Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Small Lot Ordinance (SLO) Discussed

At a joint study session of the Costa Mesa City Council and the Planning Commission, in the cozy confines of Conference Room 1A, a packed house heard the staff proposal for a Small Lot Ordinance (SLO) discussed for 90 minutes.  You can read the staff report HERE.

All the council members and planning commissioners attended as well as CEO Tom Hatch, Assistant CEO Rick Francis, Development Services Director Gary Armstrong, Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz, contract City Attorney Tom Duarte, Communication Director Bill Lobdell and Principal Planner Minoo Ashabi, who took the point on the presentation.  All the audience seats were occupied and several other chairs were brought in for an overflow crowd.  The proceedings will be available for viewing on CMTV and recorded streaming video soon.

Interested parties were permited to address the council and commissioners and a half-dozen stepped up to do so.  They were equally split between residents and those with developer ties.  The residents expressed concern about parking and density.  Those with developer ties complimented the staff on this ordinance, stressed easier financing and looked forward to working with the city on projects in the near future.

As you will read in the staff report, the objective of this new ordinance is to "regulate the development of single-family detached homes by providing specific zoning requirements for this type of housing development."   As I said in an earlier post, it looks like this ordinance took most of the gripes about variances and other exceptions to the rules expressed by developers in the recent past and codified them to facilitate more development.  The staff report contains 13 items that will change in our current codes.

While many aspects of this new proposed ordinance were discussed, the conversation kept getting hijacked by a discussion of parking, despite the fact that the staff report was very, very specific on the issue.  You can't get any clearer than this statement, early in the staff report: "It should be noted that no changes to the City's parking requirements are being proposed within the small lot ordinance."  And yet all those very smart people around the table just kept getting off track.  Of course, I guess I understand their concerns - Costa Mesa is notorious for under-parking projects.

A significant part of the discussion addressed the very common practice of loading up our garages with "stuff" and parking our cars outside.  The staff recommended that, in lieu of Homeowners Associations, any such projects use "Maintenance Agreements" - a much less formal type of rules.  It suggested that each of those demand the garages be used for cars, not storage.  We'll see.

I'm not going to attempt to replay every word in that 90-minute meeting, but the upshot of it was that the staff will bring to the Planning Commission a fine-tuned version of the ordinance for its consideration at a Public Hearing, and that would then be passed along to the City Council for adoption.

At the end of the meeting I saw none of the developers in attendance frowning.  I did see more than a few residents still concerned about this ordinance.  Keep in mind that this ordinance will NOT affect areas of the city zoned R-1 - residential.  It only applies to projects in areas zoned R-2 or greater.  I suspect we will see a pretty sizable crowd at the Planning Commission meeting when this issue is presented.


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Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

First things first for me…Thank you Geoff for allowing me to have a place to say it and the stamina to put up with it all……Now you have me to put up with…. I feel for you…You have a lot of experience presenting the facts….

I have to write this the only way I know how, so I don’t get an injunction to have my tongue removed, to go along with the teeth I just had pulled at City Hall, with no Novocain….

I could hardly stay in my chair….I just wanted to scream….

I had the pleasure of watching the Bozo’s who run Costa Mesa, all at one table…The first question in my head…Why are we having this meeting so developers can make more money….Why do we have to develop anything…What’s wrong with what we have right now…Righeimer, Monahan and Mensinger all playing pass the microphone, swinging it back and forth, sounding like farts, giggling, to hear each other talk, and get paid…

Staff on overtime spending my money…The overpaid outsourced City Attorney who I have never heard speak anywhere, wasting space in a chair at the table and another overpaid attorney on the speakerphone explaining how to write Block Captain McCarthy’s rulebook…

All wasting my money…Must have cost $5,000.00 to have the meeting..It should have been about how to reduce development, not about more development …We could have used the money to pay a months wages for an officer to protect the kids at school…And fix the microphones…

It was pathetic…Block Captain McCarthy, thought it was a good idea to make sure that it was written in the CCR’s or Maintenance Agreement of the new prison cells to be built, that annually, one must open their cell garage door to the McCarthy Precinct Captain, along with the Commander of the Thought Police accompanying him, and make sure you did not have anything in there that he would not approve of…

You know…Junk...Crap…A bed…A pool table…Your parents memento boxes…A stereo….A television…Your children….An American car…

Although a shredder for the Constitution is allowed….

A peephole looking in to your cell will be required, so Block Captain McCarthy could see if you were violating the physical relations statute…No consensual pleasure…Only one procreative act per annum…

So long as your foreign car is in there, and your foreign motorcycle, a copy of 1984 and
Animal Farm by George Orwell prominently on display, next to your Block Captain McCarthy and Stalin posters, all is well….

Of course your neighbors cell will be as close as 6 inches away, so we make sure the outsourced Fire Department won’t be able to put out the fire in your rear holding pen….Then the contractors can come in and make some more money rebuilding your cell and the 5 next to it…The outsourced Block Captain McCarthy Police Depatment can keep the inmates under supervision while the fire rages from cell to cell..

Ms. Genis finally got cut off by Commandant Righeimer when she kept asking the wrong questions about having an exercise pen for the inmates, or possibly needing a bigger cell…The answer to that…Not a chance…

9/10/2013 11:27:00 PM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Well Costa Mesa...you voted for them. This is what you get. Riggy has to pay off his "obligations" to his developer friends for their campaign money.

Did McCarthy really expect to invade peoples' garages once a year? I may expect that in an apartment, but in my own home? No! (Remember that if he decides to run for office again)

Of course we already have parking ordinances, and the doesn't mean you provide parking for 6 homes crammed on a lot, by tearing up our public parks to make their parking. (Pacific at Fairview Park)

One more year of Riggy is going to be along year. VOTE HIM OUT!

9/11/2013 06:17:00 AM  

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