Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Of Development, Hydrogen Fuel And Swimming Pools

The Costa Mesa Planning Commission met again last night and, in their version of Run-And-Gun-Golf,  made pretty quick work of everything on their agenda.  It was a big night for Harbor Boulevard, which saw several items located along that stretch of road.

For example, nobody pulled a single thing from the Consent Calendar, so all the items on it were passed on a 4-0 vote (Vice Chair Jeff Mathews was more than a half-hour late to the meeting).  So, we didn't hear about the 2015 Development Phasing and Performance Monitoring Report; the review of the conditional use permit for Saddleback Church at 1901 Newport Blvd or the Capital Improvement Program.

The first Public Hearing - a two-year time extension for a 33-unit development at 2626 Harbor Blvd. (across from the Cadillac Dealership, currently undergoing renovation) - was approved after very little discussion - 4-0.

The second Public Hearing - a 2-unit, two-story development at 162 East 18th Street in which a ramshackle pair of single story dwellings will be replaced by very nice homes - also was heard quickly and passed on a 5-0 vote.

Public Hearing #3, a 24-unit development at 650 Hamilton Street replacing a previously-approved 18-unit development on the site, got a little more conversation because of the parking in the neighborhood, but was passed on a 5-0 vote.  The commission felt that this development served the community well because it provided a more affordable - estimated to be in the high $600,000 range - home ownership opportunites than the previous plan.

Public Hearing #4, a Hydrogen Fuel outlet at the site of the Valero Gas Station on the corner of Harbor Blvd. and Bay Street - across the street from Theordore Robins Ford - was approved in an almost euphoric frenzy by the commissioners.  Colin McCarthy made the motion, eager to have Costa Mesa be a leader in "new stuff".  Of course, it's unclear whether this place will make any money for several years since there are so few Hydrogen-powered cars on the road.  When asked, Dr. Shane Stevens - co-founder of the company -  told us that Toyota has a car in the works that will sell for $57,000, but there might be rebates taking it down to $45,000.  Other companies - Honda and Mercedes, for example, apparently lease such cars for $600- $800 per month, including the cost of fuel.  During the discussion of safety issues Commissioner Stephan Andranian reminded us of The Hindenburg disaster.  The item passed, 5-0.

The final item on the agenda was the conditional use permit for an Indoor Swim School at the KMart Plaza.  It will operate from 9 a.m - 9 p.m., seven days a week and, theoretically, will not have a parking impact on the shared parking in the center.  Both McCarthy and Chairman Rob Dickson were almost giddy with excitement about having this facility - in which the operator will spend more than $600,000 in improvements installing the pool and support infrastructure - so close to home so they don't have to take their kids down to Irvine for swim lessons.  The issue passed, 5-0.

A couple thoughts.  Some of the commissioners - McCarthy, in particular - seemed VERY agitated when members of the public spoke to criticize or ask questions about sober living homes or the aggressive development going on in town.  McCarthy could be seen shaking his head and rolling his eyes as speakers complained to the commission.  They obviously don't like the fact that speakers will address the same issues over and over again, seeking answers to the questions.

One of those issues was the Maison club on the Westside, which you might recall was red-tagged more than a month ago because it had opened for business without a single license or permit for the extensive renovations being performed a the site.  The last word I have from City Hall is that, as of last Friday the Red Tag was still in place and, based on the architect's projections, it will take a month before the red tag can be removed for operating as a bar only and an additional 6 weeks until it can serve food.  Scofflaw Roland Barrera and his crew have apparently been very cooperative with the city staff, but his arrogant disregard for the rules is costing him a lot of money.

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Anonymous Arthur Nern said...

People like Colon don't like questions- they just want to carry out their masters' orders without the spotlight being shined on them. Keep asking questions. Ignore shill dunces like Popp. Follow the money.

4/28/2015 06:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Mike McNiff said...

It begs to be asked - kids can't learn to swim outdoors? Just saying.

Sounds like a good project, but really, one has to take his kid to Irvine today to learn to swim indoors? My kids have had lessons - all outdoors - at multiple locations around town, starting with OCC.

And the day $600k is considered affordable is just depressing.

4/28/2015 06:26:00 AM  
Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Andranian brings up the potential danger in hydrogen gas, remarks about the Hindenberg, and then votes to approve? Great guy.

I wonder if McCarthy and Dickson, in their euphoria over a public pool, realize that the traffic on that intersection is horrendous already. Is this going in front of KMart? Or in the back of this shopping center? Parking is going to be horrendous as well as the traffic at that intersection.

I can't help but feel that they are trying to cram too much into too little space. Pretty much an idiotic move, but then what can you expect from them?

4/28/2015 07:08:00 AM  
Anonymous lovemygarden said...

If Maison is still red tagged, someone should inform its owner because he has shows lined up for next month, including this one for next weekend (May 9): http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=5694075&pl=mw&REFID=mw

4/28/2015 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Westside4ever said...

I think the Aqua Tots business venture will be interesting to watch play out. Located between Payless Shoes and Party City is probably the best location for them in that shopping center. But I'm not sure how much business they'll actually attract due to their prices. $72 per month or $16.50 per lesson (1/2 hour lessons) is pretty steep. Considering the area is ground zero for the homeless/transient population at Wilson Park and the constant panhandlers aggressively roaming the parking lot asking for money, customers may not choose to deal with it at those prices.

4/28/2015 08:49:00 AM  
Anonymous It has to be said...

Dear Very Agitated Commissioners,

Try answering the questions truthfully.

4/28/2015 08:55:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

I wonder if Barrera has actually paid any of the fines imposed on him, or whether he'll eventually get his business in compliance with law and then plead to have the fines excused. Watch what he does, and the City Councilmen's response.

4/28/2015 10:02:00 PM  

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