Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Fairview Park Committee Makes "Progress"

In a meeting that ran slightly less than the planned two hours, tonight the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee - guided by Chairman Dr. Richard Mehren and Vice Chair Steve Smith -  made "progress" of sorts as it slogged slowly through the agenda.  You can read the agenda HERE.  Only Anna Vrska was absent from this meeting.


There were two presentations tonight.  Resident Cindy Black presented a brief PowerPoint show on the value of considering a plant nursery on the grounds of the park - probably the Northeast Quadrant.  Members of the committee seemed receptive to further consider this concept and Dennis Popp suggested it be agendized for the next meeting for further consideration.

Connie "Destiny" Colocho an archaeologist with Scientific Resource Surveys, Inc. (SRS) gave a presentation on the work done by her firm at the location earmarked for "improvement" near the end of Pacific Avenue.  Drilling and careful digging - overseen by representatives of Native American groups -  resulted in a report indicating that it's OK to proceed with the planned Tot Lot, car turnaround and storm drain improvement.
The eight remaining items to be considered for the Northeast Quadrant were discussed by the committee and, as was the case with the first eight, NONE were selected for consideration in that quadrant.  You can read those items in the staff report, HERE.  Only one item, Lawn Bowling/Bocce Ball, even received a motion, (by Ron Amburgey) but died for lack of a second.  The rest couldn't even generate a motion.
That took us to the initial consideration for items from the Master List - 35 items created nearly a year ago when this committee was first formed - that MIGHT be possible for the Southeast Quadrant.  The staff had already noted items that seemed inappropriate for that quadrant, so the committee reviewed their selections, then added more to the list to be deleted for consideration.  What is left is slightly less than half of the items on the Master List.  Those will receive staff investigation and formal discussion will begin at the next meeting - on August 6th.  History shows us that it will take more than one meeting to plow through those items, particularly since this quadrant is the one most "field advocates" have been waiting for.  Here's the list of what will be considered, using the numbers from the Master List:
2 - Dry land wildlife viewing area NE and SE Quadrants
3 - Baseball/Softball Facilities SE or SW Quadrant
4 - Recreate Heritage Native American Village SE Quadrant
7 - Vernal Pools preservation with cables, signage and delineation
9 - Soccer/Football Fields
11 - Multi-use athletic fields SE/NE Quadrants
12 - Retain the elements of the Master Plan as it reads now
13 - Install a two-tier building that includes an interpretive center and terrace/viewing deck
17 - Basketball/Handball courts
18 - OCME track expansions/improvements SE Quadrant
21- Trail exercise stations
22 - Improve Placentia Ave. with cable and post delineation
23 - Roller hockey surface
25 - Improve/designate bike paths
28 - Concrete Path from NW traffic signal to SE traffic signal at Estancis HS
29 - Dog Park
33 - Nature Center - Bird watching platforms

It was clear from comments made by Amburgey that he's coming loaded for bear at the next couple meetings.  He told us that he wants to see this segment looking like TeWinkle Park, with ball fields, dog park, etc., and that the "Mexicans" that live near the area would appreciate it.  Yes, he DID say that.  You will recall that he made a similar boneheaded remark about "Indians" when an Archery venue was first discussed.

The turnout for this meeting was about what it has been - around 30 people attended.  Most of the folks who spoke favored keeping the park a natural venue.   Amburgey made a backhanded comment about it, criticizing the folks who show up to speak.   I saw several field advocates in the audience, but they chose not to speak this time around.

I encourage those of you with ANY interest in the future of Fairview Park to plan to attend the next couple meetings and share your views during public comments.  The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Victoria Room of the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Avenue. (Lions Park). 

Ernesto Munoz, Director of Public Works, reminded us of the upcoming General Plan Workshop, also at the Neighborhood Community Center, on July 16th beginning at 6:00.  There will be an open house for the first hour, then a "Facilitated Discussion" for the second. The topics will be Parks, Open Space and Conservation.  See you there.

