No Surprises At Planning Commission Meeting
IT SEEMED LONGER
The Costa Mesa Planning Commission - with all members present for the first time in awhile - met again Monday night and it took them almost three hours to wade through two agenda items. It wasn't a long night - it just seemed that way.
MILITARY AFFAIRS COLLECTIONS
During Public Comments, Beth Refakes reminded us that there's still time to donate ball gowns and cocktail dresses to the women of the 1/5 Marines for the Marine Ball. The cutoff date is September 15th. She also reminded us that next week the Military Affairs Team will begin collecting individually-wrapped candy for the children of the 1/5 Marines for the "Trunk or Treat" event.
UPCOMING TOWN HALL
Mary Spadoni told us that there's going to be a town hall on September 22nd covering Public Safety and Sober Living Homes.
KUDOS ON BANNING RANCH.... AND SOBER LIVING HOMES
An unidentified person complimented Cindy Black for her photo in the Daily Pilot when the Banning Ranch decision was made last week, stating that it was a victory for the people. She also told the commissioners that eight of the 15 sober living homes theoretically closed as part of the Solid Landings settlement have reopened.
None of the commissioners had comments.
UFC GYM APPROVED
Public Hearing #1, the request for a UFC Gym replacing a Mitusbishi auto dealership on Harbor Blvd. began just after 6:10 and the vote was taken just over an hour later. During the discussions the only real sticking points seemed to be the potential for noise for the closest neighbors - more than 250 feet away - as a result of the loud music being played 24 hours a day - and the curious 900 square feet the applicant planned to abandon so they could make the parking spaces work. Applicant Bill Fancher didn't really have a good answer about the space. Even during lengthy discussions I don't think we ever had an adequate explanation of what was going to happen to that space. I guess it's presumed that if the applicant says he won't be using it, then it will just sit empty. Uh, huh...
WHAT ABOUT NOISE?
Six people spoke on this issue, most of whom were concerned about the noise spillage. Chairman Rob Dickson seemed concerned about the "bass" (as in sea bass) sound in the music. Seems he was referring to bass - as in second base - the deepest tones in the music. He later corrected himself after another speaker used the word properly. Made me smile. In any event, after 65 minutes Dickson managed to fumble and stumble through a motion and they voted to approve the project, 5-0.
SPOTLIGHT ON "HOLIDAY"
Then came Public Hearing #2, the request for the new Holiday night club - which sits in place of the old Lion's Den/Maison that generated so much flack last year. I suspected this one might take awhile, and also suspected it might generate some significant community input. It did, and it did.
MEL GAVE US THE HISTORY
Senior Planner Mel Lee provided us with the staff report and the background of this property.
Consultant Karen Martin then presented the applicants side of the story, complete with a fancy set of slides, most of which are shown below and are fairly self-explanatory. I must note that she couldn't distance their project from the now-infamous Roland Barrera quickly enough, as you can see in the third slide below. (click on the images if you have a hard time reading them)
EXPERT - CAN'T GET RID OF ALL THE SOUND
Another of their speakers was Landon Brown, the acoustic expert hired to help them with the noise issues. I'll not attempt to cover everything he said, but at the end he acknowledged that it was probably not possible to contain ALL the musical noise coming from the night club, despite significant improvements to the place. He observed that they needed a number against which to measure performance toward meeting the goals in the application.
CHEN SPOKE HIS PIECE
Ten people spoke on this issue, several of whom were not from Costa Mesa, but were in favor of the venue. The pros and cons were evenly mixed. Steve Chen, a resident immediately behind this site, had the proxy to speak for four other people, so Chairman Rob Dickson allowed him fifteen minutes to speak. He addressed what he said was the overarching authority of the State agency to control this noise issue, and went on at length discussing specific sections of the state regulations - which were obliquely referred to in the conditions of approval - that he said acknowledged this fact.
CHO SAYS NO
Lawyer Michael Cho, retained by the applicant as their ABC expert to address this issue, disputed Chen's position strongly.
OWNER LOVES THE GUYS
Property Owner Larry Smith spoke in favor of the venue, stating that this ownership group was his best tenant in 44 years.
MARGINAL COMMUNITY REPLYS
Managing Partner Marty Kish spoke about the outreach engaged in with the local neighbors, indicating only one had replied so far. They offered to place sound measuring devices at each propery.
COLIN CRITICIZED CHEN
During the discussion Colin McCarthy criticized Chen's presentation and said he was willing to support the applicant.
YOLANDA MASSAGES THE LANGUAGE
Much discussion ensued as Chairman Dickson consulted with Deputy City Attorney Yolanda Summerhill on some of the language in the resolution. The motion that was made included a requirement for sound measuring to begin immediately and be reported back within a month instead of the 6 months in the staff report. The commissioners voted, 5-0, to approve this project. However, history of this site makes me think this is certainly not the end of this issue. Without a firm sound measurement line there's too much fuzziness. It's going to be interesting to watch this play out.
THREE HOURS - SEEMED LIKE SIX
The meeting ended just a couple minutes before 9 p.m., having spend an hour and three quarters on this issue.