Planning Commissioners Push Back! What?!
The Costa Mesa Planning Commission held their first meeting of August (while their benefactors on the City Council took the rest of the month off) and it actually turned out to be an interesting, although brief, meeting.
SOBER LIVING APPEAL OFF THE AGENDA
Right off the bat Chairman Rob Dickson reminded those in attendance that Public Hearing #3, the Appeal of the Decision of the Economic and Development Services Director to Deny a Request for Reasonable Accommodation by a sober living home on Victoria Street had been removed from the agenda at the request of the appellant. There is no date for a future consideration.
During Public Comments an unidentified person jumped right into that issue, providing background only gleaned from personal investigation, and criticized the City for failure to enforce our ordinances designed to manage those type of businesses. She said it was "asking for rebellion".
GOWNS FOR THE MARINE BALL
Beth Refakes again reminded us that the Military Affairs Team is collecting lightly-used cocktail, prom and ball gowns for the women of the 1/5 Marines at Camp Pendleton for the Marine Ball in October. Donations may be dropped off at City Hall. She also reminded the commission that members of her group recently repainted the airplane at Lions Park.
MORE SOBER LIVING CONCERNS
A Costa Mesa property owner, but Laguna Beach resident, also complained about the proliferation of sober living homes in the City, and waved a copy of what looked like the map created by Take Back Our Neighborhoods (TBON) showing locations of such businesses in the city. He expressed concern for the safety of his tenants, who apparently live near some of those places.
DON'T LIKE CRITICISM
During Commissioner Comments Colin McCarthy, Jeff Mathews and Tim Sesler all angrily took exception to the representation by speakers that the City is not doing enough to managed these businesses. McCarthy reminded us it's an election season and that "snake oil salesmen they can solve the sober living home problem", and invited them to step up and do so. We presume he's referring to council candidates opposing his pals currently on the dais. His backhanded slap at unnamed candidates was not unexpected.
DON'T BLINK! ONE YEAR EXTENSION
Public Hearing #1, the request for another one-year extension on Anton Boulevard was quickly dispatched on a 5-0 vote. The commissioners were in love with the project and were only too happy to see it receive yet another extension.
THEY DIDN'T LIKE THIS ONE!
Public Hearing #2, the project at 752 and 756 West 19th Street at Wallace Avenue was quite a different story. The current owner, Michael Alladawi, took a previous project and tweaked it. Unfortunately, most of the commissioners were not buying what he was selling because of the large numbers of deviations. This project falls under an amagamation of plans - the Small Lot Ordinance for the purpose of creating fee-simple properties, and 19 West Urban Plan and the Mesa West Bluffs Urban Plan. Even planner Ryan Loomis admitted confusion when he inherited this project. Problems with parking, setbacks, undergrounding utilities and much more created unease for the commissioners. Their solution was to kick the can down the road. They voted, 5-0, after consulting with the applicant, to continue this issue to a date uncertain to allow the applicant time to step back and work on the issues troubling the commissioners. The alternative would have been to deny the project.
PARKING AND MISUSE OF SPACE
During the public comments segment of this item several members of the public spoke.
Jay Humphrey was concerned about parking and the potential for the lower floor "work" area to become a defacto rental unit. He was also concerned that, although our plans call for a minimum of 1 acre lot size, this project is only one quarter of that size.
An unidentified person showed a painting of the slums of Rio and told the commission this is what they are approving. She referred to some of the new Westside developments as "stack-a-shacks".
GAVE AWAY RIGHT-OF-WAY BEFORE
Cynthia McDonald, a member of the Bikeway and Walkability Committee, reminded the commissioners that there was a right-of-way deeded to this project which likely has created a problem for future bike-oriented infrastructure.
"RUINING THE WESTSIDE"
Rick Huffman was also concerned about parking and indicated that builders are being allowed to abuse our plans and the commissioners are "ruining the Westside".
GENERAL PLAN REVIEW
New Business #1, the review of the previous General Plan only took a couple minutes. McDonald pointed out an error that will be corrected before the General Plan is forwarded to the City Council.
DEL MAR AVENUE BEAUTIFICATION PROJECT COMPLETE
City Engineer Bart Mejia announced to the Commissioners that the Del Mar Avenue Beautification Project at the corner of Newport Boulevard is now completed. He showed us this photo, but didn't tell us how much it cost. It's taken awhile.
Labels: Colin McCarthy, Costa Mesa Planning Commission, development, Jay Humphrey, Jeff Mathews, Mesa West Bluffs Urban Plan, Rob Dickson, Small Lot Ordinance, Sober Living Homes, Stephan Andranian, Timothy Sesler