Labels: , , , , ,

Freedom Of Speech, The Charter And More

The Costa Mesa City Council had a long, busy night Tuesday/Wednesday as the meeting stretched until 12:30 a.m.  Not much happened that wasn't anticipated, but it took a long time to get there.  You can read the agenda for the meeting HERE.  I'll give you the shortest version I can.

Nobody pulled anything from the Consent Calendar, so it was passed on a 5-0 vote. (Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger abstained from voting on Item #4, the Salary Resolutions for the Costa Mesa Police Association and the Costa Mesa Police Management Association.

Nine residents spoke during Public Comments.  Among those were RoyEllen Duffield, who told us of a harrowing experience with coyotes in her neighborhood recently, and the fact that the police couldn't help her.  Al Melone spoke, again, on the Small Dog Park and coyotes, too.  Beth Refakes congratulated CMTV's Dane Bora and Brad Long for a recent award and complained about the duration of fireworks.  Dominic DeBona (sp?) complained about current developments and the traffic it will bring, plus the Banning Ranch project and its traffic.  Teresa Drain told us about an unpleasant event that occurred during the 60th Anniversary Celebration and suggested that an independent financial audit is necessary.

During Council Member comments Gary Monahan also addressed the fireworks issue and coyotes, too, citing the fact that they are all over the city and the PD can't do anything about them.  Mensinger expressed gratitude for the fireworks indicating that it generated about $400,000 for youth groups.  Sandra Genis spoke on the Bark Park, then acknowledged the anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (today) and read from President Lynden Johnson's speech about it.  Wendy Leece praised Bora and Long and upcoming events.  She expressed concern for the mounting legal fees and mentioned that Monahan had the City Attorney prepare an ordinance for Medical Marijuana dispensaries in the city without any discussion by the council.  Monahan told us he did that because there are two pending petitions to place Medical Marijuana on the November ballot and he wanted an ordinance in place should either qualify and pass.

During his segment CEO Tom Hatch told us that the old Print Shop on the first floor of City Hall will be evaluated for possible use as a community meeting room and that the architect being used for other work at City Hall will be retained to do that work, too.  He said the Public Safety staff is geared up for July 4th and told folks with coyote issues to call the non-emergency number at the CMPD.  As part of his segment Kelly Shelton, his Executive Assistant, gave us an rundown on the changes at the Fairgrounds this year.  The Fair begins in a little over a week.

New Business #1, the renewal of the agreement with the Harbor Soaring Society went smoothly.  After some conversation that might have required the members of the HSS to police non-member fliers, that idea was abandoned.  The staff proposal was for a 5-year renewal, but Mensinger moved for a 1-year renewal and re-assess it at that time.  Righeimer suggested the 5-years and a look at the loose ends of the process after a year.  That passed, 5-0.

Next up was New Business #2, the new Field Use and Allocation program.  After a short conversation and no public comments it was passed as recommended with the exception that the Matt Leinart Flag Football program - which had officially requested to be given Group 3 status - was given a "special circumstances" designation for a year to see if the program grows with Costa Mesa residents.

The discussion of New Business #3, the proposed security cameras at various venues generated lots of conversation.  Nine residents spoke on the issue.  Most of them felt the control and review of the images captured by the cameras should fall under the Police Department, not the Information Technology Department.  Among those, Robin Leffler said she understood the need in some of the areas, but for them to be used 24/7 in places like Fairview Park and the Joann Street Bike Path "creeped her out" and it smacked of "Big Brotherism".  Greg Ridge was 100% against the cameras, described them as "Orwellian" and it would make things like racial profiling probable.

During the discussion among the council members, concern was expressed by Genis that there was no policy for the management of this kind of a system and Leece was reluctant to support it because there was no data presented that showed the cameras would be a deterrent to crime.

Perhaps the most telling comment made during the discussion was by Mensinger, when he said, "The use of security cameras reduces the need for public safety staff."  Uh, huh!  Another admission of the attack on the Costa Mesa Police Department by a man who is in the middle of suing the men and women of the department.  The item passed, 4-1 - Leece voted NO.

