Planning Commission "Continues" General Plan Two Weeks
GENERAL PLAN REVIEWED, THEN CONTINUED
Monday night the Costa Mesa Planning Commission, minus Chairman Rob Dickson who was absent due to illness, heard the staff report, two excellent reports from consultants and comments from fifteen (15) residents, then decided to "continue" the item until their meeting on April 25th.
FLYNN CLARIFIES THE SCHEDULE
The meeting began when Assistant Development Services Director Claire Flynn provided some clarification of the staff report and corrected the presumption by many in the community that the Commission would vote to move the General Plan and the Draft Environmental Impact Report to the City Council. She confirmed that the commission is under no obligation to do so and, in fact, would be well-advised to wait until after April 18th - the final day for written comments on the documents - before beginning to consider sending it up to the council. More no that in a minute.
During Public Comments a half-dozen residents addressed several issues.
SOCIAL MEDIA EXAMINED
Cindy Black suggested that, since Commissioner Tim Sesler is such a fan of a prominent social media page, he should investigate the Fairview Park Preservation Alliance page and the Costa Mesa Sandbox page - where one can post without fear of retribution.
FAIRVIEW PARK DEFENDED
Kim Hendricks spoke on Fairview Park and the illegal activities that have happened there over the years using her slide show to demonstrate the problem areas.
RIGHEIMER CROWING PREMATURE
An unidentified person told the commission that the settlement between The City and Solid Landings is not yet finalized - it has not been signed yet - so the crowing by "you-know-who" is premature. We presume she meant Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer. She also alerted us all to a group home at 126 E. Rochester.
WATER CONSERVATION EMPHASIZED
Tamar Goldmann addressed an article in the Los Angeles Times on the need to conserve water and told the commission they need to be cognizant of that fact when approving projects. She said we should be requiring permeable pavers whenever possible.
SOBER LIVING HOME C.U.P.
Mary Spadoni addressed the issue that had been removed from the agenda - the request for a Conditional Use Permit for to contiguous sober living homes and wondered why it was even on the agenda in the first place since we have ordinances against what they want to do.
NEARBY NEIGHBOR ALSO CONCERNED
An unidentified young man spoke to the same issue. He didn't know the item was not on the agenda until he arrived at Council Chambers. He owns property nearby and is concerned about the impact of those homes on the neighborhood.
During Commissioner Comments Sesler thanked that unidentified person for the information on the Solid Landings settlement - but he called it "Solid Living"....
ABANDON SOCIAL MEDIA
Colin McCarthy suggested we all need to stop using social media and cited things he did with the time he saved by abandoning Facebook recently.
Both items on the Consent Calendar were handled quickly but separately because McCarthy had a conflict on the second one. The first passed, 4-0 and the second, 3-0.
That left the General Plan and Draft EIR. Staffer Minoo Ashabi led the discussion and introduced the consultants that would be participating. She also mentioned that the City Council had directed staff to NOT include any mention of Affordable Housing in the General Plan - perhaps because of the pending $20 million bond measure that Righeimer is using as a vindictive tool to flog the affordable housing advocates into submission. Ashabi gave us an outline of where we stand now. The following slides were part of her presentation.
FINANCIAL IMPACT OF THE GENERAL PLAN
Consultant Roger Dale of the Natelson-Dale Group provided us with a PowerPoint presentation on the Financial Implications of the General Plan as proposed. These slides were his presentation. Most of them are easily-read, but click on the image to enlarge any of them if necessary.
Following his presentation a representative of Stantec provided a discussion of the traffic impact of the General Plan through 2035. These are his slides - most of which are hard to read except for the titles.
During Public Comments several people stepped up to offer suggestions/criticisms.
Flo Martin cited all the hard work the Bikeways and Walkability Committee had done for nearly a year to prepare their goals, objectives and polices for inclusion in the General Plan, only to have Righeimer tell them that their "policies" really should be "recommendations" - despite the fact that the committee had been using a format and template provided by the staff.
"REPURPOSING" FAIRVIEW PARK?
Jay Humphrey cited sections in the General Plan that mentioned that Fairview Park should be "repurposed", and that was inconsistent with the current plan and certainly not consistent with the wishes of the people.
Kim Hendricks outlined several sections in the documents that were inconsistent and needed to be corrected. She spoke of the many protected species in the park - the Burrowing Owl and the San Diego Fairy Shrimp, just to mention two - that were in danger of being lost by mismanagement of the park.
DISREGARD FOR SAFETY
Cynthia McDonald, who has attended almost every meeting on the General Plan for the past three years, mentioned that she was preparing a written report/suggestions/corrections, but cited one item at this time - that she perceives a disregard for safety in this document. She said there is no plan for managing the increase in pollution generated by the increase in traffic that the build-out of this plan will produce.
Kathy Esfahani spoke on the lack of Affordable Housing in the General Plan, cited a letter generated in December of 2015 to which she has received no reply from staff. She bemoaned the loss of the motels, which provide de facto affordable housing for many Costa Mesans, and said she will cover "Three Fictions" in a letter.
A REMINDER - "YOU CAN'T ACT TONIGHT!"
Cindy Black reminded the commission that they CANNOT act on the General Plan until at least April 18th.
MORE ON WATER
Tamar Goldmann continued with her observations that water needs to be part of this plan.
TRAFFIC AND TBON
An unidentified person expressed concern about the 22% increase in traffic, the lack of affordable housing and the proliferation of rehab homes in the city that seem to have not found a place in the General Plan documents. She also suggested a visit to the TBON web page where a pin map showing sober living homes in the city may be found.
AIR QUALITY AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Andrea Marr cited the need to get the numbers straight - the consultants numbers varied significantly - and the need to consider Air Quality in the plan somewhere. She also observed that many of her friends - young professionals - are leaving Costa Mesa for more affordable housing elsewhere.
Another unidentified person wondered how much of our tax dollars were spent generating these reports. She said Dr. Phil promotes rehab homes in Costa Mesa and the Los Angeles Times referred to our city as "Rehab Riviera".
Linda Teng spoke on behalf of the Costa Mesa Affordable Housing Coalition.
HIGH DENSITY HOUSING AND TRAFFIC
Richard Huffman was concerned about the proliferation of high density housing planned and the traffic it will bring.
SAFETY A CONCERN
Wendy Leece spoke about the need for the Safety element - parts of which had been dropped in the new plan. She was concerned about the levels of service by both Fire and Police.
HOPE YOU ALL READ IT ALL
Robin Leffler thanked Vice Chair Jeff Mathews for his smooth handling of the meeting in Dickson's absence, then hoped that all the commissioners had read both documents so they will be prepared to make sound judgments.
LESS COPS, MORE CRIME
Mary Spadoni also cited the fact that we have fewer officers and much more crime now. She also cited the financial and traffic impacts of Sober Living Homes seem not to have been considered in both documents.
LOOKING FOR CLARIFICATION
During the subsequent discussion both McCarthy and Stephan Andranian said they supported continuing the issue until their next meeting. McCarthy wanted clarification of some of the disparities in some of the numbers, including the traffic numbers. Andranian echoed that sentiment and said he was looking forward to reading all the written responses.
Sesler made a strange comment about "confusion and skepticism" about some of the numbers and said it would have been good to have a brief summary of the consultants qualifications. The guy is just unbelievable!
CONTINUED, WITH AN EARLY WRAP-UP
The commission voted, 4-0, to continue this item to their April 25th meeting and the meeting ended at 8:02 p.m.! Yea!