Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Planning Commission Meeting Full Of No Surprises

The Costa Mesa Planning Commission meeting last night went just about as anticipated and lasted just a hair past three hours when Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick adjourned the meeting until December 8th.

The meeting was kicked off with a real treat on the eve of Veterans Day.  World War II veteran David Lester - a man who served with distinction in the United States Army and received multiple citations for valor, including the Bronze Star - stood to lead us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
During Public Comments Shirley McDaniel asked for sidewalks along Anaheim Street;  Cindy Black stepped up to chastise Chairman Fitzpatrick and commissioners Tim Sesler and Colin McCarthy for their activities on social media; Mary Spadoni recognized Veterans Day and spoke of the festivities at the Fairgrounds Tuesday and Barry Fisher opined that the Group Home Ordinance needs to be expanded to include R-2 properties and complained that Dr. Phil was referring rehab patients to Costa Mesa.

Public Hearings #1 and #3 both were continued to the meeting on December 8th, as expected.

Public Hearing #2, the 89 unit development in the 1600 block of Whittier Avenue on the far western border of the city that includes many so-called live/work units, began at 6:30 and ended with a 5-0 vote to approve it at 9:04 p.m.  In between a dozen residents spoke on the project, most of them against it, including Mesa Water Director Fred Bockmiller, shown here, who was on both of the citizen committees a decade ago that cobbled together the skeleton of the Westside Plans.  Among the complaints/concerns expressed by him and the others were the shade and shadow impact on the adjacent mobile home park; the practical usability of a 250 square foot "work" element of the live/work units; the validity of the traffic impacts provided by staff; the lack of low income housing; pollution and confusion for the elderly residents of the mobile home park during construction and the apparent lack of "green" elements.  Concerns were also expressed about the development not being "family friendly", citing lack of nearby shopping and schools and insufficient play areas for children.

It was no surprise at all that the commission passed this item.  Consultant Don Lamm - former Director of Development Services and Deputy City Manager for Costa Mesa - deftly parried each thrust by concerned residents, including dredging up the decade-old Westside Plan which has been the foundational document for many of these types of developments over the past couple years.  He basically said, "Hey, don't blame us - we're just building what you told us to build with these plans!"  He also suggested that, with the passage of time during which those plans laid dormant, the views of the populace may have changed since they were adopted by the then-Planning Commission and City Council.  He, of course, was running the Planning Department at the time.

Later, during the lead-up to the vote, McCarthy agreed that the plans should be pulled up for formal discussion, to see if they still represent the views of the people now.  In the meantime, developments based on those plans are popping up like mushrooms all over the Westside.

It will be interesting to see if the pro-development atmosphere changes following the final tally on the election last week.  It is expected that we might have some final numbers by the end of this week in one of the closest races in recent memory. 

If Jim Righeimer fails to be returned to the City Council the whole dynamic of that group will change dramatically.  Even if he does defeat Jay Humphrey - who attended the meeting last night and spoke with concern about the project - it is very obvious that he does not have the overwhelming support he anticipated.  Quite the opposite.  His precarious position as I write these words - a slim 35 vote lead over Humphrey with many more votes to be counted - and the overwhelming defeat of Measure "O" -  another of his Charter schemes - by an even greater margin than two years ago, tells me that the voters DO NOT support his methods.  We'll see how that plays out over the next few days.

In the meantime, we wait, and wait, and wait...

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

We will not forget McCarthy for his treatment of this city. He's disgusting on many levels.

Give me a break with the General Plan, and it being what the residents wanted. Lamm is disingenuous when he indicates such. The Planning Commission grants variances and amendments and exemptions to often and so easily that it has no bearing on the General Plan. Does he think we don't see through that? Does he care? Nope. You and I both know those ugly prisons will be built anyway, with no infrastructure improvements whatsoever. The developers and developers and their buddies just want to make a fast buck.

11/11/2014 07:29:00 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

I don't see mandate as an issue with Righeimer at all. That's for politicians who care about their constituents.

All I see here is a guy who wants to serve the ocgop, developers, and other Tea baggers.

11/11/2014 08:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...

Mr. Lester is a tireless volunteer who served in WWII and Korea. He was honored with the French Legion of Honor and has earned a Bronze Star with V, Bronze Star and a Purple Heart, among others. He will be speaking at the Historical Society (www.costamesahistory.org) on Sunday, November 16th about his participation in the Battle of the Bulge. Here is his bio:


It is an honor to know him!

11/11/2014 09:33:00 AM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

I agree completely with Joe. If, God forbid, Righeimer wins, you are fooling yourself if you think he will take the narrow election result and charter throttling to heart and will make any changes in the way he "governs" or deals with the many issues facing this city. If anything, he will be more indignant, more self-serving and more of the complete schmuck he has been.

11/11/2014 09:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...

These charlatans have taken an active role in ruining our city and have encouraged developent that flies in the face of responsible growth. They cowardly hide behind an outdated overlay.

Their "concern" for the citizens is their only transparency. All contributed $$$$ to Righeimer's re-election coffers.

Yes, I do take it personally. They chastised my neighbors and me for taking an active role in speaking to the developments that dearly affect us. Their abusive remarks directed at us PERSONALLY proves they did not listen to what we said, and their ignorance of the project prove they did not care to read up on the history of the Cadillac dealership.

I am still getting over my gag reflex every time I see them. But, I am brushing up on these upcoming projects and will be back to speak FOR my neighbors.

11/11/2014 10:00:00 AM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

First hand obsevation last night, the pc members were on their best behavior exhibiting concern over resident input..
hmmm...could the "count and the unknown" be part of their good behavior...

11/11/2014 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...

This is their MO: At the first hearing they act as if they care. Then they meet with the developer and collect contributions. At the second hearing they bash citizens for speaking up, and push the project through. Before and between the meetings they do nothing else to educate themselves.

I believe they act concerned to get some positive "sound bites" for their future campaigns. Their greed will be thier legacy. Charletans. Jokers. Liars. Sycophants.

They will abandon their dead master like fleas from a carcass....

11/11/2014 03:54:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Riggy had a little Lamm...

11/11/2014 04:38:00 PM  
Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

21 vote difference. I wish some of the candidates with very few votes had thought more about what would happen if they ran.

11/11/2014 05:09:00 PM  

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