Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Approvals and Surprises At The Planning Commission Meeting

IT'S ALWAYS AN ADVENTURE
The Costa Mesa Planning Commission met last night and most of the agenda went as anticipated.  However, there were some twists and turns.

CLOSE, BUT NO CIGAR - YET
Public Hearing #1, the request for modification of a conditional use permit to authorize an automobile towing function at the site of a car repair facility on Logan Street - anticipated to be denied - didn't quite go that way.  The proponents made a strong case for approval, so the commission shoved it out to a date uncertain so the staff and applicant can collaborate on the proper language for the strict  conditions of approval.  I expect we'll be seeing this one again in June.  The vote was 3-0, with commissioner Tim Sesler recusing himself from the deliberations because he works for the Auto Club and the applicant is an Auto Club contractor.

SUCCESSFUL SMALL LOT ORDINANCE PROJECT
Public Hearing #2, a small lot subdivision on Rochester Street, went smoothly.  In fact, several commissioners practically slobbered over themselves when commenting that this was EXACTLY the kind of project the new Small Lot Ordinance anticipated.  I thought more than one of them might hurt himself, patting himself on the back... The vote was 4-0.

PROJECT ON PACIFIC APPROVED
Public Hearing #3, Peter Zehnder's project at the very end of Pacific Avenue where it abuts Fairview Park, replaces five ramshackle units with five ownership units on just under a half-acre.  While not quite as clean as the previous project, the commission approved it, 4-0. 

SAY, WHAT?
One sidebar that came during this discussion was a peculiar mini-rant by Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick, who riffed about people who come before the commission to whine about things instead of "doing the hard work".  The dozen or so members of the audience at the time found themselves just shaking their heads, trying to figure out what he was talking about.  It was not the only time he seemed just a little disjointed in his dialogue last night.

A TROUBLED PROJECT
Public Hearing #4, the proposed residential-live/work development of 28 units that kind of snakes around at the corner of Harbor Boulevard and Hamilton Street to Charle Street, slithering past the Costa Mesa Community Garden and backing up to several businesses, including Red I Rentals.  During the 90 minutes of discussion concerns were expressed by contiguous business owners - including Red I Rentals' Tim Lewis, who attended despite cataract surgery that day -  about being forced later to move because of the noise and odors from their businesses.  The solution - which was built into the agreement and recorded against every property - was that EVERY buyer of ANY of those units IN PERPETUITY would have to acknowledge they were aware of the possible offending elements near them.  Even with that being said, a few of the business owners seemed skeptical of the plan.

CONTAMINATION MITIGATION STILL UNDERWAY
And, this project - which has been percolating for more than two years - is far from a GO.  There remains the successful mitigation of ground water contamination that's being dealt with right now. 

MOVES FORWARD
Eventually, the commission crafted verbiage to add some conditions and remove some others that were unnecessary and they voted to move the project forward, 4-0.

FITZY THE DEAL BROKER?
However, during this discussion Fitzpatrick - who seemed to be having trouble stay awake -  made an astounding admission.... he said, as he attempted to placate business owners, that not too long ago he had stopped in to Rudy's Garage - which occupies a little notch in the project footprint - to see if he'd be willing to sell his property so this project could be "cleaner"!  My jaw dropped when I heard that comment.  What in the world is the Chairman of the Planning Commission doing trying to broker a deal for the developer?  No, he didn't slur his speech, but it was certainly the kind of statement one wouldn't be surprised to hear come out of the mouth of someone not entirely in control of his faculties.

TWO MINUTES FLAT!
In fancy bit of "quick-pitching", it took the commission two minutes to dispatch New Business #1, the resolution finding the 1-year and 7-year Capital Improvement Programs to be in conformance with the General Plan.

COMING TO A STUDY SESSION NEAR YOU
And, it only took a short time longer to discuss and slightly modify the text of New Business #2, their Goals for the next fiscal year.  They will be fine-tuned and be part of a joint Planning Commission/City Council Study Session at 4:30 on June 10th in Conference Room 1A.

MORE ILL-ADVISED USE OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES
During that brief discussion Vice Chair Rob Dickson used his smart phone to do some research from the City's database on the 17th Street Specific Plan.  This is the second time in as many meetings - and the third time this year - that members of the commission have done independent research using mobile devices during deliberations and the information gleaned from that research was used making decisions.  While this is understandable, it's not a healthy practice.  For a sitting commissioner to use raw, uninterpreted data from unverified and possibly unqualified sources is dangerous territory.  The city needs a statement of policy on this kind of behavior.  We've all seen certain members of the City Council texting away, or surfing the net, during meetings.  It's, at the very least, a distraction from the proceedings and quite possibly something much worse.  It's possible that those devices could - and are - being used to gain direction or guidance from parties not part of the deliberations.  Perhaps a solution would be that all such devices be held for safekeeping by the clerk during the meetings.  If an emergency happens the clerk would be aware of it and alert the smart phone owner at the time.  Something MUST be done.


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14 Comments:

Anonymous Costa Mesa Citizen Coalition said...

