Friday, February 27, 2015

Pederson And Eckles Head Parks & Rec. Commission

At the first meeting of the year for the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission last night - the January meeting was cancelled because of a "noticing" snafu - recently appointed commissioners Byron de Arakal, Bob Graham and Brett Eckles were sworn-in by City Clerk Brenda Green.
Following that act, former Vice Chairman Kim Pederson was elected by his peers to be the Chairman and newcomer Eckles was chosen as Vice Chairman.  Member Don Harper was absent, so both men were selected on 4-0 votes.
During Public Comments two members of the public - part of the very sparse crowd in the chambers - stepped up to address issues before the commission.

Rocky Evans asked, again, for the commission to consider extending the hours of operation at the Volcom Skate Park.  He cited the coming daylight savings time and the extended daylight as summer approaches.

Mark Arblaster, long time club soccer official told the commission that his organization - a Group 3 user, which means they pay to play - contributed significantly to the well-being of the fields.  He said in the last year they spent $80,000 maintaining fields ($18,000 of which was at Davis Field); $41,000 in field rental and $9,000 for light rental.  He cited new out-of-town users that have recently begun using fields and asked the commission to consider making some kind of credit available to his group to offset some of their maintenance costs.

Old Business #1, the tree removal request for 3126 Cork Lane began with Maintenance Services Manager Bruce Hartley apologizing to the applicant, who was making his 5th trip to the commission on this issue, in great part due to administrative foul-ups in the noticing process.  The request was for the removal of two trees.  Applicant Shaun Stellman made a passionate request, including citing his tenacity and reminded the commission that recent history shows that he will "try, try and try again" to accomplish his goal - the removal of both trees.  After significant discussion by the commission and staff, they decided to remove one of the trees and not the other, both on 4-0 votes.

New Business #1, the tree removal request at 216 Flower Street, was also a return trip on this issue.  The commission had previously denied the removal of this particular tree - a very mature eucalyptus.  The tree had been pruned last year by our contract tree service.  Again, after lengthy discussion the request to remove the tree was denied, but the resident - Allan Popp -  was told that, when the pending driveway replacement was commenced the City would send an arborist out to check the roots because it's adjacent to the driveway and might recommend root barriers or some other action.  The vote was 4-0 to deny the removal.

New Business #2, the tree removal request at 3050 Madison was yet another return visit.  Previously the City had removed two Canary Island Pines at this location and the resident - Suzann Cummins -  who told us she turned 80 two weeks ago, was concerned about her health due to the pollen and damage she claimed was being done to her plumbing.  It apparently exacerbated two health issues she is experiencing.  The commissioners told her that she needed to have a service video her pipes so the staff could determine if the tree in question was the culprit and that she needed to present a doctor's statement regarding the health issues for them to consider that factor.  The vote was also 4-0 to deny the removal.

Then came the brief discussion of Portable Turf.  It turned out to be too expensive a proposition and there is currently no place in the city where it might be used - except across the street on the Fairgrounds parking lot.  The commission thanked the staff for the good work and just received and filed the report.

During his report Travis Karlen, Recreation Manager, told us of some future events:
  • March 5th, from 6-8 p.m. at the Neighborhood Community Center, there will be a community meeting to discuss the plans for the new library at that site.  The community is invited.
  • March 10th will be the first Senior Commission meeting at 9 a.m. at the Senior Center.
  • March 12th, from 1-3 p.m., there will be an Open House at the Senior Center to show off the improvements made since the takeover by the City.
  • April 25th is the Costa Mesa Community Run.
  • He also reminded us of the vacancies on many committees and the Senior Commission.  I posted about that earlier.
The commission adjourned to their next meeting on March 26th and the crowd - me - departed.

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