Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Catching Up - Planning, Visioning and Waste

Did you miss me?  I've been taking a breather for a couple days, recovering from football overload last weekend.  So, let's catch up on things that have been going on in our little slice of heaven.

Monday the Costa Mesa Planning Commission held its first meeting of the year and, as I told you earlier, had a very abbreviated agenda.  They knocked that meeting out in less than an hour!  They shoved the three items involving problem motels off into the future sometime; continued a request for a conditional use permit for a liquor license until their next meeting on the 27th; revoked two CUPs for the same license at a different location and approved an ATM kiosk on 19th Street.  The meeting probably could have been wrapped up in much less than an hour, but Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick apparently had a case of "Righeimeritis" - he just loves to hear himself talk!

Tuesday evening the City Council and Planning Commission met in a joint study session in the Emergency Operations Center to hear information from the staff and consultants on the General Plan Visioning exercise, and to hear the public offer their views.

The staff and consultants offered a brief PowerPoint presentation and had handouts of other Vision Statements from other cities for review by the officials present.  The guests had them, too.
This meeting was attended by nearly 60 people, including staff, consultants, council members, planning commissioners and residents.  Unfortunately, as far as I could tell, only 16 residents made up that group.
Seven people stepped up to address the group, 6 of which were residents.  The other was the head of the Building Industry Association.  Most of those have attended several of the previous General Plan meetings and offered their views.

There were some interesting moments.  Councilman Gary Monahan, for example, said, "I'm not a big visioning person because things change."  He said he wasn't sure we needed a "cultural section" of the Vision section.

Wendy Leece spoke next and took exception to Monahan's comment about the "cultural section", since we are, after all, The City Of The Arts.  She suggested, among other things, that a reference to Education in Costa Mesa be mentioned, as well as churches and service organizations.
Sandra Genis said she tended to agree with Monahan long-term and that this is a plan for land use and circulation.  She indicated it's important to balance the land use with the needs of the residents and that, while visitors to our city are important, residents must come first.

Steve Mensinger agreed with much of what had been said earlier, and cited the need to retain and nurture the individual neighborhood identities.  He also stressed the need for preservation of historical sites and information.  He cracked me up when he said, "The community is like a business.", and again stressed the need to attract younger families.
 Jim Righeimer said this is a "view from 40,000 feet".  He stressed the need to get ahead of traffic issues - things planned from the 1980s and 1990s just didn't happen.  He also agreed with others that "walkability" and "bikeability" are important, they are not "more important" - as others had said - than car transportation.  I was amused when he was in the midst of downplaying the importance of bus transportation in the city just as an active member of the community and occasional columnist for the Orange County Register came walking in late - having missed his bus!

Commissioner Jeff Mathews offered the profound statement that "We have to be very smart and careful as we go forward."  That was it...

Colin McCarthy expressed concern that the individual statements prepared by the staff and consultants used "passive verbs".  He's looking for more forward-looking language.  He thought the work product was "great".
Rob Dickson told us he attended several sessions and that the information provided at this meeting captured a lot from the others.  He gave credit to former mayor Eric Bever for hatching a plan for Harbor Blvd.

Jim Fitzpatrick told us "I get excited about visioning and good planning."  He then launched into praise for his Broadway Project. I thought he might pull a  muscle as he patted himself on the back.
The entire meeting was videotaped by CMTV and will be available in the playback roster soon.  In addition, there was a contemporaneous transcription of most comments which, it appeared, might be soon available for public review.  It was a worthy effort and ended in an unbelievable 65 minutes!

Next action on the General Plan is the vote by the City Council on the required Housing Element at its meeting on January 21st.  If they miss that window it could mean that we will be required to review and revise the Housing Element in four years instead of eight.

More on the plan by the Costa Mesa Sanitary District to change the way we will be required/requested to handle our so-called "organic" waste in the future with a plan that will add twice as many trucks to our streets, make us handle food scraps differently and cost more than $500,000 annually.  You will recall I wrote about the latest Workshop, conducted last Saturday, HERE.  Well, the Sanitary District Board announced late Tuesday that its meeting of January 23rd has been relocated to the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Avenue (Lions Park) because of the anticipated public interest in the issue.  The board will discuss the possible implementation of the new plan at that meeting, which will begin at 5:30 p.m.

Incidentally, the last workshop was recorded by Barry Friedland and is now available for viewing on his Costa Mesa Brief YouTube channel, HERE.  I've given old Barry (he hates it when I refer to him as such) a bad time because of the one-sided political nature of his site, but this is one for all to see and I applaud him for his growing skill at putting together some pretty good video.

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Anonymous eileen truxton said...