New Business #4, the modified rewards program that includes a proviso to pay a reward for damage to PRIVATE PROPERTY had virtually no discussion by the council.  Tim Lewis spoke, stating it was "mercenary" and it sent the wrong message.  People should do the right thing - report vandalism and other crimes - because it's the right thing to do.  Cindy Black wondered if this program would apply to vandalism directed by council members - obliquely referring to the decomposed trail in Fairview Park.  It passed on a 5-0 vote.

Next up was the the BIGGIE - the proposal to replace unconstitutional Municipal Code section 2-61 with a whole new version as a result of the Benito Acosta event more than 8 years ago.  Attorney Elena Gerli was the lead staffer on this one.  There were still more than 60 people in the auditorium as this debate commenced.  you will recall there were eleven (11) behaviors that might justify a person being sanctioned by the presiding officer and punishment could include arrest for a misdemeanor.  Here's the text of the proposed new section that I provided to you in an earlier post:


2-61 Conduct while addressing the council. 

(a) Any person who engages in disorderly behavior that actually disrupts, 
disturbs or otherwise impedes the orderly conduct of any city council 
 meeting shall, upon an order by the presiding officer or a majority of the 
city council, be barred from further audience before the city council during 
that meeting, pursuant to the provisions of subdivision (c), below. 

(b) Disorderly behavior under subdivision (a) may include, but is not limited to, 
the following: 

(1) Speaking without being recognized by the presiding officer. 

(2) Yelling, or using a loud, disturbing voice. 

(3) Using profanity or obscene gestures. 

(4) Continuing to speak after the allotted time has expired. 

(5) Speaking on an item at a time not designated for discussion by the 
public of that item. 

(6) Throwing objects. 

(7) Speaking on an issue that is not within the jurisdiction of the city 

(8) Continuing to speak after being informed by the presiding officer 
that the comments are unduly repetitive of either prior comments 
from that speaker or comments by other speakers.

(9) Attempting to engage the audience rather than the City Council. 

(10) Disobeying any lawful order of the presiding officer or a majority of 
the city council. 

(11) Refusing to modify conduct after being advised by the presiding 
officer that the conduct is disrupting the meeting. 

(c) Enforcement. The rules of conduct while addressing the city council set 
forth above shall be enforced in the following manner: 

(1) Call to order and warning to desist. Whenever practicable, the 
presiding officer or a majority of the city council shall give a warning 
to the person who is breaching the rules of conduct to be orderly 
and to comply with the rules of conduct hereunder. Such a warning 
 shall articulate the rule of conduct being violated and the manner in 
which the person must comply. 

A warning shall not be necessary when it would not be effective 
under the circumstances, including when, but not limited to, the 
disturbance is such that the warning cannot be heard above the 
noise, or the conduct of the person or persons constitutes an 
immediate threat to public safety, such as the throwing of objects or 
specific threats of harm and the apparent, present ability to carry 
out such threats. A warning shall also not be necessary when an 
individual violates the rules of conduct more than once during a 
council meeting, or continuously violates the rules of conduct 
council meeting after council meeting.

(2) Order barring person from meeting. A person who engages in 
disorderly behavior shall be barred from the remainder of that 
council meeting by the presiding officer or a majority of the city 
council when that person: (i) continues the disorderly behavior after 
receiving a warning pursuant to subdivision (c)(1); (ii) ceases the 
disorderly behavior upon receiving a warning pursuant to 
subdivision (c)(1), but later in the same council meeting resumes 
such disorderly behavior; or (iii) engages in disorderly behavior and 
no warning is practicable under the circumstances, pursuant to 
subdivision (c)(1). 

The continuation of disorderly behavior after receiving a warning, 
repeated disorderly behavior during a council meeting, disorderly 
behavior at council meeting after council meeting, or disorderly 
behavior that is so significant that a warning cannot be given, 
constitutes the type of behavior that actually disrupts, disturbs or 
otherwise impedes the orderly conduct of a city council meeting. 
(3) Removal. If the person barred from the meeting does not voluntarily 
remove him/herself upon being instructed to do so by the presiding 
officer or a majority of the city council, the presiding officer or the 
majority of the city council may direct the sergeant-at-arms to 
remove that person from the council chambers. 

