Tuesday, January 12, 2016

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.
And that was it.  The recently-defoliated Chair Dickson closed the meeting at 6:48 - a very nice change.

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Monday, January 11, 2016

Meaty Senior Commission Agenda On Tap Tomorrow



FIRST SENIOR COMMISSION MEETING OF THE YEAR
The Costa Mesa Senior Commission meets again tomorrow morning, Tuesday, January 12, 2016, beginning at 9:00 a.m. at the Costa Mesa Senior Center, 695 W. 19th Street and has an agenda full of interesting stuff, HERE.  Since I'm still fighting this darn cold it's unlikely that I'll make the meeting - don't want to infest my fellow Senior Center members - but I'll give you an overview of what's up tomorrow.  These meetings are usually well-attended - us geezers do tend to pay attention, and vote
BUS RESERVATION SYSTEM REPORT
There has been much discussions during recent meetings about the operation of the Bus Reservation system.  The commission requested a study be done and the report of that study is complete, HERE.
It looks pretty self-explanatory - the system seems to be working quite well with VERY FEW exceptions.  Tomorrow's discussion will likely include some personal anecdotes about shortcomings, but the numbers reflect an effective system.
BUDGET INFORMATION
Next on the agenda is the report to the commission on the Senior Center Budget and Financial Analysis, HERE.  This brief report shows a budget for the Fiscal Year 15/16 of $902,785, and lists a few detailed items specifically because of commissioner inquiries.
MEMBERSHIP TRACKING SOFTWARE
The final agenda item is a report on the cost analysis of Membership Tracking Software - an issue that generated significant conversation among commissioners.  That staff report is HERE.  The report is thorough, but ends with a thud.  It tells us that there are no funds available during this fiscal year - we're half-way through it - even though the cost is piddling - $2,125.00.  I suspect that, if the staff and the commission thought this was important, there's plenty of cash left in CEO Tom Hatch's contingency fund to cover this very modest implementation cost.  Seems worth a conversation.
PROGRAM ADMINISTRATOR'S REPORT
Yvette Aguilar's Senior Center Program Administrator's Report is always full of interesting information.  Here are some excerpts:
  • The Senior Center will be closed January 18th and February 15th for holidays.  It will also be closed for maintenance February 3-5.
  • Membership Renewal Forms were included in the January issue of The Chronicle.  Staff will follow up with those who do not respond and will remove non-respondents by February 26th.
  • Upcoming special events include:
  •      An Evening of Magic & Dinner - Friday, January 22, 4-6 p.m. $10
  •      Sweetheart Dance - Friday, February 12, 4-6 p.m. $10
  •      Knowledge & Health Fair Expo - Thursday, March 10, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Nine separate presentations/seminars are scheduled for January/February from Income Tax Assistance to Exercise.  Contact the Senior Center for the schecule.
  • Membership as of January 4 was 1711 registered members of which 1133 are Costa Mesa residents.
  • A total of 687 volunteer service hours were recorded for November and December.
  • 723.25 hours were programmed for November.  691.25 hours for December
  • There were 5,523 visitors to the Center in November, 4,867 in December.
YOU HAVE TO ATTEND IF YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE
Since these meetings are not recorded for later broadcast on CMTV - a mistake - you'll just have to drag your body to the Senior Center tomorrow morning to observe this group in action.

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Sunday, January 10, 2016

Short Planning Commission Meeting Starts The New Year

COULD BE  A QUICKIE TO START THE YEAR, SO TO SPEAK
What should be a short Planning Commission meeting Monday, January 11, 2016 commences at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall.  You can read the brief agenda report HERE.
OWNERSHIP IN QUESTION?
I say "short" because there are only a few items on the agenda and, according to the staff report for Public Hearing #1, HERE, the staff recommends continuing it for six weeks.  This involves a request for a two-year time extension for a 28-unit residential and live/work development at 2089, 2095 and 2099 Harbor Boulevard.  The reason given in the cover sheet of the long staff report is, "The Applicant has requested additional time to re-assess the site remediation action plan and the timing of the project."  Well, that may be the case, but it's possible there's more to this story.  I've seen correspondence within the past couple days that brings into question the actual ownership of a chunk of the property involved.  We'll see how this plays out Monday evening.
RECONSTRUCTION OF FIRE STATION #1
Public Hearing #2, HERE, involves the Master Plan for the reconstruction of Fire Station #1 at 2803 Royal Palm Drive.  The staff is asking the Planning Commission to approve the plans as presented subject to conditions and to advise them on one of two design options - one a contemporary design and the other a more modern theme.  Improvement of this station is long overdue, so we look forward to the discussion of this project.  You may recall that the cost for this project is estimated to be $7 million in construction and $1.5 million in design, temporary crew relocation during construction and construction management services.  It is estimated to take two years to complete.  Some may recall that the financing of this plan was included in the bond scheme proposed to create a new Downtown Library.
2242 PACIFIC AVENUE SMALL LOT DEVELOPMENT
Public Hearing #3, HERE, is a planning application for a two-unit residential small lot subdivision development at 2242 Pacific Avenue, at the corner of Wilson Street.  Each unit would be greater than 2200 square feet.  One would orient to Pacific Avenue and the other to Wilson Street.  No deviations are requested for this project.

THAT'S ALL, FOLKS!
And that should be it, barring any unforseen events that might occur during Public Comments.  One never knows these days.

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