep up with their demands? Commissioner Jeff Mathews seems to have solved that problem - he was absent.
KICKING THE CAN...
Anyhow, the meeting moved quite quickly when the first public hearing was continued until July 8th. So, we'll wait a few weeks to hear the justifications for 10 variances and/or deviations for that project.
NEED MORE INFO
The second public hearing, which dealt with 242 low income housing units tucked into a little corner of the Fairview Developmental Center surrounded on two sides by the golf course, generated some interesting comments. The developer, from KDF Communities, Inc., of Newport Beach, expressed a view that this development was a perfect fit for the property and the city because it went a long way to meeting low income housing goals. Commissioners were concerned about re-zoning that piece of land from Institutional/Recreational to High Density Housing - a "Pandora's Box" - that might be taken advantage of by state officials later. The item was shoved out to a future date - undetermined at this time - so the staff could get some answers to several questions posed by the council and members of the public.
FORWARDING THE "HOUSING ELEMENT" TO COUNCIL
The third public hearing was the Housing Element of the General Plan Update and the previous issue played a part in the discussion, too. This process has some clear time constraints and, since the previous issue plays a part in the affordable housing segment, concern was expressed by Colin McCarthy that we, the city, might not get the Housing Element completed in time. Acting Development Services Director Claire Flynn assured him and the rest of the council that we had time, and ticked off the various milestones that needed to be met to do so. The commission voted, 4-0, to hand off the Housing Element to the City Council and start the clock on the deadline, which occurs later this fall. In the meantime, the staff will go back to the old drawing board and look for alternatives to the Fairview Developmental Center project for our affordable housing quota, just in case it turns out to be problematic.
The Planning Commission meets next on July 8th.