General Plan Changes And More On Tuesday's Council Agenda
The Costa Mesa City Council meets again in council chambers at City Hall on Tuesday, September 20, 2016 beginning at 5:45 p.m. The agenda for that meeting may be found HERE. It will be preceded by a short Closed Session to discuss anticipated litigation - we here a lot these days - beginning at 5:00.
There will be a presentation of the Mayor's Award to Randy Barth, Founder and CEO of THINK Together Shalimar Learning Center, followed by Public Comments and Council Member Comments and CEO Comments.
The Consent Calendar has thirteen (13) items on it, and all will be voted upon in one vote unless someone - a council member, staff member or member of the public - pulls an item for separate discussion. Under normal - if you can call it that - circumstances those items pulled will be trailed to the end of the meeting to discourage public discussion. Sometimes that tactic works.
Item #2, HERE, is Warrant 2563, which represents the expenditure of more than $7 million in our revenue. I'm not going to list the many issues that I find of concern, but will touch on a couple general categories. For example:
- We spent just over $250,000 on legal fees again!
- We spent $27,020.00 to Huntington Beach for helicopter services.
- We spent $57,291.98 on contract street sweeping.
- We spent $117, 782.00 on contract landscape maintenance.
- We spent $322,105.66 to Travel Costa Mesa for BIA receipts for July.
- We spent $53,340.62 on our contract Jail services.
- We spent $144,452.66 for architectural planning and design for the new library.
- We spent $101,247.70 on tree maintenance.
- And, we spent tens of thousands of dollars on contractors and temporary services to back fill empty positions. Take a look at the register of payments for more information.
SCHOOL RESOURCE OFFICERS
Item #6, HERE, is the renewal of the School Resource Officer program with the Newport Mesa Unified School District for this school year. The cost for two officers is $426,282, of which half is covered by the school district.
PORTABLE OFFICE COMPLEX AND SITE CONSTRUCTION
Item #11, HERE, is a fascinating item. This is a request by Interim Public Services Director James Ross to accept the withdrawal of the low bidder on the project to provide temporary facilities for the Fire Department while Fire Station #1 is being rebuilt. The contractor requested to withdraw. The request goes on to reject all bids and handle the item as a "force account", where the work is done by individual "artisans" and the city will act as its own contractor. This requires a 4/5 vote of the council. The option is to rebid the job, which will delay the project significantly. I'm wondering, since we are spending nearly $1 million on contract engineers presently due to staff shortages, just who is going to be the project engineer on this activity? This part of the project was budgeted for $500,000, but there's no indication of just how much this new scheme will cost, and if the cost of a contract project engineer is included.
VACATION OF RIGHT-OF-WAY ALONG W. 17TH STREET
Public Hearing #1, HERE, is for the vacation of excess right-of-way adjacent to the Superior Point development along 17th Street at Superior Avenue. This was continued while the City's Bikeway and Walkability Committee reviewed it - which it apparently did at the meeting of September 7, 2016. They voted to receive and file the report. Apparently there is no way to adequately include bikeway or walkability capabilities along that stretch of roadway now that the project is being built and another just down the street at the corner of 17th Street and Pomona Avenue is under construction. Seems a shame.
ARTS AND LEARNING CONSERVATORY APPROVAL APPEAL
Public Hearing #2, HERE, is the appeal of the Planning Commissions approval of the Arts and Learning Conservatory and Shared Parking Requirements at 3184 Airway Avenue, Suite A. This was approved by the Planning Commission on June 13th and the appeal was filed on June 17th. The council was to have heard this item at the meeting of August 2nd, but it was continued so the City Attorney could properly review documents submitted by the appellant at that time. The appellant says the proposed use is not compatible with the other uses within the complex. This is a "de novo" hearing, which means the entire project may be heard in its entirety. The council may consider all aspects of the proposed use and is not required to limit the discussion to the appellant's issues in the appeal.
RE-ZONING AND RE-DESIGNATING FAIRVIEW DEVELOPMENT CENTER
Public Hearing #3, HERE, is first reading of an ordinance which, if adopted as recommended by the Planning Commission, will allow implementation of the new zoning district, Institutional & Recreational - Multi-Use, as well as rezone the Fairview Development Center, 2501 Harbor Boulevard, property to this new zoning type to correlate with the new general plan land-use designation, Multi-Use Center, which was adopted for this property in June 2016 as part of the 2015-2035 General Plan.
HARBOR AND NEWPORT BLVD. MIXED USE OVERLAYS
Public Hearing #4, HERE, is a first reading of an ordinance to include the Harbor Boulevard Mixed-Use Overlay District between Wilson Street and 19th Street, and add a new article to the Code pertaining to the Residential Incentive Overlay Districts on Harbor Blvd. and Newport Blvd. as adopted in the 2015-2035 General Plan. It establishes standards for new development in these overlay districts. More than a few folks around down think this codifies the latest attempt at developer enrichment in our city.
HOME RANCH DEVELOPMENT AGREEMENT AMENDMENT
Old Business #1, HERE, is the fourth amendment to the Segerstrom Home Ranch Development Agreement. The council passed the first reading on August 6, 2016 on a 5-0 vote.
NEW SENIOR COMMISSIONER SELECTION
New Business #1, HERE, is the appointment of a new member of the Senior Commission, replacing the departed former Chair, Ernie Feeney. There are seven (7) applicants for this vacancy. It will be interesting to see what role cronyism plays in this selection. The applicants are:
- Ron Amburgey
- Charlene M. Ashendorf
- Patricia Fause
- Darrell Neft
- Gary Parkin
- Gracie Ruano
- Judy Takaya
CHANGING A COUNCIL MEETING TO ATTEND AN EVENT
New Business #2, HERE, is an interesting issue. This is request to cancel the regularly scheduled City Council meeing of October 18, 2016 and call for a Special Meeting either the day before or after.
Apparently the City Council has received an invitation from the Segerstrom Center for the Arts for the honoring of Julianne and George Argyros and the staff report says, "There has been interest to move the City Council meeting on October 18, 2016 to another date." I was curious about just whom expressed "interest" in shifting the date of the important business of the city - presuming it was Mayor Steve Mensinger, who worked for George Argyros at Arnel for many years. I was told that "several members of the council and senior staff" were interested in changing the meeting. Uh, huh.. if you say so. Don't get me wrong... the Argyros' have been pillars of the Arts community in our city for decades and most certainly deserve this recognition. I just wonder if we would be doing this if Mensinger was not the mayor?
WEDNESDAY I'LL GIVE YOU MY TAKE ON IT
It will be an interesting meeting, again. I'll report on the happenings on Wednesday.