Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Planning Commission Wrap

The Costa Mesa Planning Commission, led by the ever-exciting, "cool" and "excellent" Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick, plowed its way through another meeting Monday night.

The short Public Comments segment was led off by Eastside resident Jeff McConville, who cautioned the commission about approving projects with too little parking, and used as an example the Greenleaf Chop House on Westminster near 17th Street.  Because of the great success of the restaurant, according to McConville, patrons park blocks away in residential neighborhoods, which negatively impacts the quality of life in those neighborhoods.

Lisa Morlan bemoaned the proliferation of rehab homes on the Eastside and requested a list of non-licensed facilities in the city.  Fitzpatrick responded by telling her of the Task Force Mayor Jim Righeimer is theoretically putting together and said he'd do what he could to get Morlan and her husband included.

An hour and forty minutes was spent on Public Hearing #1, an appeal of a staff decision regarding a home on Wimbledon Way.  It was the strangest hearing I've seen lately.  As shown here by the exasperation of the attorney for the appellant, things were just a little confusing.  Normally when someone appeals a decision they make their pitch for the reason.  Then the opposing party presents his side, then the appellant has a chance to respond.  This one was just the reverse.  The party who was the beneficiary of the staff decision went first - and last.  Very peculiar.  In the end the commission upheld the staff decision on a 3-0 vote - Vice Chair Rob Dickson was absent and Tim Sesler had to recuse himself.  Since the appellants had a lawyer, I suspect this is not the last we've heard of this issue.

Just before 8:00 the commission began a discussion of Public Hearing #2, the request by the Wild Goose restaurant on 17th Street to do a massive expansion - nearly quadrupling its size.  This item was not supposed to be "heard" Monday night - the agenda report said it was going to be continued until the next meeting, on February 24th.  However, a half-dozen residents, including Katie Arthur,  showed up to speak to the issue - all expressing negative reactions to this request due mainly to parking, traffic and noise issues.  This proposal is severely under-parked by any standard - one speaker said it was requesting only 36% of the parking spots required by our codes.  After a half-hour of conversation it was decided to move the issue to the meeting on 3/10/14 to give staff time to re-notice it to impacted residents and business owners.

Next up, Public Hearing #3, was the proposal for 36 live/work units on Placentia Avenue.  During the discussion much was made of the so-called "work" portion of the units - a room of only 119 square feet.  Speakers and commissioners expressed concern that these will end up being another bedroom, not a live/work space.  In the end the project was approved on a 4-0 vote with conditions added to change the landscaping and remove a wall in the "work" sections.  Nothing like micromanaging...

Public Hearings #4 and #5 were alcohol licenses for two new businesses at th SoCo center on Hyland.  There was little discussion of either and both were approved on 4-0 votes.

The final item on the agenda was the report regarding complaints about noise by G&W Towing from residents and management of the adjacent mobile home park.  The report indicated that the firm has made some appropriate changes to mollify the neighbors so no further action will be taken.

That was it!  It took until 10:10 Monday night to accomplish that bit of business.

Next up on Tuesday is the Mid Year Budget Review in City Council Chambers starting at 4:30 Tuesday.  This should be VERY interesting.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

I don't understand why the PC doesn't seem to care about parking a little bit more than they do. It's parking that will make or break a business. If you can't get in there, you cannot patronize the business. Simple concept. If you have "X" amount of space that must translate to "X" amount of customers to support that space. In order to do that you must have parking. That goes for the Greenleaf, the new expansion and the live/work places. You put two cars in each driveway, where's the kids and the renters going to park? Exactly, the visitor parking spaces. See Canyon Avenue and the overnight parking at Fairview Park as an example.

Clearly, our Planning Commission doesn't give a rat's ass.

2/11/2014 06:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

The PC hasn't cared about parking for years now. I learned that when they approved a restauarant with seating for more than 70 people, and only 6 parking spots. It was different people on the PC then, but it's the same old story.

2/11/2014 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

Geoff - regarding the proposed parking if the wild goose is allowed to almost quadruple their size, they would be allowed to cut out 36% of the required parking spaces. Now they are talking valet parking - a bigger cluster...!

2/11/2014 10:08:00 AM  
Anonymous xyn bohemia said...

after last night i have to agree with you.
fool me once....

2/11/2014 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous seedling said...

Its a shame-- you cant bring up property value if communities are underparked. This is orange county, people with money will move to neighborhoods where they can actually have friends/family over. Im willing to bet a million bucks people ask about parking before they ask about the youth football leagues when making home purchasing decisions.
Id settle for a smaller home with parking ANYDAY. The primary reason i got sick of apartment living: parking!
So now we are developing what will in essence be 2nd/3rd/4th pick communities for people with little other choice. GREEEAAAT. Way to plan, planning commission!

2/11/2014 11:49:00 AM  
Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Get used to it folks. This is a developer town now. Cash in your little IRAs and CDs, buy some land, and have a special company cater your next event. Celebrate! Life for your Newport bosses is good!

2/11/2014 03:11:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

The "Mr. Excitement" caption for Fitzy reminded me of how Johnny Carson tagged his stone-faced band leader Tommy Newsom with that nickname. Classic!

2/12/2014 06:41:00 AM  
Blogger Gericault said...

Why doesn't Costa Mesa have on street parking like every other city? This is truly the one area wherever try to be exactly like Irvine.

2/12/2014 07:28:00 AM  

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