A Lot Of Talk, No Action
Four-fifths of the Costa Mesa Planning Commission met Monday night for yet another short meeting. Commissioner Jeff Mathews was absent.
CODE ENFORCEMENT RESULTS IN THREATS
The meeting began at 6:04 and moved briskly through the Public Comments segment - there was only one speaker, a grumpy old fella who griped about Code Enforcement in his neighborhood and implied that certain commissioners might be stalking his neighborhood, reporting folks with "grass was a little long". He implied that such heavy-handedness could break a political career. I watched the commissioners as he spoke... none seemed to be shaking in their boots. He promptly left the building...
FAST START OUT OF THE BLOCKS
The commissioners kept their comments short and blitzed through the Consent Calendar on a 4-0 vote and began the first Public Hearing at 6:15.
That item, the withdrawal of a Conditional Use Permit for a tattoo parlor that had moved a few feet away, was given quick action and five minutes later the 20 or so members in the audience were ready to hear the item they really came for.
A SQUARE PEG IN A ROUND HOLE
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is the proposal by developer Peter Zehnder to build an 8-unit, detached common interest development in the 2500 block of Santa Ana Avenue. This issue has gone on for month and was continued from a previous meeting so the developer could do more community outreach. A meeting was held with him and city staffers and concerned residents on June 27th. From what I saw and heard last night, they are still a very long way from getting together on this subject.
STUBBORNNESS OVER AN EASEMENT
Although this project, as mentioned in my earlier post, has many deviations from the code, the biggest stumbling block seemed to be an easement that is part of the project. From the dialogue by both the developer and the neighbor with the easement, John Bushnell, only expensive legal action is going to resolve it.
IT JUST DOESN'T SEEM TO WORK...
The short version of events is that the staff presented their report, including a detailed description of the variances, deviations, etc. - all 11 of them. I got the impression this development is in trouble when I read through the 53 conditions of approval contained in the staff report! Yikes!
Zehnder presented his summary of the project and some of the more contentious issues - including his version of the "easement" issue. Six members of the public spoke, including Mark Austin, a lawyer from Rutan and Tucker, who represented "many" contiguous residents. It was an interesting night.
KICKING THE CAN....
The council went back and forth and finally voted to follow the staff recommendation to continue this item until July 22nd - at least. It's possible that it will be pushed further out - to August 26th - if significant progress cannot be made within a couple days.
A LOT OF TALKING AND NO ACTION
This segment of the meeting took over two hours, and I'm not sure it actually needed to be that long. As the discussion moved to which date to use for the next pass at it, Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick postulated that the July 22nd meeting might have a light agenda - I smiled.
TWO MEETINGS WEDNESDAY
Next up, Wednesday's meetings of the Pension Oversight Committee and the Charter Committee.