(d) The following conduct shall be unlawful and shall be punishable as a 

(1) Continuing to engage in disorderly conduct, which disrupts, disturbs 
or otherwise impedes the orderly conduct of any city council 
meeting, after receiving a warning pursuant to subdivision (c)(1) of 
this section. 

(2) Refusing to leave a city council meeting after being directed to do 
so pursuant to subdivision (c)(2) of this section. 

(3) Returning to a council meeting after being barred, removed or 
directed to leave such meeting pursuant to subdivisions (c)(2) and 
(c)(3) of this section. 


Early-on during the discussion Righeimer - apparently aware of the firestorm that was caused by this item - acknowledged right off the bat that item 3, profanity, should not be included and that item 8 also should be deleted.  That one dealt with the "unduly repetitive" question.  That defused many of the commentors who followed later, but not all.

Two hours and 22 speakers later, and following a spirited discussion by the council, the item passed on a 4-1 vote, with Leece voting NO.  Much of the discussion revolved around specific items on that list above.  At one point it was suggested to just eliminate the entire list.  Individual items were fleshed out.  The choices of "disruptive" and "disorderly" were discussed at length and it was eventually decided to leave that verbiage intact.    Eventually, when the vote was taken it was decided to eliminate numbers 2,3 and 8 and combine numbers 10 and 11.

There were many amusing and prescient comments made by members of the public.  Among those was John Stephens' lawyerly dissection of "disruptive" and "disorderly", which launched that discussion.  Greg Ridge expressed the view that the holiday we celebrate on Friday represents a long tradition of being "insolent" - the word in the current code section that started this whole thing.  Mary Spadoni read the entire First Amendment of the United States Constitution, then read a parody of it as it might apply to Costa Mesa.

Long time resident Chuck Perry - a good pal of Mensingers - said "The thing that disgusts me the most - I just hate it - is when people make disgusting comments about the council."  Another Mensinger buddy - "Costa Mayberry" walking companion, Estancia High School football coach Mike Bargas - told us that "three minutes was way too much time for some people to speak."  He then used the word "turd" in a peculiar context, then - violating the policy about speaking to the audience, not the council -  referred to folks who oppose the council majority as "a few squeaks".  It's so "comforting" to hear those condescending words - obviously echoes of phrases he hears on his walks - coming from the mouth of a leader of our youth.

After a short, necessary, break the meeting reconvened at 11:20 p.m. to tackle the final item on the agenda - The Charter.  Attorney Yolanda Summerhill, who had been a member of the Charter team, led the discussion of the staff report, HERE.  Fourteen (14) people spoke to this issue - seven (7)) for it and eight (8) against.  Of those seven supporting the Charter, three - Ron Amburgey, Gene Hutchins and Tom Pollitt - had been members of the Charter Committee.  Among the opposed was Harold Weitzberg, also a member of the committee.

Weitzberg, the first speaker, correctly pointed out that this Charter was unnecessary because it, for the most part, just followed General Law.  Sheila Pafflin, who is 100% against the Charter, said it gives too much power to the council.  Charles Mooney, who attended every Charter Committee meeting, said that the Prevailing Wage segment - which formed the cornerstone of the argument for the Charter, actually represents a very insignificant financial savings and that Senate Bill 7 may cause us to actually lose state funding.  He also indicated that the Charter addresses NONE of the current pension liability issues - only those well off into the future.  Tamar Goldmann chided the council for putting this idea forward again after Jim Righeimer's Charter was so soundly defeated less than 2 years ago.  Jay Humhrey looked forward to the enumeration of changes on the ballot statement.  Robin Leffler threw back in Righeimer's face his claim that the Committee was NOT stacked, but fairly selected, when she described the actual process that was followed - which stacked the deck right off the bat.  Terry Koken, in a rare VERY serious moment, described Righeimer's more than 16 year quest to weaken unions and sang the last few words.

