Sunday, October 04, 2015

Small Agenda Doesn't Necessarily Mean Short Meeting

The Costa Mesa City Council meets on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 beginning at 5:45 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall for what looks like, on paper, a short meeting.  Don't let the agenda, HERE, fool you. 

There are fourteen (14) items on the Consent Calendar - those items that are considered to be routine and could be voted upon in one vote with no discussion.  Viewing those items, I suspect more than one might be pulled by a council member, staff member or member of the public for discussion and separate vote.  If that happens, those items will be heard at the very end of the meeting - one of those rules imposed by the current elected leaders to discourage discussion of important issues.

In addition, there are NO Public Hearings schedule, NO Old Business and "only" three New Business items - but those are whoppers.

Let's take the Consent Calendar and give you a taste of what's ahead.  I won't go to great lengths on most items, but will comment on a few.

Item #3, HERE, is Warrant 2543 and contains some very interesting items.  I'll list the ones that caught my eye in the order that they appear on the Warrant.  There are MANY other interesting/curious items, but I won't bore you with them here.  You can go to the link and scroll down through it.
City of Huntington Beach - $23,240.00 - Helicopter Svcs - July 2015
Civil Source - $23,110.00 - Temporary Staffing, various
Costa Mesa Conference & Visitor Bureau - $313,641,34 - BIA receipts for July 2015
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $19,204.90 - Legal Svcs, various
Mesa Art & Framing - $2,592.00 - Vinyl Utility Box Art Wrap
Meyers Nave - $502.50 - Legal, Fairview Park
Civil Source - $14,608.00 - Construction Support Services
Liebert Cassidy Whitmore - $7,580.55 - Legal, various
Scientia Consulting Group, Inc. - $6,880.00 - On-Site Tech Support 8/9-8/22
Jones & Mayer - $177,023.41 - Legal (long list)
Keolis Transit Services LLC - $16,036.02 - Senior Mobility Aug 15
Orange County Treasurer Tax Collector - $22,353.04 - Parking Citation Processing
Government Staffing Services, Inc. - $8,632.50 - Temp Svcs, various
Lowes - $6,418.93 - Telecomm. Kitchen Remodel
REFS Inc - $11,087.87 - Foreclosure Svcs, various

So, once again, we managed to spend more than $200,000 on legal services and the temporary help meter keeps on spinning, too.

Item #5, HERE, is a list of minutes for approval.  Normally I wouldn't mention this, but this entry includes the minutes of the five hour joint study session early in September at which items on the agenda later appear.  It would be good to refresh your memories on this issue.

Item #9, HERE, is the change order for the controversial Fairview Park North Bluff Trail Realignment - Change Order #3 in the amount of $82,727.00.
Item #12, HERE, should make Costa Mesa Seniors happy.  This is the donation of a 2007 Transit vehicle from the Orange County Transportation Authority that will replace a aging bus with a recent history of unreliable performance.
Item #14, HERE, is the request for approval of a $136,125 professional services agreement with Triton Technology to kick off the much-needed renovation of the technology for the City Council Chambers, the remodel of the old Print Shop and enhancements of Conference Room 1A.  The City Council has already approved budgets for nearly $3 million for all three renovations.  It's about time!

New Business #1, HERE, should be the big item of the evening.  This is the Proposed General Plan Land Use Alternative for the year 2015 - 2025 General Plan Update.  These items were thrashed out during that 5 hour joint study session on September 8th mentioned above.  You can read the full study session report HERE.  Among the items to be discussed for inclusion in the General Plan Update are:
1 - Residential Incentive Overlay
2 - Segerstrom Home Ranch
3 - Sakioka Lot 2
4 - SoBECA Mixed-Use Overlay Zone
5 - Harbor Mixed-Use Overlay Zone
6 - Fairview Development Center
7 - Los Angeles Times Site
See the staff report for details.

New Business #2, HERE, is the Proposed Urban Plan Amendment To Amend The SoBECA and Westside Urban Plans.

1. SP-05-06 SoBECA Urban Plan: This Urban Plan establishes provisions for mixed-use development, including live/work development, in the 39-acre SoBECA plan area.

2. SP-05-07 19 West Urban Plan: This Urban Plan allows horizontal and vertical mixed use development in the 103-acre 19 West Urban Plan area.

3. SP-05-08 Mesa West Bluffs Urban Plan: This Urban Plan allows live/work or residential development pursuant in the 277-acre Mesa West Bluffs Urban Plan area. In the case of the Mesa West Urban Plan, this would represent the Second Amendment to the Plan.

