Short Parks & Rec. Commission Meeting
The Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission, most of them, met Thursday night for what I thought might be a fairly short meeting that actually turned out even shorter! Commissioners Byron de Arakal and Robert Graham were absent from this meeting.
TWO ITEMS PULLED FROM THE AGENDA
Two tree removal items were yanked from the agenda and moved forward to the meeting of October 22, 2015, which left us only one remaining tree removal item and the always-interesting discussion on lighted fields. As it was, the meeting ended about 7:40, and could have been even shorter except for the kind of circular waltz that was done with the tree removal request.
MARINE CANDY DRIVE
There was only one speaker during Public Comments. The omnipresent Beth Refakes, a stalwart on the Military Affairs Team, stepped up and reminded us of the Halloween Candy Drive for the children of 1/5 Marines from Camp Pendleton. There's a box in the City Hall lobby in which individually-wrapped candy may be placed. The Military Affairs Team will transport the collection to Camp Pendleton near the end of October, in time for their annual celebration. Kudos to Beth and the other members of the team.
TEMPORARY FIELD LIGHT ROTATION PLAN
First, the item on the agenda concerning a rotation plan for temporary lights at three different venues over the next three years, which was expected to resolve some of the problems of having one neighborhood burdened with lights near their homes year after year. The plan was to place lights at Back Bay High School this year, at Harper Elementary School next year and Kaiser Elementary School the following year. The staff has been meeting with residents near Back Bay High School to smooth out the plan, but a few attended this meeting with questions/concerns. According to the staff report, an Ambassador will be in attendance every night the lights are required and will turn them off at 7:30, or earlier if the teams depart earlier. According to Recreation Manager Travis Karlen, the cost for this season - which includes Diesel Fuel, Field Ambassador's Salary, Maintenance and Repair and Sound Curtains to muffle the noise - will be $8,000.
DENTED GARAGE DOOR
Resident Kathleen Murphy, who lives across the street from Back Bay High School on Monte Vista, worried about the other sports being played there - Lacrosse, specifically, because of the dents in her garage door from misfired balls and the lights from the school late at night.
Derrick Spaulding, also a Bayview Terrace resident, echoed Stiffler's concerns and was worried about the proximity of the goals to his property line because he felt it would result in too many balls flying over his fence.
WHAT ABOUT THE NUMBERS?
Eastside resident Katie Arthur, who has been here before because her property backs up to Harper School, expressed concern because she and others have not been able to get actual numbers on how many children are involved in the leagues using these fields from AYSO 97. She also observed that an expert that testified a year ago indicated the lights chosen were wrong for the application. She also wondered how many kids involved are from Newport Beach, and what Newport is doing to help with the situation.
AN ANONYMOUS ECHO
Another resident who preferred not to identify herself echoed Arthur's concerns about the numbers, citing Anna Vrska's difficulty getting statistics during her tour on the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee. Regarding the lights, she suggested a technical consultant.
After more discussion Eckles moved to approve the rotation plan as outlined in the staff report, but that instead of beginning on October 15th the start date should be moved ahead to October 1st. The motion passed on a 3-0 vote.
TREE REMOVAL AT 1653 LABRADOR DRIVE
Next up was the tree removal request by Robert Harrington at 1653 Labrador Drive. Mr. Harrington has lived at that address for 47 years and has seen two City trees installed. The first was a Brazilian Pepper, which destroyed the walkway, so the city removed it and replaced it with the tree in question - a 20 year-old Liquid Amber, which is doing the same thing.
OOPS... NEW INFORMATION!
Mr. Harrington is re-landscaping his entire front yard and the parkway where this tree is located to comply with the demands for water conservation. The tree in question has already begun to raise the sidewalk, in a recent revelation, begun damaging his sewer lateral. This is important because, as it turns out, had the staff known there was sewer damage they could have - on their on hook - authorized the removal of the tree as a Category 1 removal - for health and safety reasons - and either replaced it with another tree species or not replaced it at all if the property owner chose not to.
TOOK TOO LONG, BUT THEY GOT THERE
Unfortunately, the discussion went round and round and round before this information finally became apparent. Mr. Harrington had brought with him a video of the inside of his sewer lateral which, he says, shows the root incursion and pipe damage. We didn't see the video. The upshot, after much too long a conversation, was that the City will remove the tree as a Category 1 removal assuming the video actually does show the damage and "will work with" Mr. Harrington regarding a replacement tree. Although not required to do so under those terms, Mr. Harrington said he and his wife would pay for a replacement tree to be installed elsewhere in the city. Since he made that committment BEFORE the full facts were known, he may not have to do that. The motion was passed on a 3-0 vote.
RECREATION MANAGERS SUMMER REPORT
The last thing on the agenda, for which we had no staff report, is Karlen's Summer Report. So, I'll just let you try to get the gist of it from these images I took as he spoke about the very successful summer programs, which served the youth, adults and senior citizens for the past three months. He did mention that the Concerts In The Park series had an average attendance of 1,500 people and raised over $10,000.
At the end Eckles asked Karlen about fees, particularly at the Senior Center. He responded that they seemed to be in line with other senior centers nearby, but that they will be investigating ways to reduce them using grant funding.
NEXT MONTH MORE FUN
Chairman Kim Pedersen adjourned the meeting to October 22, 2015.