Peter Zehnder is a developer. He also received approval for 8 units at 2519 1/2-2525 Santa Ana Ave.
The following are his companies:

Zehnder Development, Inc.
Peter Zehnder
234 E 17th St #210
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
(Above same address as John Saunders property)

ZS COMPANY, A CALIFORNIA LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANY
3151 AIRWAY AVE STE U2
COSTA MESA, CA 92626-4635
Business Description:
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND
DEVELOPMENT

ELDEN DEVELOPMENT, LLC
Business Description:
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
AND DEVELOPMENT

ELDEN STREET PARTNERS, L.P.
STEVEN JONES General Partner

ZEHNSAKO PARTNERS, A CALIFORNIA LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
369 SAN MIGUEL DR., STE. 200
NEWPORT BEACH, CA 92660
Business Type:
Limited Partnership

1200 NORTH MAIN, LLC
PO BOX 15126
NEWPORT BEACH, CA 92659
PETER H ZEHNDER
124 TUSTIN AVE STE 200
NEWPORT BEACH, CA 92663
STEVEN MILITZOK
180 NEWPORT CENTER DR STE 230
NEWPORT BEACH, CA 92660
Business Description:
REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT
AND DEVELOPMENT


Camreal Estate Investment and Development is the Member of
1200 North Main, LLC .

1200 North Main, LLC filed as a Domestic in the State of California filed on Thursday, July 18, 2013. This corporation is approximately one year old according to documents filed with California Secretary of State. 1200 North Main, LLC also
lists Steven Militzok as Member.

Camreal Estate Investment and Development is connected to other officers through these corporate roles. One of the top connections is Steven Militzok.

5/28/2014 10:40:00 AM  
Anonymous Squad 51 said...

Re Fitzy the deal maker... what you expect? He's a idiot.

One might assume that someone in a position of "leadership" would have to have something going for themselves to get there.

Not with this bunch! Pandering and slobbering all over Righeimer at council meetings (making real men throw up in their mouths) apparently got Fitzy his deal maker position.

That's ok. Someday...POOF... he'll be flipp'n burgers and wondering what happened.

5/28/2014 10:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Hmmm...sound familiar?

http://deadspin.com/opponents-barred-from-speaking-as-cobb-county-approves-1582556255

5/28/2014 11:44:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Mike,
Indeed it does! Yikes!

5/28/2014 11:58:00 AM  
Anonymous lovemygarden said...

Fitzpatrick is just taking note of Righeimer’s role as the new Developer-in-Chief for the City and trying to get in on the action. I don’t know if it is legal for the Mayor to approach developers and request they kick in money to the City in order to get projects approved, but the Mayor seemed comfortable talking about that from the dais. The developer of 125 Baker Street hasn’t had to pay those funds yet and I’m not holding my breath until we see it. I guess it’s not extortion until they actually pay.

I’ve heard Fitzpatrick’s rant about “Where were you people?” before. He doesn’t like residents coming to meetings because it means their comments become public record. Besides, he might actually have to make the painful effort of thinking. He, like the council majority, are happy to meet for coffee. A cup of coffee is a cheap way to silence critics.

5/28/2014 01:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

There's Fitzy, taking a dump again. This one looks quite painful. Might I suggest a little more fruit in your diet?

Fitz is all over the blog-o-sphere trying to convince people to his way of thinking. He's pretty funny because he assumes people are as stupid as he is. They aren't, of course. The funny part is that he's making a whole bunch of enemies for Righeimer. Keep up the good work. I know you can't help the constipation, since you are so full of SH*%

5/28/2014 03:46:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Actually, WMC, he was in the middle of a HUGE yawn at the time. The photo gods were with me when he did his "feeding time at the zoo" routine.

5/28/2014 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Fitzy's recent behavior reminds me of the council meeting a couple years ago where he sat in the audience and stuffed his mouth with handfuls of snack food from a giant bag.

A bunch of high school kids behind him thought the show was funny. I'm just glad they didn't throw peanuts or bananas his way..

5/28/2014 04:27:00 PM  
Anonymous And So It Goes said...

Soon presenting: Candid Costa Mesa Camera! Watch as a certain appointed official verbally and physically threatens a group of women outside Council Chambers who are fighting to improve key issues in our City. (Aggressively approaching them, verbally threatening them, and then pretending he's shooting them down with a machine gun). Next time he might want to be more careful about being caught on camera.

5/28/2014 11:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

And So It Goes, if you have that video, please, please, please post it.

5/29/2014 06:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

I, too, have heard of this latest encounter between a certain appointed city official and a few concerned residents of our city (apparently bullying threats and disclosure of knowledge of future actions they shouldn't have had knowledge of - unless they were involved to begin with - before the incidents occurred ) and I think the video taken from the security cameras outside the cc chambers (hopefully they were working) absolutely should be made public so that every voting member of our community has an opportunity to see for themselves a classic example of just who our cc majority, led by the RIGmeister, approves of and appoints for ccm "sub-committees" to then follow orders from the RIGmeister. This type of behavior is an attempt to bully, intimidate, and harrasss ( and I firmly believe this individual would NOT have, what was apparently interpreted as aggressively, approached this group had there been a male among them). Can you say misogynist?

5/29/2014 03:17:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

To Disgusted Republican,

He is indeed a misogynist!
When I questioned his constant attacks here on women only BOMOPs ( Fitzy's nickname) would mock me and others with his " oh no- the war on women!" posts.
But he exclusively attacked women residents,commentators and council members.

It's so NICE to be rid of BOMOPs here, thanks to Geoff instating new rules for commenting on BC.
Unfortunately, he's trying to fill the void by posting 24/7 on Nextdoor.com, reporting posters there and threatening some of them via personal messages. Ugh!
Oh yes- they are ALL women.

5/31/2014 09:18:00 PM  
Anonymous xyn bohemia said...

this is really scary to me. this is not the kind of behavior my santa ana army air based veteran of WWII or my grandfather vet of WWI fought for. to have their daughter, grandaughter and her peers treated in this manor by elected and appointed officials... i feel sick about it

6/01/2014 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

I hope anyone that saw or heard anything regarding that incident on the patio at city hall comes forward. That action to me would be a threat. If you know anyone, please encourage them to speak to the police about this issue.

6/02/2014 11:38:00 AM  

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