Planning Commission Has A Short, Productive Meeting
LESS THAN AN HOUR!
As predicted earlier, the Costa Mesa Planning Commission met Monday night for one of their shortest meetings on record, but still managed to accomplish a lot. The meeting lasted twelve minutes short of an hour, but that doesn't mean there were not some memorable moments.
EVIDENCE OF FALSE STATEMENTS
Right off the bat local businessman Tim Lewis stepped to the speaker's podium during Public Comments and told the commission that he has evidence that the applicant in the first Public Hearing for the evening did not have the legal right to move forward with this project because his group didn't hold title to a segment of the property in question. He posed the question, "Did Red Mountain have clear title to the property?". He then gave reasons for denial of this application whichever way they answered - citing false statements made to the City Planning Department originally.
BETH ON THE TOY DRIVE RESULTS
He was preceded at the speaker's podium by Beth Refakes, who presented a slide show of the recent Christmas toy celebration at Camp Pendleton for the children of our adopted unit, the 1/5 Marines, which are currently deployed.
HARBOR AND HAMILTON
When Public Hearing #1, the above-mentioned Red Mountain project at Harbor and Hamilton, was announced Senior Planner Mel Lee told the council that the staff was recommending continuation of this item. The commission was ready to proceed, but there were speakers to deal with.
FAILURE TO MITIGATE GROUND WATER PROBLEMS
Once again, Tim Lewis stepped up and announced he had a letter from Rose Scott, whom he identified as a geologist from the Santa Ana Regional Water Quality Board that, in response to a request by Red Mountain for a letter in support of their mitigation efforts, said they could not support the current efforts, and that Red Mountain was now out of compliance. Apparently this letter has been provided to the city as part of the public record. Have we mentioned that Lewis owns property contiguous to this project?
MAYOR MICROMANAGING PROJECTS
A "Mr. Cline", a representative of Red Mountain, also spoke, and told the commission that the City has a copy of the letter Lewis mentioned. He then said something I thought was very interesting. He said..."demolition of the building has occurred out there at the persistent request of the Mayor of Costa Mesa - it's down to the slab." So, if we believe this gentleman, our mayor is now micromanaging pending projects in the city! Why is this no surprise to me? At the end, the commission voted unanimously to continue this project until their meeting of February 22, 2016.
FIRE STATION #1
Public Hearing #2, the proposed reconstruction of Fire Station #1, went smoothly. Fire Chief Dan Stefano enhanced Senior Planner Mel Lee's brief report and affirmed his agreement with the staff committee and the public who attended the November meeting at the Fire Station that Option #2 was the preferred choice. Both choices have exactly the same floor plan and facilities - the difference is purely cosmetic. The decision to replace this aged facility was described by one speaker as a "no-brainer". Indeed - I attended the November community outreach meeting. We NEED a new facility. Stefano described it as a "50-year station" - one that will accommodate any anticipated growth or expansion necessary. The commission voted, 5-0, to approve it and move it forward to the City Council - with Option #2 as their choice, too.
2242 PACIFIC AVENUE
Public Hearing #3, the proposed Small Lot Development at the corner of Pacific Avenue and Wilson Street on the far Westside of town. Commissioner Colin McCarthy was almost orgasmic as he described this project. It meets ALL elements of the Small Lot Ordinance and even provides 50% open space! Chairman Rob Dickson shared McCarthy's glee, observing that this project "Hits on all cylinders". The commission voted to move it forward on a 5-0 vote.