4. SP-05-09 Mesa West Residential Ownership Urban Plan: This Urban Plan specifies residential development standards/incentives or a density bonus in the 238-acre plan area.

See the staff report for more details on each of these proposed changes.

The final agenda item is the General Plan Screening for a 28-unit Residential Project at 440 Fair Drive.  You may recall that the developer, Steve Sheldon, delayed this process while he provided coffee and pie for concerned residents a couple weeks ago in Conference Room 1A at City Hall so he could take their temperature on this project.  At the time this was first brought up there was significant opposition to this project, which would replace a commercial building with multi-story residences that overlook neighboring single story homes.  The public comments on this issue should be interesting.
I have no idea how long this meeting will last.  The General Plan issue can affect the future of this city dramatically - and not necessarily for the better.  I suspect there may be a few interested parties in the audience Tuesday night.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

What happened to commercial above the 405? Now these high density apartment/condos are going in where LA Times was? Wouldn't that be a better place for retail? What is the fascination with these ugly condos? Once you do what is planned, but businesses don't thrive. People cannot park easily in order to get to the businesses so they don't. The only ones that I've seen, such as on MacArthur at Main, are only utilized by the people living in the attached units. This area is prime for commercial/industrial. Once you put residents in there it limits the space, as well as the surrounding areas. We are getting carried away with this high density crap.

10/05/2015 08:34:00 AM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

these self-proclaimed "business friendly" council majority members have been wiping out the local business enconomy by re-zoning more and more commercial and industrial space into high density residential. The only business they are friendly to are their own residential development interests.

The traffic is just getting worse and worse - they are trying to sell it as "cut through" traffic. Doesn't that just prove that NO ONE wants to stop and do business in Costa Mesa anymore?

They are pimping out Costa Mesa for campaign contributions.

10/05/2015 01:52:00 PM  
Anonymous College Park Resident said...

Being that I am a College Park resident, I went to one of the outreach meetings regarding 440 Fair Drive. We told the “developer” that the project was terrible and didn’t fit with the neighborhood citing:

We already have a massive high density development in College Park (Mediterranean Village).

There are already parking problems in College Park in the area surrounding 440 Fair due to Mediterranean Village not providing enough parking, this project will only make the parking issues worse.

There where no guest parking spots anywhere in the project. After our input he apparently added 4 guest spaces for the 28 units.

There will be a significant increase in traffic on Bucknell and Princeton from this project. Drivers exiting the development will not be able to turn on to Fair from Carnegie during peak traffic times.

The development entrance/exit will focus all vehicle headlights on the properties across the street when exiting the development.

A rooftop deck on the 3 story units “effectively” creates a fourth story.

The homes will look into the backyards of the existing homes.

There is no green space in the property.

It should be noted that the current property has very little impact on the neighborhood.
The result of attending the meeting is about what I have come to expect from “developers” in Costa Mesa, i.e. Developers First – screw the residents.

10/05/2015 03:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

It Has To Be Said, I strongly believe it way more than campaign contributions. (He's not building his custom home with his smile, believe me) You are absolutely correct. Who cares if its cut through traffic? ITS TRAFFIC! Banning Ranch will be cut through also, and that will be horrific for Costa Mesa. We have become basically a jobless city, so everyone has to leave in order to work. Who are they kidding with their live/work units. Haven't seen one yet. Just another bedroom, with front street access. Great for a room to rent by the hour, the that's about it.

10/05/2015 05:34:00 PM  
Anonymous lovemygarden said...

Traffic is estimated to increase at least 25% citywide, which means that some neighborhoods are going to get a whole lot more because Mesa Verde gets 0. The average daily trips on Baker and Fairview streets will each increase by 4,000 to 10,000 more trips per day over what we already have.

Harbor Boulevard and Newport Boulevard will become concrete canyons in some areas. The Bristol & Baker (SoBECA) overlay will include an additional 784 units of housing (the equivalent of 3 large apartment buildings). This does not include the 240 unit complex approved at 125 Baker Street. All of the projects will be 4 stories with rooftop decks that will count toward open space, so they can be packed in like sardines.

Residents have repeatedly asked that our neighborhood character be maintained, open space be preserved and more open space opportunities be created, traffic levels be kept safe and efficient, and we get a vibrant downtown gathering place.

Developers are getting what they want and we are going to take it up the wazoo. Please, please get your hands on the petition for the Costa Mesa First Smart Growth Ordinance and sign it, and get your friends, neighbors and relatives signatures to sign it, or there will be no stopping these projects.

10/06/2015 10:03:00 AM  

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