Supporters also had their say.  Amburgey, apparently practicing his stump speech for his run for a Mesa Water District Board seat in November, complained about the "big union" influence in the election and bemoaned that there were two groups opposing the Charter - unions and "Robin Leffler's group"... he undoubtedly has a hard time remembering Costa Mesans For Responsible Government (CM4RG).  He was aghast that Leffler and her group would fight against progress.

Gene Hutchins - to the surprise of absolutely nobody who has been watching - took only about ten words before he said the Charter would resolve our unfunded pension liability problems.  Of course, that's not true, but he says it every time he opens his mouth.  The Charter will have NO AFFECT on the current pension liabilities.  Tea Party Tom Pollitt - also a member of the Charter Committee - was almost tongue-tied as he griped about people using the City of Bell as an example of what can happen with an abused Charter - stating that it could "NEVER HAPPEN" in Costa Mesa.  He then launched into a little riff about "we're going to save millions of dollars for pensions and the Police Department and Fire Department."  It doesn't surprise me at all that he lost his Orange County School Board challenge in June.  I'm sorry, but the guy's just not very smart.

The council discussed the various changes that had been suggested for The Charter based on the last hearing.  They are listed on page 2 of the staff report.  I've copied and pasted them below:

Proposed Changes to Draft Charter

The proposed changes include:

A. Section 700 – Public Contracting – Clarify the City’s discretion to follow the Uniform Construction Cost Accounting Act.

B. Section 304 – Compensation - Include “shall continue to be limited” as in general law.

C. Section 306 – Include commissioners and committee members as well as council members.

D. Add Provision re: Elected Officer Qualifications – Follow general law.

E. Add Procedure for Adopting Ordinances – Follow general law.

F. Add Section 602 proposed by Pension Oversight Committee– Pensions – Financial Impact

G. Section 104 – Powers – Impose limitations on power.

H. Add Code of Ethics.

As they rushed to vote on this issue they just went down the list, one-by-one, and agreed to include each of the recommendations by the staff... through letter F.  They completely ignored G and H!

Now, this comes as no surprise to me.  In the case of G. - Section 104 of the proposed Charter reads as follows:
Section 104. Powers.

The City shall have the power to make and enforce all laws and regulations in respect to
municipal affairs, subject only to such restrictions and limitations as may be provided in
this Charter or in the Constitution of the State of California. In the event of any conflict,
this Charter shall control over the general laws of the State of California as to municipal

The ballot explanation would read as follows:
Section 104 as it reads gives the City full authority over municipal affairs regardless of whether the charter addresses that particular issue.

The following is the proposed modification - the one that was rejected by the council.

Section 104. Powers.
Except as enumerated in this charter, the general laws of the State of California shall

 Ballot Description Pertaining to Section 104.
Section 104 would limit the City’s powers to those areas expressly addressed in the charter.

As you can see, this is a HUGE difference and, in my opinion, the fact that the council chose to reject the modification speaks volumes to their actual intent with this Charter.  The Charter will go on the ballot with the language above and will provide the framework to do whatever they want once the Charter is in force.  This is the stake in the heart of this latest Charter scheme.

Couple that with the outright rejection - again - of  item H., a Code of Ethics, and it's clear that the council majority is going to be planning some very BIG changes - ones not codified in the Charter language, but that will be possible/probable with the language in Section 104 intact.

The council passed the resolution to place the Charter on the ballot on a 3-2 vote - Genis and Leece voted no.  The two other companion issues - procedural matters - passed on 4-1 votes - Leece voted NO.

