Monday, March 23, 2015

Planning Commission Kicks The Can(s) Down The Road

Last night the Costa Mesa Planning Commission agreed to kick the can down the road on the only two major issues on the agenda and it still took almost two hours to wrap up the meeting.

Before role call the commission heard a very positive presentation from Deric Sabori, Vice President of Volcom, which outlined the history of the company, its move to Costa Mesa and its recent acquisition by Kering Corporation.

During Public Comments five of the seven speakers addressed the debacle of the former Lions Den bar - now called Maison - which was scheduled to open for business as a LiveNation entertainment venue last Friday night, but was Red Tagged by city officials when it was determined that the operator, the infamous Roland Barrera, had obtained NONE of the required permits - business license, use permit, construction-related permits - and that the business was unsafe to operate.  Neighboring resident Steve Chan used his three minutes to address this issue and his comments were amplified and enhanced by presentations by Ann Parker, Mary Spadoni, Edward Carmona and Markie Rabinowitz.

Beth Refakes reminded us of the Easter egg and toy drive for the children of the 1/5 Marines at Camp Pendleton.  Jim Kerins expressed the opinion that the development he's seeing around town lately is NOT making Costa Mesa a better place.  He doesn't like the vertical, cramped development spouting up all over town.  He was especially concerned about what may happen at the property owned by the First Church Christ Scientist on Mesa Verde Drive East - his neighborhood.

Following Commissioner Comments Chairman Rob Dickson re-shuffled the deck and moved New Business #1, the 2104 Annual Review of the 2000 General Plan, forward on the agenda.  The presentation and discussion of that very important 94-page document took less than 10 minutes, after which the commission voted unanimously to forward it to the City Council.

Public Hearing #1, the High Rise development at 3350 Avenue of the Arts was continued until the April 13th meeting so additional staff work could be completed.  Only one person spoke on this issue.  Spadoni reminded the Planning Commission that the current Fire Department deployment plan calls for the closure of Fire Station #6 - our newest facility and the one designed to serve the area in which this high rise, and other mid-rise developments, are being planned.  She demanded that Station #6 NOT be closed.  She later told me that the developer of this particular project had no idea that Station #6 was scheduled for closure.

At 6:45 the discussion of Public Hearing #2, the 28-unit development on Victoria Street, began.  This, too, was intended to be continued until April 13th so the developer could hear and digest public comments and consider what kind of modifications, if any, he might wish to make to the project.    Senior Planner Mel Lee gave an abbreviated staff report addressing zoning and traffic impacts, then the public was invited to speak.
Eight people spoke on this issue - none in favor if it.  Major concerns ranged from the density of the project, even though it meets the zoning requirements; the variances being requested; the very limited open space and - probably the most contentious issue - the traffic impacts and traffic safety caused by the need to access this project from a very busy Victoria Street.

Spadoni, Jay Humphrey, Steve Sprigg, Parker, Kerins, Amber Webster and one other woman who's name I missed and a fellow who spoke later all complained about those issues in very passionate terms.  The developer, Eric Nelson, stepped up to express his gratitude for their input and for the commissions willingness to extend his time until next month.

Commissioner Colin McCarthy also expressed concern about the density issue and the traffic.  The commission voted to continue the meeting until April 13th.  I suspect the next hearing for this project will include MANY comments from members of the public again.  This seems like a "torches and pitchforks" kind of issue. 

We were out of the building before 8 p.m.!  Yea!

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Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

Is Roland Barrera friends with Riggy or Baugh?

3/24/2015 09:02:00 AM  
Blogger Honeyman said...

Venezia also was questioning this relationship back 1 1/2 years ago:

3/24/2015 10:25:00 AM  
Anonymous Teresa Drain said...

de ja vu...
the development was continued to a later hearing, because of residents' concern, and a commissioner's too?

I heard that story with the Cadillac remodel. 5-0 decided to continue and have the developer work with the residents. Then, 5-0 did a 180 degree turn at the following hearing and berated the residents and used incorrect information to base their unanimous decision to move forward.
Then the council majority piled on, the Mayor yelled at the residents, and reversed the concessions that the developer was willing to give!!! And we have not heard from the developer since - other than their contractors refusing to acknowledge physical damages done, and causing the resident to have to sue for recovery.

Neighbors - dont give the developer too much time... the deals they cut will not be with you.

3/24/2015 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

Teresa, it's almost like they all huddled up and came up with a plan that was the 180. But that wouldn't be proper now, would it? Transparency in action!

3/24/2015 03:30:00 PM  
Blogger zennymoon said...

I spoke with the residents near the proposed new project, who came to planning, they said they couldn't believe they were asleep at the wheel and let reef project be built on Victoria at SA River. So the additional 26 units has got their immediate attention. They have mega legitimate traffic concerns and dangerous street issue. Roland "I don't need no stinkin permits" Barrera is other
story. wassup with him and the city??? b

3/24/2015 11:13:00 PM  

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