Sunday, June 22, 2014

Planning Commission To Squeeze More Motels

At the meeting of the Costa Mesa Planning Commission on Monday, June 23, 2014 beginning at 6:00 in City Council Chambers at City Hall, the commission, led by Chairman Jim Fitzpatrick, will tackle only two items.  Read the full agenda HERE.

The first, Public Hearing #1, HERE, is a request for yet another tattoo parlor in our city, this one at 1145 Baker Street.  After reviewing the staff report I see nothing that will keep this establishment from receiving the requested Conditional Use Permit.

The second item, Public Hearing #2, HERE, is a whole different bag of snakes.  This one proposes to amend the Costa Mesa Municipal Code - Title 13, Chapter IX, Article 8 - with regard to motels ("Motel Ordinance").  Specifically, it's intended to much more tightly regulate long-term occupancy at the motels within the City.

Among the requirements motel owners must affirm are :
1 -  The motel must have a minimum of at least seventy-five (75) rooms.
2 - Fireproof safety deposit boxes must be available to all occupants of the motel.
3 - Each guest room shall be serviced daily with central maid, mail, and room services.
4 - Each room shall be a minimum of three hundred seventy-five (375) square feet.
5 - The motel shall maintain on-site laundry services.
6 - The proposed use is compatible with the surrounding neighborhood, uses, zoning and general plan.

According to page 10 of Attachment #1, once this ordinance is passed, within 30 days the City will send each a "long-term occupancy form" and a schedule for compliance.  Within 30 days of the mailing of that notice the property owner/motel operator shall submit a fully completed "long-term occupancy form".  If they fail to do so it will be presumed that the number of rooms used as long-term occupancies is at zero (0).

The objective here seems to be to reduce, across the board, the number of motel rooms in this city that may be used for long-term occupancy to zero, zip, nada.

According to the staff report, this does not affect the availability of affordable housing in the city.  I'm really looking forward to the discussion of this issue, because I'm having a hard time understanding how that works.

Some existing long-term occupancies will be "grandfathered in", but once the occupant departs the operator may not use that room for long-term occupancy again unless he is in compliance with this new ordinance.

Looking at the list of 23 motels in the staff report, only four (4) have large enough rooms to even begin to be considered.

We'll attend and try to sort this all out Monday night.  More after the meeting.

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Anonymous Tamar said...

One Thursday morning a couple weeks ago, I saw a middle-aged couple trudging north on Harbor Boulevard pushing a cart and carrying bags loaded with their possessions, and I wondered which motel they had been turned out from.

The following Monday evening, driving south on Red Hill, we saw half a dozen homeless people looking for lodging in the bushes or behind buildings. The first one we saw looked like a businessman, neatly dressed and pulling a carry-on suitcase. I asked my husband why he thought the man was there, and he answered that he saw the man finding a place to stay in the bushes.

In May, I helped a professional woman, who, due to a string of very unfortunate circumstances expected to be evicted from her apartment and who was desperately trying to stay in the area until her daughter graduated from high school.

I challenge anyone who is heartless enough to eliminate the one last refuge, a cheap motel, to spend a couple nights on the streets yourself first. Don’t give us that pious-sounding excuse, “No family should have to live in a place like that (the motels).” Instead, take along your small children for your nights on the streets.

6/23/2014 10:16:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Nyquist said...

I just finished reading this proposed ordinance….

There was no point in me driving 300 miles round trip to see the green lights up on the bench…

I thought I was done with the Sandpiper and Costa Mesa politics forever…But this proposed ordinance is so illegal, that it is chilling…

If the commission passes this along this evening, I will have no choice but to get back in the game…My family has been hurt, and now I know my oldest friends are going to get played…Generations of friends…

Probably best if I withhold any other comments until I see what happens this evening….

6/23/2014 03:23:00 PM  

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