Friday, December 11, 2015

It's Snoopy House Time Again!


SATURDAY IS THE KICK-OFF
Tomorrow evening, Saturday, December 12, 2015, is the grand kick-off of the Snoopy House adventure at Costa Mesa City Hall.  Beginning Saturday every evening through December 23rd, from 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. ,the event will be open to the public.
PEANUTS AND SANTA...
As always, the animated Peanuts characters are a real treat. Santa will be on hand every night from 7-9 and families will have the opportunity to have free photos taken with him.
...AND SNOW!
This year they've added something new - snow!  Yep, according to the press release, HERE, ten (10) tons of snow will be delivered to the city on the City Hall lawn for the grand opening, with another delivery expected on December 19th, depending on the weather.
THANKS TO THE JORDANS
Thanks to the Jordan family, who created this masterful piece of holiday celebration almost a half-century ago, and to the City of Costa Mesa, who salvaged it and made it possible for a new generation to enjoy it.
GUARANTEED FUN FOR ALL
I've been to this event every year and always had fun watching the families enjoying the Peanuts characters, the illumination on City Hall and the whole "small town" feel of it.
SEE YOU THERE
So, see you tomorrow night and, maybe, several nights thereafter - you just never know.

Labels: ,

Development, Marijuana Prohibition and The Halal Guys



COULD BE A LONG ONE
The Costa Mesa Planning Commission meets for the only time this month on Monday, December 14, 2015 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall.  You can read the agenda for that meeting HERE.  It looks like this meeting could run long due to the nature of a couple of the items on the agenda.  We'll see.
420 WALNUT PLACE
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is of particular interest to me since it involves a large lot in my Eastside neighborhood.  On our frequent walks over the decades we've lived here we've watched this lot, identified in this agenda item as 410 Walnut Place, and have fantasized about what the future of that large chunk of land might be.  A few years ago two lots fronting Tustin Avenue were carved out and developed.  Since that time we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop.  Monday it drops.  This item is for a Tentative Tract Map to prepare the site for development into five (5) individual home sites.  While no development is currently in the works, this is the first step.  As part of this process the existing structures on this huge lot will be demolished.  There are NO variations or deviations asked for since each lot meets or exceeds development standards for R-1 lots.  While a few of the nearby neighbors may attend to comment/protest the increase in traffic/congestion the development will mean to this neighborhood, it really has been inevitable.  This is a slam-dunk.
ANOTHER SMALL LOT DEVELOPMENT
Public Hearing #2, HERE,  is another small lot development at 217 Cabrillo Street.  It requests no variances or administrative adjustment.  One peculiarity is the use of the alley as the "front" of one of the units.  This is discussed in the staff report.  It's unlikely the commission will not pass this one.
PROHIBITING CULTIVATION OF MARIJUANA
Public Hearing #3 , HERE, should be VERY interesting!  This item is in response to the passage of three recent bills, signed into law by Governor Brown, AB 243, AB 266 and SB 643, which, combined, are known as the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act, are discussed in detail as part of the staff report.  This item will create a new ordinance to specifically prohibit the cultivation of Marijuana in the City.  It will amend the Municipal code as follows:

• Chapter 1, adding new definitions related to marijuana and/or medical marijuana cultivation and related enforcement.
• Chapter IV, adding cultivation of marijuana and/or medical marijuana as a prohibited use in all zoning districts
• Chapter IX, adding Article 20 with specific regulations related to medical marijuana and/ or marijuana cultivation. 

As I said, this should be a VERY interesting discussion and I won't be surprised if we have more than a few speakers - you know, farmers and the like - addressing this issue.

HALAL GUYS EXTENDED HOURS
Public Hearing #4, HERE, is the appeal of the Zoning Administrators denial of extended hours for The Halal Guys restaurant at 3033 Bristol Street.  This item was continued from the October 26th meeting and the result is a modified proposal, shown in the chart.  This restaurant has been wildly successful since opening and, as is usually the case with such success stories, there are unanticipated issues to deal with.  The primary concern expressed previously was the impact on nearby residential neighbors.

VALET PARKING CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT
Public Hearing #5, HERE, is related to the previous item because it is a request for a Conditional Use Permit by the property owner at 3033 Bristol for on-site valet parking services to accommodate peak hour demands of the restaurant uses.
NEXT MEETING NEXT YEAR
The next Planning Commission meeting will be held on January 11, 2016.

