Friday, June 05, 2015

An Interesting Planning Commission Meeting Guaranteed Monday

The Costa Mesa Planning Commission meets again on Monday, June 8, 2015 beginning at 6:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall and this one is certain to be action-packed.  You can read the agenda HERE.

Right off the top I expect this one to generate lots of interest.  There are three (3) items on the Consent Calendar, alone, that might evoke interest/discussion by members of the audience.  As you know, Consent Calendar items are considered routine and can be voted upon in one bulk vote.  Well, I'm thinking some of these will get pulled for discussion.  For example:

Item 3, the General Plan Conformity Resolution for a proposed drainage easement within Fairview Park in conjunction with a new residential development located at 2294 Pacific Avenue, HERE, might get yanked for separate discussion simply because it encroaches on Fairview Park.  We'll see.

Item #4, HERE, which is titled, "Update from the Community Improvement Division", which sounds kind of bland and something most folks wouldn't get too excited about.  However, when you click on the link for the staff report, it takes you to a document titled, "Group Home Ordinance No. 14-13 - Implementation Update Report", which is a whole different kettle of fish!  In this 16 page report there is a lot to consider.  For example, on page 16 - after lots of charts with detail, we are told that in Costa Mesa we have an increase of 134% in Sober Living Homes from 2014 to 2015!  We have, for the same period, an increase in Number of Beds of almost 31%!  So, yes... this report is probably going to require some conversation before the commission votes to receive and file it.

Item #5, HERE, is the Comparison Matrix of High Density Residential Designations in Orange County Cities, and has some darn interesting data to chew on.  The chart is arrayed in descending order by Units Per Acre, with Villa Park at 3 units per acre and Garden Grove at 60.  The remaining 33 cities fall between those extremes, with Costa Mesa near the top (low) end of the spectrum at 20 units per acre.  I suspect at least one of the commissioners and, more likely, members of the public, might wish to chat about these numbers since there has been recent vocal complaints about high density housing in our city.

After all that fun we finally get to the meaty part of the meeting, the Public Hearings.  First one up is #1, HERE, resident Ann Parker's expensive appeal of the Zoning Administrator's approval of a deviation from parking requirements for a group counseling use at 657 W. 19th Street - literally a pebble throw from the Costa Mesa Senior Center.  The Zoning Administrator approved a minor conditional use permit so the applicant - John Morehart - can allow his tenant to operate with only 24 spaces instead of the 67 required by code.  The business is occupied by Solid Landings, a recovery facility.  This one will be VERY interesting.  You might remember Mr. Morehart as the fellow who moved the Huscroft House to a site on Bernard Street and rehabilitated it.  He has many other interests in the city.

Public Hearing #2, HERE, is a Planning Application for yet another two-unit residential development at 1620 Orange Avenue that falls under the Small Lot Ordinance.  In another meeting this one might be considered controversial, but it will likely seem tame when compared to the other items on the agenda.   Despite being covered by the SLO, the applicant is still asking for deviations in setbacks - precisely the kind of thing the SLO was supposed to avoid.

Public Hearing #3, HERE, should be lots of fun!  This is for Maison, the stealth night club for the notorious Roland Barrera to be located at the site of the former Lion's Den at 719 West 19th Street - half a block from the Costa Mesa Senior Center.  You may recall that the City was alerted to the illegal, non-permitted renovations of this location by Barrera and his cohorts a few months ago and, as a result of that alert, the place was red-tagged and remains so to this date.  Basically, Barrera has thumbed his nose - or used another digital display of disdain - at the City and went about trying to open his place without permits or business licenses.  In fact, the day of the red-tagging musicians showed up expecting to play that evening!  It's going to be very interesting to hear whatever explanation this applicant might have for this behavior.

Public Hearing #4, HERE, is the Planning Application from a church, St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, to conduct a Farmer's Market in the parking lot from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday mornings, in the heart of a residential neighborhood.  To do this they would rip out most of their landscaped area and replace it with 34 more parking spaces to accommodate the 15 vendor stalls.  This request has many of the nearby neighbors up in arms because their neighborhood is already under siege from a proliferation of group homes and the meetings held for that demographic at the church.  This is at the very busy corner of East Bay Street and Orange Avenue.  While the title says, "Farmers Market" the staff report implies open-air bazaar, with all manner of food and second-hand merchandise - old bicycles, electronics, furniture and lawn and garden equipment - being peddled.  It's easy to understand why the neighbors are upset.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

Seriously, this is a weekend swap meet? I understand there is the ability to sell beer? This is a meeting place for sober living home residents. Are they serious? I'd be flipping out also if there were a swap meet in my neighborhood every Saturday. Not only is parking going to be an issue, but if they are selling beer, its an open air liquor store. This is not a good precedent to set in this city, which already has an over abundance of liquor stores.

Haven't people figured out by now we have no "general plan?" We don't need ordinances nor variences, as they are granted whenever they are requested as long as you're a developer or developing. Property rights and peoples' rights don't exist. Only those that can afford to "pay their way" with our mayor pro tem. Pay to play.

6/06/2015 09:27:00 AM  

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