Friday, June 05, 2015

Talbert Regional Park Restoration Workshop

The second, and final, public workshop conducted by OC Parks and its consultant team for the gathering of input on the possible restoration of Talbert Regional Park was held last night at the Costa Mesa Community Center.  Approximately 50 people were in the room, including at least four members of the consultant team and OC Parks.
As was the case at the previous meeting last fall, HERE, those in attendance tended to be some familiar faces - folks I've seen at similar meetings, including many of the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee meetings while they were being held.

City staffers Assistant CEO Rick Francis, Director of Public Services Ernesto Munoz, Transportation Services Manager Raja Sethuraman and Parks Project Manager Bart Mejia attended.  Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Kim Pederson and members Bob Graham and Brett Eckles attended.  In addition, councilwoman Sandra Genis, former councilwoman Wendy Leece and former councilman Jay Humphrey were in the audience and were active participants.
Chris Webb, Manager and Technical Lead from the firm of Moffatt & Nichol led off with an overview of the purpose of the meeting, the scope of work, an introduction of the team and a recap and summary of the previous meetings work. 
(Click on the images for easier viewing)
Craig Frampton, Assistant Project Manager, from the same firm, took over and guided us through a discussion of the four alternatives culled from the previous meeting and consultant/OC Parks meetings as shown on these slides, plus a short discussion of Tidal Connections.
Then Clark Stevens, of New West Land Company, Inc, spoke of the public access elements of this plan.  His presentation included a discussion of the Sheep Hills section of the park - where BMX bicyclers dominate the terrain.  The plan would be to build a berm around that area to isolate and protect those folks and to clearly prescribe where that kind of activity is permitted.  He also discussed the configuration of the many trails, the alternatives for Victoria Lake and other elements.  I've only included a few of the slides used in the discussions.  The presentations were thorough and informative.
Susan Brodeur of OC Parks was on hand to answer questions, too.
We then participated in a "ranking exercise", in which all the attendees were asked to use the materials provided and to rank the various components as "Must Do", "Should Do", "Nice to Do", and "Never", for each of the alternatives.  As I wandered around during this process I noticed an interesting array of variations on this process.  Later those forms were collected and the information will be compiled and a report prepared further distilling the public preferences for this segment of Talbert Park.  Several of the attendees commented about this particular exercise, indicating it was probably too complicated.  Several strayed from the preferred method and simply provided specific input on items that were important to them.  The meeting ran an hour long because many participants had good questions for the discussion leaders.
Folks were concerned about, among other things, the probability of the need for increased police presence in an enhanced park.  And, Banning Ranch was brought up a couple times, so a question was asked about possible relationships by the consultants with the folks at the Banning Ranch developers.  We were told none exists.  Concerns were expressed for the Costa Mesa Sanitary District Pipeline that is planned for that general area.  It was explained that the pipe would be much lower than the bottom of the area of concern.
The report will be posted on the OC Parks website, HERE, which is the web address shown on this slide.
This slide defines the next steps in this process.  Like any process involving a government bureaucracy, nothing will happen fast.  These two workshops have created expectations in the minds of many participants, who took time out of their busy lives to study this issue and provide input based on their interests and preferences.  Nothing will happen - no ground moved or habitat modified - until several levels of approvals and planning decisions are made.  Certainly, it is unreasonable to expect anything to happen within a year, particularly since it will involve an Environmental Impact Report, approvals by the Board of Supervisors and the California Coastal Commission.  However, it was a worthwhile exercise and, hopefully, will result in improvements to this special part of Orange County.  We'll see...

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home