And, in an interesting procedural twist, the council somehow decided - without a vote - to distribute four mailers in the run-up to the election at a cost of $8,400 each - $33,600.  I guess that falls within CEO Hatch's authority.  Here's the proposed distribution schedule:
  • Mailer No. 1 (General Law vs. Charter City chart) – Sept. 25
  • Mailer No. 2 (Charter FAQs): Oct. 6
  • Mailer No. 3 (Reprint of the proposed charter): Oct. 20
  • Optional - Mailer No. 4 (reprint of the proposed charter with margin notes): Oct. 27
So, we're off and running.  It's going to be VERY interesting to see what kind of marketing strategy is used to peddle this Charter to the public.  Personally, I don't think it's appropriate for the City to distribute pro-charter propaganda, so I'm going to be watching what comes out of City Hall on this issue.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Monday, June 30, 2014

Fairview Park Committee To Attack Serious Issues

Wednesday evening, July 2nd, the Costa Mesa Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee - guided by Chairman Dr. Richard Mehren and Vice Chair Steve Smith and after months and months of discussions, will finally begin to get to the meat of the issues that a few of them have waited for - a chance to actually consider placing playing fields somewhere in the park.

The meeting, which will be held in the Victoria Room at the Neighborhood Community Center, 1845 Park Avenue (Lions Park) from 6:00 - 8:00, will find the committee finishing up the discussions of the final eight (8) issues being considered for the Northeast Quadrant - see map - and then begin discussing the Southeast Quadrant.  You can read the agenda HERE.

Early in the meeting there will be two presentations, as listed on that agenda, followed by Public Comments, where members of the public may use three minutes to address the committee on issues they feel are important about Fairview Park.  Speakers will also be given a chance to address specific items on the agenda later, if they choose.

As they finish the Northeast Quadrant they will discuss, and take comment from the public on, the following possible used in that segment of the park:
  • Improve/Designate Bike Paths
  • Lawn Bowling/Bocce Ball
  • Retain the Elements of the Master Plan as it Reads now
  • Dog Park
  • Skate Park
  • Nature Center-Bird Watching Platforms
  • Marked Running Courses
  • Archery Area

Those items are what remain from their previous discussion on this quadrant.  You will recall that, early in their deliberations, the committee listed thirty-five (35) items, elements or activities that they felt MIGHT be worthy of consideration for some segment of the park.  Included in the list was that one shown above - "Retain the Elements of the Master Plan as it Reads now".  The committee will discuss these and either agree to forward them for further consideration to the Parks and Recreation Commission or not.  At the last meeting none of the first eight were moved forward.

Following THAT discussion the committee will start the conversation about the Southeast Quadrant - that area which includes the Orange County Model Engineers trains - recently renewed for five years - and the big parking lot.  Some members of the committee have been salivating over this space for most of the last year, so it will be interesting to see how this conversation evolves.  The following is a list of the twenty-two (22) items the staff extracted from the list and feel MIGHT be appropriate for this segment of the park.  Read the appropriate portion of the staff report HERE.

1.  Dry Land Wildlife Viewing Area
2.  Baseball/Softball Facilities
3.  Recreate Heritage/Native American Village
4.  Vernal Pool Preservation with Cables, Signage, and delineation
5.  Soccer/Football Fields
6.  Multi-use Athletic Fields
7.  Retain the Elements of the Master Plan as it Reads Now
8.  Install a Two-tier Building that includes an Interpretive Center and Terrace/Viewing Deck
9.  Westside grass area/sprinkler system improvements
10. Basketball/handball Courts
11. OCME Track Expansions/Improvements
12. Trail Exercise Stations
13. Improve Placentia Avenue with Cable and Post Delineation
14. Roller Hockey Surface
15. Improve/Designate Bike Paths
16. Concrete Path from NW Traffic Signal to SE Traffic  Signal at Estancia
17. Dog Park
18. Expand Concert Area
19. Skate Park
20. Nature Center-Bird Watching Platforms
21. Archery Area
22. Marked Running Courses

Typically, the committee will discuss these items, winnow then down to a practical few, then staff will return at the next meeting with detailed presentations on each for the committee to consider and either recommend or discard.  As I mentioned above, at the last meeting they recommended NONE of the proposed options.

We presume the serious discussion of the Southeast Quadrant will take place at their next meeting - presently scheduled for August 6th, unless vacations will preclude a quorum being attained.

The turnout has been sparse at these meetings and they are no longer televised by Barry Friedland at Costa Mesa Brief, so if you want to see what's happening to your park you must attend in person - or read my report later.  I encourage you to attend - it's an interesting process.

