Foley And Genis On Parking, Pets And More...
RESPONSE TO PUBLIC CONCERNS
Costa Mesa City Councilwoman Katrina Foley, along with Councilwoman Sandy Genis, held a little public workshop in City Council Chambers at City Hall last night to inform interested members of the public on a few issues about which Foley has been getting inquires.
RESIDENTS AND STAFF INTERACTING
A couple dozen people attended the meeting, along with a few members of the staff, who provided the background and were available to answer questions.
BARK PARK UPDATE
First up was Recreation Manager Justin Martin, who provided us with an update on the recently-renovated Bark Park. The 10 week makeover/expansion was successful and users seem to appreciate the new turf, shade and furniture, plus other features.
HATCH ON LICENSING AND STATS
CEO Tom Hatch spoke on the pet licensing process, indicating that approximately 36% of Costa Mesa residents are pet owners. He provided us with some very interesting statistics.
For the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016 the city showed the following numbers:
- Total active animal licenses - 5,046
- 397 unaltered dogs (it costs $80.00 per year to license an unaltered dog)
- 4,591 altered dogs (it costs $25.00 per year to license an altered dog)
- 30 service dogs
- 28 non-domesticated animals which include mainly chickens, a mini pig and an iguana
- 1,265 dogs owned by senior citizens age 62 and up (it costs $40.00 for an unaltered license and $10.00 for an altered pet)
- 4,605 payments processed
- Fees collected - $116,43.20
- Check transactions processed - $83,000.07
- Cash transactions processed - $33,492.50
- Late fees collected - $2,900.00, approximately 2.5% of total fees collected
- It was estimated that there are actually 40,000 pets in the city
BAKKILA ON NEW HUMANE SOCIETY FACILITY
CMPD Lieutenant Vic Bakkila then spoke about the new arrangement with the Humane Society for the operation of a facility on Hamilton in Huntington Beach - just across the Costa Mesa border - which will be shared with Garden Grove. Genis suggested the facility could use lots of volunteers to help with the site - and to be eyes and ears for The City in case things don't go well. A half-dozen people asked questions from the audience including the use of artificial turf (Martin said we have a test strip now); the availability of dog waste bags (in theory we provide those bags at all parks); the possibility of becoming part of the new, modern County animal shelter (Foley said someone would get back to that person); how to contribute money to help with the maintenance of the Bark Park(Foley suggested contributing to the Community Foundation with the money earmarked for Bark Park use).
THE PET COMMITTEE
Dan Baker spoke of the Pet Committee, a cross-departmental group of City employees working on four points:
1 - Working with the Humane Society, including on-site visits
2 - Pet Licensing
3 - Making sure the Dog Park remains in excellent condition
4 - Community Engagement and Awareness, including knowledge of our partnering with the Humane Society. He also mentioned a September 15th Pet Prep Rally, which will include a mobile vet to administer free rabies innoculations and pets available for adoption. In October there will be something called the Howl-O-Ween.
RESIDENT-ONLY PERMIT PARKING
Next came the discussion of Permit Parking throughout the City. Transportation Services Manager Raja Sethuraman took the lead on this segment. Foley, discussing the impact of strangers parking in her Mesa Del Mar neighborhood - mostly college students from Orange Coast College - reminded us that the first week of parking at OCC each semester is FREE. She also reminded us that after that it's only $30.00 per semester. Genis spoke about landlords renting out garage space and creating on-street parking problems.
THE FAIR, COMMERCIAL AND NOW APARTMENTS
Raja told us that Permit Parking in residential neighborhoods was first the result of the Orange County Fair. Then the demand spread to neighborhoods near commercial venues. Now the impacts are coming from the large number of apartments in the city. He told us to have an area receive permit parking 51% of the neighbors must sign the petition - a sample can be provided - and that 70% of the usable parking (on street and in driveways) must be taken up during an inspection. He said we currently have 2,000 homes with parking permits. The City is divided into six zones and the permits are color-coded so they cannot be used in other zones. Each permit is good for 3 years.
GOOD PUBLIC PARTICIPATION
Eight members of the public, like Beth Refakes, address several elements of this issue. Some spoke of businesses being run out of garages, foreclosing them being used for parking. Others spoke of owners of a half-dozen cars using the streets to park them. Others spoke of the frustration of years of reporting problems but having no resolution to them. Others addressed obviously commercial trucks/trailers that are being left in residential neighborhoods. Lt. Bakkila encouraged them to call the parking hotline - 714-754-5290 - to report a problem. He said they love to haul those trucks away. He mentioned that the CMPD used to have 8 Community Service Specialists (CSS) assigned to work on parking issues. The staffing cuts in the CMPD lost all those people. Presently there are seven (7) part time aides attempting to cover the entire city. He mentioned he would work on training his sworn officers on recognition of parking decal for individual zones in the city.
Finally the discussion turned to Street Sweeping - which has been outsourced to a private company - and the difficulty folks are having in some neighborhoods because cars clog the curbs during sweeper day. Raja told us that if 50% of a section of street is not swept it could qualify for posting "No Parking On Sweeper Day" signs. He told the audience to call the Transportation Department line - 714-754-5343. He did mention that on holiday weeks - like the upcoming Labor Day holiday - NO streets will be swept due to conflicts with trash pickups.
ENDED ON TIME WITH GENERAL SATISFACTION
The meeting ended promptly at 7:30 and the attendees seemed generally satisfied with the information they received. There will be follow-up with specific neighbors on some of their specific concerns. It was a good start and a comfortable process with excellent opportunities for residents to interact with staff and council members informally.