Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Of Lights And Trains

Last week I chose to cover the Skate Park issue extensively instead of attempting to cover all the issues discussed at the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation meeting on Thursday, June 27th.  My plan was to followup shortly with the balance of the meeting.  I'm finally getting back to it tonight.

There were two other very significant issues on the agenda.  I'm not going to talk about tree removal requests.

AYSO District 97 has requested the commission to extend the permit for temporary lights to be used for practices on the Harper School fields.  Many beleaguered neighbors contiguous to the property asked that the lights NOT be permitted, citing noise, odors from the generators (they are portable lights) and spillover lights onto their property.

Chairman Byron de Arakal led the discussion and, after thoroughly vetting the issue with the help of the other commissioners and stakeholders, he made a motion to extend the use of the lights at Harper School for one more year - the only other unacceptable choice would be to turn the kids away - to revisit the option of using Kaiser School in the future on a rotation basis, to investigate the availability and cost of sound-deadening blankets to wrap the units to cut noise and to guarantee that the lights will be turned off no later than 7:30 p.m. every night.  That motion passed, 4-0.  Commissioner Don Harper was absent from the meeting.

In my view, this solution works for now.  The city is woefully short of fields, particularly lighted fields and especially on the Eastside of our city.  AYSO District 97 is 51% Costa Mesa kids - the remainder come from Newport Beach.  de Arakal promised to come to the homes of folks impacted by the lights on Cabrillo and elsewhere to see and hear the impacts in person.  He also said he would set up meetings with Newport Beach officials to see what can be done to possibly include Mariners School in the "lighted" rotation.

The other big issue on the agenda last Thursday was the expiring agreement between the City and the Orange County Model Engineers - the folks who operate and maintain the model trains in Fairview Park.  The organization has had a permit for 25 years and were requesting a renewal/extension for another 25.

Their presentation of the contributions they have made, and continue to make, to the community brought into very sharp focus the value that facility has had in our city for decades.  de Arakal stated emphatically that he, personally, didn't want to see the trains leave the park.

However, there are those in the community who covet that chunk of land for more playing fields.  The trains occupy 22 acres, roughly in the middle of a 40 acre chunk of the park on the east side of Placentia Avenue.  It is likely that those who lust after that land may make overtures about some kind of re-configuration to "better" utilize the space.  I'm not naming names here, but we all know "it's all about the kids", if you get my drift.

de Arakal proposed that the current agreement be extended through the end of 2014.  In the interim the Fairview Park Citizen's Advisory Committee will be going about doing its job of assessing the park, the current uses and the needs of the community in the future.  It is certain that the OCME and the Harbor Soaring Society activities will be discussed at length by that body.

Once the committee finishes its assignment - hopefully within the next 12 months - de Arakal proposed that the OCME issue be revisited based on the findings of the committee, with the eye toward creating a NEW agreement taking into consideration all the complex factors involved.  Again, he stressed that he doesn't want to see the OCME out of the park.

Certainly the good folks of the OCME were not happy with that decision, just as the Harbor Soaring Society was disappointed by their recent one-year extension.  Both organizations have enjoyed much success and have played a big part in the recreational opportunities at Fairview Park and hope to continue to do so out into the future, too.  The specter of parking lots and playing fields being located in areas they presently use make them very nervous.  Personally, I think they have every reason to be nervous about it.

So, the Parks and Recreation Commission will recommend to the City Council that it extend the current agreement with the OCME for 18 months and base any future agreement on recommendations by the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee.  It's not a great solution for the train folks, but it seems to be a reasonable option under the circumstances.

That being said, it's going to be interesting to see how this, in fact, does shake out.  I attended the first meeting of the Fairview Park Citizen's Advisory Committee and there were some clear lines drawn that evening when Ron Amburgey and Brett Eckles - who spoke with passion about the need for fields during the Harper School lights issue - both gave strong impressions that they felt the model train area could be used better.  They meant more playing fields.

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Anonymous Al Bundy said...

This is how it went down--

"Byron, this is Junior Mayor Mensy, make something up about giving those model train people like another year, then we'll wipe em' out and start building all my football fields and parking lots. I love it when a plan comes together"

7/02/2013 09:40:00 AM  
Anonymous bud bundy said...

could we put a jobs center in Fairview park? instead of costing 200K a year , with no lease payments, we could attract a lot more people here for very little money.

7/02/2013 11:19:00 AM  
Blogger zz said...

Have you ever spent some time near one of those generators used to power field lights? The noise and other emissions are intolerable. It's incredible to me that the city would inflict that horror on a neighborhood (other than in a genuine emergency).

Have you ever noticed (1)if one playing field is unavailable, the kids find another and (2)there is no limit to the demand for playing fields if non-residents are allowed to use them?

7/02/2013 11:44:00 AM  
Anonymous Reality that intrudes said...

Did you see the new and rational blogger rip the Pot Stirrer a new one?

Nice to see a guy who is late to the local politics come to the conclusion that the owner of this blog is angry

"Silly is as silly does"

7/02/2013 11:48:00 AM  
Anonymous CM Pessimist said...

I hate to be the bearer of bad news to my neighbors, who happen to belong to either OCME, or HSS; any and all of your concerns are nothing more than WHITE NOISE to our Mayor Pro Tem. To further paraphrase some of Mensinger's followers, if you don't like the will of the council majority, you should run for political office. Those of us that believe that our representatives in this representative form of government should actually represent us are quite mistaken. As we've come to find out these last 2 plus years; to the victor go the spoils!

7/02/2013 12:57:00 PM  
Anonymous wonderful new blog, real press said...

that new blogger is a quick learner. well, on second thought, it only take two days on this site to figure out republicans are bad, employees are the best and that management is corrupt. and the ocgop is hitler reincarnated.
colon, shrek.messy.piggy.troll. puppet. bootlicker. those take a week

7/02/2013 01:08:00 PM  
Anonymous fitzofdelusion said...

wonderful new blog, yawn

7/02/2013 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous Better do what the developers tell me :) ankrel looking at you said...

Kicking the can makes my leg tired and turning Fairview Park into sports fields makes me sad. Lets hope that Monahan remembers his comments about spending too much money at Tewinkle and is the unexpected swing vote, but elections aren't held on Wednesdays so I won't hold my breath. Way to commit c'anrlke!

7/02/2013 09:53:00 PM  
Anonymous spot light in my eyes at 10 said...

Just to note about light turn off times. There were many people in the audience that were addament that the lights had stayed on till 10 on several occasions. They were ignored and basicly called liars and told No way
Maybe a fine for ayso should be set up so if they go overtime it could be doccumented.

7/03/2013 12:16:00 PM  
Blogger kwahlf said...

I'm so glad the trolls have found a "new and rational" blogger to hang out with.
So please, do so.
Your constant bashing of Geoff is old and tiresome.
This is his blog.
Don't like it here?- hang out with your new homie.
You will not be missed.

7/03/2013 02:13:00 PM  
Anonymous givin alf fitz said...

well said alf!

7/05/2013 11:15:00 AM  

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