So sweet. Don't you just love when kinder, gentler comes scrambling forth? One is for visioning, another against. One is now for historic preservation, while another chose the "path" of a pathetic (half-assed) apology. I need a scorecard.

1/15/2014 02:14:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Some of those comments just make you shake your head. Again, will someone give Riggy the name of their stylist? That comb over is hysterical. How can anyone take him seriously?

So what was really accomplished? Anything definitive? I think the ship has sailed on getting ahead of the traffic problems. We try to avoid the downtown area as much as possible and travel through neighborhoods to avoid the Newport Blvd intersections. We have started heading over to H.B. to grocery shop to avoid the traffic. This is not good, but way less traffic.

1/15/2014 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

I tried REALLY hard to resist posting this, but my Id beat my Superego:

RE: Barry's productions are one-sided

There is a case of the cauldron calling the kettle black if I ever read one!

1/15/2014 09:03:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Bruce, never denied it. At the top of the page it says this is OPINION, with a few facts. From the get-go, even in its earlier iteration, that's what this blog has been - MY OPINION of issues.

Barry, on the other hand, pretended in the beginning to be covering a broad spectrum of issues on ALL sides. He may be moving that direction, but just go to the site and scroll down through his entries and you'll see just how "balanced" his coverage has been. And, by the way, that's NOT a criticism, only an observation of the facts.

He has an evolving skill set and I'm glad to see it. I hope he does, in fact, continue to cover important events, but suspect he will still tilt strongly toward the side of the power elite. We'll see. In the meantime, I gave him credit for doing a good job on the San. District Workshop.

1/15/2014 10:03:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

I think the ship has already sailed regarding traffic - there's just way more people here than 30 years ago, and you can only do so much about it. Then again, projects like Banning Ranch certainly won't make it better. Just trying to cross town to 17th St. from Mesa Verde last night for some Taco Tuesday action around 5:00 - yikes, that was not a fun round trip, and I know every short cut and cut through in the book with my eyes closed.

Maybe if someone had done some traffic 'visioning' back in the day, it would have helped, but not much. And no, that's not a jab at current council. They can certainly make it worse going forward, if that's possible, but it pains me to admit they aren't to blame for how it is now.

1/15/2014 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...


Imagine how much more useful all of your effort would be to your fellow CM citizens if you adopted a more balanced approach?

I know, you preface your blog with "opinion", but one can dream!

1/15/2014 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Mike, I know... I want to close my eyes driving through town sometimes, too. ;-)

Bruce, I guess it depends on one's definition of "balance". If yours is that I should go along with the current power elite when I disagree with their plans and/or tactics, I'm disappointed. I'm amused when folks looking for "balance" in what I post really mean they want me to agree with them.

On a thread in another post Terry Koken provided a list of failures by this majority that's a good starting place for the discussion of important issues as this campaign year moves along.

1/15/2014 11:20:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

One can obtain balance by attempting to read that CMConserve blog. Have fun with that. Based on the number of comments over there, not many have accepted the challenge, but it's hard to get through all the love directed at the guys in charge. This is far more entertaining, and dare I say, enlightening.

Besides that, I don't think the masses have nearly enough intellectual capacity to absorb those diatribes - he's just so much better and smarter (and smug) that everyone else.

Makes me head wanna 'splode!

1/15/2014 11:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

Councils over the years have resisted visioning because (1)it tends to limit their options and (2)it shares power with the public. If this Council actually puts the public's "vision" into the General Plan and then abides by the GP, I'll give them credit for that. But not until I see what they do.

1/15/2014 02:17:00 PM  
Anonymous lovemygarden said...

It was disappointing that the Vision Statements weren’t revised to reflect the comments made by residents on the surveys done in connection with the General Plan update. You would think since City staff went to the trouble of surveying Costa Mesans and tabulating the surveys, that they would incorporate those concerns into the reworked Vision Statements presented at this meeting. I hope that staff is going to do that now that they have comments from the Council and Planning Commission. In reviewing the surveys, it appears that residents are very concerned with the impacts of high-density development on traffic, keeping Fairview Park natural, affordable housing and providing comfort and safety for alternative forms of transportation (trees, bike paths/routes, etc.). Mr. Monahan’s comment to the effect that no one rides the bus displays his ignorance of transportation trends and is pure bigotry.

1/15/2014 02:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Hey, easy on Monahan. I did see on Facebook that he's using the venerable Snoopy, beloved by children of all ages, to advertise '$1 Bud Lite Thursdays.'

The man is a visionary!

1/15/2014 04:09:00 PM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

The guy who helped impose Mensinger on CM now craves balance. Krochman can help restore balance by urging Steve to resign.

1/16/2014 12:14:00 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home