Labels: , , ,

The Future Of Costa Mesa Housing?

At the suggestion of an acquaintance who posted on Nextdoor, my wife and I visited a brand new housing development in Costa Mesa Saturday morning - Taylor Morrison's 60-unit live/work development - Level 1 -  at the corner of Newport Boulevard and Industrial Way.  You can read Bradley Zint's Daily Pilot article HERE, and view Don Leach's photo gallery HERE

My first reaction as we approached the project from our parking spot along Industrial Way was that it looked pretty darn stark, but I admit that's a matter of personal taste.  We had arrived just after they opened for business and the place was already humming, with lots of Looky-Lous and potential buyers wandering around, brochures in hand.  We didn't waste much time in the sales office - the garage area of the first of two models open for viewing - but just grabbed some paperwork and scampered around the corner to see the units.  We'd chat with the sales staff later.

The first floor in each of the units is the "work" segment of the live/work concept.  Each of the first floor units had garage-type roll-up doors as a wall, in addition to entry doors from the garage and the "street".  Each "work" element seemed small, but probably practical as an office for an accountant, graphic designer or consultant.  Each had a half-bath, with a toilet, sink and a walk-in shower, which surprised me.  I thought the original plan just called for a powder room.  With this configuration those first-floor elements are an easy conversion into another bedroom.

17 STAIRS...
To reach the second floor living area you trudge up 17 stairs.  In the larger units - with 3 bedrooms - you walk up to a landing, make a 180 turn and finish the climb.  In the smaller units you take a long, straight hike up 17 stairs.  In addition to the living spaces - kitchen and living room - there is a powder room.

AND 17 MORE...
The sleeping floor is the 3rd - another 17 stairs - and each one has two bathrooms plus a closet for stacked washer and dryer.  The rooms were large enough and the view will be nice once the construction is completed.

If you want to access the rooftop patio you must navigate 18 stairs, but the hike is worth it.  The views are terrific - we could see all the way past Hoag Hospital to the ocean.  Of course, in the foreground was Carls, Jr. and Taylor's Trim Shop across Industrial Way.  Because these units are attached, it's possible to climb from one roof top patio to the next.

On the way out I asked the sales staff just what kind of "work" folks would be doing in those 1st floor units?  Parking is minimal and they told me that no retail would be permitted.  They were not amused when I suggested that, with the addition of that 1st floor bathroom, one of the world's oldest professions might work out just fine.  A friend suggested that the rooftop patios might make lovely marijuana plantations, with a "dispensary" on the 1st floor.   Actually, as I said above, I will not be surprised at all if those 2 and 3 bedroom units end up as 3 and 4 bedroom units, and rental units, to boot.  We'll see. 

Another thought crossed my mind - an entrepreneur might buy a block of those units and combine them for use as rehabilitation homes.  Let's see how that might pencil-out... If you buy 2, 2-bedroom units and 2, 3-bedroom units that are contiguous for about $3 million and house 20 "residents" in them at $8,000 - $10,000 per month each... doesn't take long to make a profit.  Just sayin'...

Did I like these units, which range from around $747,000 for the smaller one to $841,000 for the larger, which is just under 2000 square feet?  Yeah, I think so, but they're not for me.  Too many stairs, too close to your neighbors, not enough guest parking, too much ambient traffic noise and just too congested.  I doubt if you'll see ANY children in these units - there's no place for them to play and it's located in the middle of an industrial area.  That being said, we saw lots of people putting on hardhats for tours of units under construction.

After we visited the models we took a little cruise around the site of the proposed 176 units on the ArgoTech toxic site at Pomona Avenue and 17th Street a few hundred yards away then turned and drove right on past the construction at the corner of Superior and 17th Street, where even more live/work units are being built.  I was trying to contemplate the impact of the traffic that will be generated by nearly 350 new dwelling units on that 17th/Superior/Anaheim Avenue/Industrial Way snarl.  And then I attempted to contemplate the impact of the proposed Banning Ranch development, which will more than quadruple those numbers!  I'm glad I live on the Eastside.

Labels: , , ,