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Costa Mesa Ambulance Service Study


CONSULTANT STUDY AVAILABLE 
The City of Costa Mesa has posted a link to the 51-page report from consultants A.P. Triton, LLC titled "CMFD Ambulance Service Feasibility Study", which can be viewed HERE

OFFSHOOT OF CHIEF ARNOLD'S PLAN
This study has been a long time coming and is an offshoot of the deployment model created by former Interim Fire Chief Tom Arnold a few years ago which was presented several times to the City Council.  Part of that model involved the acquisition of six Paramedic Rescue Vans and would include the transportation of accident victims and others by those vans and produce significant revenues to the City as a result.  The current private transport ambulance service would be dropped under that plan.
WE BOUGHT THE VANS, BUT...
For reasons unclear at this time - but about which we can speculate - Arnold's plan never seemed to get the attention needed to fully implement it.  The six vans were acquired - to the tune of more than $1.6 million - nearly 18 months ago and the deployment model was tentative due to the need to make significant repairs/replacements to fire stations.  Right now we have three (3) of the six deployed - sometimes four (4) - with the others in reserve awaiting final decisions and staffing authorizations.  And, Arnold's model included a cost savings by closing our newest, most modern fire station - #6, on the north side of the I-405 Freeway.
CHIEF STEFANO WILL PRESENT IN JANUARY
Fire Chief Dan Stefano has been working hard to massage this process and this effort by consultants on our behalf is the most recent step.  This report was received the afternoon of the last City Council meeting, so Stefano and his staff had not had a chance to digest it.  He gave a very short, un-agendized,  presentation to the council during CEO Tom Hatch's reporting time, during which Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer demanded that a cost estimate for paramedics to be assigned to the private haulers be included in the presentation of this study, to be heard by the council in January.  To those of us observing it seemed like a ploy to perpetuate the participation of private haulers in this process.  It will come as no surprise to know that the current hauler, CARE Ambulance - which holds the contract worth several million dollars each year - is a significant campaign contributor to Righeimer.
INVESTIGATION OF A FAMILY CONNECTION?
Of even greater interest is persistent rumor - as yet unsubstantiated - about the possibility of a familial connection to the Danish owner of CARE Ambulance, Falck Corporation, to Righeimer's family.  Falck also owns G4S Secure Solutions, the outsourced company that secured a contract worth around $60,000 per month to manage our Jail.  Interested parties are investigating this issue,
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
When you read this report - I have, twice - you'll see that the option shown on the chart below from the report that seems to make the most sense is option #2, which has the Costa Mesa Fire Department assume ALL medical transport responsibilities and results in over $4 million in NEW revenue to the city.  It's going to be very interesting to see what kind of a report Stefano and Hatch put together for the council early next year, and what part Righeimer's demands play in it.
WHAT ABOUT STATIONS 1 AND 6... AND THE CONTRACT?
There are many issues to consider in this complex puzzle, including the future of the Metro Station - Station #6 - now that more high and mid-rise development is in the works for the north side of the freeway.  Also, the future of Station #1, on Royal Palm in the Mesa Verde section of town, is under consideration and $8 million has been bandied around as the cost to replace that aging structure at it's current location.  However, there is in existence a previous consultant study that proposes an alternate location for that facility that seems to have been all but forgotten.  Again, there are many pieces to this puzzle.  And kind of lost in the shuffle is the fact that the firefighters are working without a contract.  This uncertainty complicates recruitment and management issues.
STUDY THE REPORT AND WRITE...
So, take some time between now and the new year to read through the Feasibility Study and voice your opinions to Hatch, Stefano and your council members.  I know they will love to hear from you.

Labels: , , , , ,

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Daily Pilot Editor Steps Up


(Photo credit to the Daily Pilot)
CANALIS PROMOTED 
In an article in the Daily Pilot today, HERE, it was announced that John Canalis, Editor of the Times Community News in Orange County, will become Executive Editor of Times Community News and oversee other TCN newspapers, which are currently managed out of the Los Angeles Times facility in Los Angeles.

EVANS DEPARTING
Dan Evans, who some may recall spent some time as editor of the TCN papers in Orange County for a short time, has been Canalis' counterpart and is leaving the organization next week, so Canalis will absorb all his responsibilities and split his time between Los Angeles and the Orange County facility in Fountain Valley.

GREAT OPPORTUNITY FOR A GREAT GUY
This is a wonderful opportunity for Canalis in a world of print journalism that is fraught with uncertainty these days.  The LA Times has been offering buyouts to many staff members - Evans is taking one of those buyouts - so many familiar and famous names will no longer appear under that iconic masthead.  But, with those departures there are opportunities such as this one as the organization morphs into the new digitally-oriented age.

WE WISH HIM WELL
We have had a good relationship with John Canalis and wish him all the best in this new adventure.  He's one of the really good guys in this business and certainly deserves this promotion.

Labels: , , ,