Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Planning Commission Rejects A Church, And More...

It was an interesting evening with the Costa Mesa Planning Commission last night.  Much of the evening went about as anticipated, but there were a couple things that snapped my eyelids open.  Let us begin...
Public Comments included Beth Refakes reminding us of the Eggstravaganza - the candy and gifts drive for the children of our adopted Marine battalion out of Camp Pendleton. 
Businessman Tim Lewis, who apparently came directly from work judging from the grease on his hands, reminded the commission of the ownership issue on the Red Mountain project at Harbor and Hamilton.
During Commissioner Comments Stephan Andranian again asked for a Code Enforcement update - at the next meeting on the 22nd.
Colin McCarthy mentioned the meeting last Saturday at the Fairview Developmental Center concerning the apparent plans by the State to sell the site, which has dwindled down to just over 200 residents from something over 2700.  The meeting ran from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.  McCarthy told us he arrived just after two and the Daily Pilot article about the meeting was already online.  He made a point of demanding to know if the Smart Growth Initiative will have an impact on the development of that site.
Chairman Rob Dickson mentioned the Costa Mesa Brief YouTube video of the meeting.

The commission voted, 5-0, to pass the Consent Calendar - the minutes from the previous meeting.

As they then began to consider the Public Hearings for the evening, right off the bat Dickson announced that Public Hearing #3, the proposal for 43 units at the site of a car dealership on Harbor Blvd. at Merrimac was being continued to the next meeting at the request of the applicant, and that he would NOT be entertaining any public comments on the issue.  The commission then voted, 5-0, to continue the item.
First up was Public Hearing #1, the request for minor conditional use permit for a church at 3184-J Airway Avenue.  The request had been approved by the Zoning Administrator in December and called up for review by the Planning Commission by Commissioner Stephan Andranian that month, also.  The applicant was "The Ismaili Community", which apparently is a religious organization funded by the Aga Khan Development Network and has 9 hospitals, 200 clinics and 200 schools worldwide.  They have 80 facilities in the US.  They have been domiciled nearby in Irvine for many years, but say they've outgrown the site.  An odd statement, since the proposed site is just under 2,000 square feet and the site they currently occupy is 3,200 square feet.
The complication of this application was the proximity of another church, the Berean Community Church, already located nearby, and the complication of congregations competing for parking.  Of the seven (7) members of the public who spoke about this issue, only one - the property owner and seller - spoke in favor of this move.  The rest were either representing the other church, nearby businesses who would apparently suffer from the influx of more people to the center, or concerned residents.  Following an hour of discussion the commission voted to reject the Zoning Administrators approval on a 3-2 vote.  Chairman Dickson and Vice Chair Jeff Mathews voted NO.
Public Hearing #2, the proposed restaurant use at the shopping center at the corner of Harbor and Adams at the site of the old theater, then Paul Mitchell School, was promptly approved unanimously following 10 minutes of discussion.  Parking - an issue with the Paul Mitchell School - is apparently a non-issue now, according to applicant John Hill.

Public Hearing #4, the proposed two-unit development at 1808 Pomona Avenue, should have been a slam dunk, but it had some interesting moments.  This project requested no deviations from code.  Everything was rocking along nicely - Commissioner Tim Sesler asked the owner what price point they would be at and was told $680,000 - $720,000 for the 4-bedroom model and more than $720,000 for the 5-bedroom model.  Colin McCarthy began to wax poetic again about the Small Lot Ordinance.  Then came public comments...
The first speaker, a person active within the community and particularly so in dealing with the sober living home issue, stepped up and told the commission that this neighborhood was packed with sober living homes - she described the locations in detail - then pointed out that the configuration of these two homes was as though they were designed specifically for such a facility!  The 5-bedroom unit, for example, has a bedroom with bathroom on the first floor and 4 more bedrooms and three more bathrooms on the second floor.
A second speaker stepped up and told the commission that Costa Mesa has 215 unlicensed sober loving homes and 90 licensed facilities and this project was designed for such use.  A third speaker was concerned about the parking requirements for the development.
During the subsequent discussion commissioners tap-danced around the sober living issue, stating that they couldn't make a decision based on speculation of how the properties might be used.  It's interesting to note that, based on what we're led to believe is the going rate for "clients" in sober living homes in the city, it would take just over a year to pay off one of those homes with that use.  The commission passed the project on a 5-0 vote.
Public Hearing #5, the two-unit development at 2156 Myran Drive, also passed on a 5-0 vote.  The only question on this one was the size of a landscaped area abutting Myran Drive, which was quickly resolved.
The meeting ended at 8:30 with Deputy City Attorney Yolanda Summerhill reminding the commissioners that their Statements of Economic Interest were due to be submitted in March.

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Anonymous Where's My Coffee? said...

You know, a business, especially a restaurant, is only as viable as the amount of people they can get into the business. Parking is the issue. If you can't get people into the business, you won't have customers. I love the Habit. Cannot go there often due to parking. Many times, I drive in, can't park, and leave.

Seems to me McCarthy should be less concerned with development of Fairview Development Center, than the obvious issue of building 43 units, requiring a zoning change (?) on the corner of Merrimack and Harbor. I know it was continued, but if they were smart....

Some of the duo home lots are fairly nice. However, there is a couple on the corner of Orange, brand new, for sale. And have been for sale for quite awhile Price reduced. Still for sale. I guess that really shoots the daylights out of the argument that Costa Mesa has no home inventory for sale. So now, we have more desire to build duo units, despite that it is most likely going to be used for rehab homes. But, if they are for sale, who can tell who will buy them?

I'm getting sick and tired of the density being proposed for Harbor Blvd. Its already gridlocked a good share of time, and now they want density at Harbor and Fair, Harbor and Merrimac, and there is more proposed for the Fairview Development Center area. More going in over near Mesa Verde East. What the hell are they trying to do to this city?

I think its clear we need to vote yes on the Smart Growth Initiative and get rid of the council majority in November. We need a fresh start. The "Mensheimer" combination is destroying this town.

2/09/2016 07:50:00 AM  
Blogger Flo Martin said...

Just last week, my drive at 1 p.m. from Harbor and Fair to Gisler took almost 15 minutes. CRAZY stop/go traffic all the way! So, to head back home (Fair/Fordham) I took the 405 south to the 73 to Fair Drive westbound, a 3-minute drive. Harbor Blvd has morphed into a parking lot.

2/09/2016 09:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Disgusted Republican said...

WMYC...you ask what the hell are they doing to our city. RIGheimer put it very succinctly a few years back: they are "going to develop the hell out of Costa Mesa"! And turn Costa Mesa into hell doing it.

2/09/2016 10:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

About that Pomona Avenue project - If there were no deviations from the Code, why was the matter before the Planning Commission for a discretionary approval?

2/09/2016 11:12:00 PM  
Anonymous Eleanor Egan said...

OH, I see the reason the Pomona Avenue project was before the Planning Commission is that it involved splitting one lot into two. That was a discretionary approval, and the Commission could have denied it.

2/09/2016 11:21:00 PM  
Anonymous Muffin Top Bob said...

Did anybody else see the article in The Daily Pilot where Colin McCarthy said, and I quote-- "It just doesn't fit here ... you can't fit 15 pounds in a 10-pound box, and that's what I'm concerned we're doing here." How can he say this with a straight face when that's exactly what he and The Planning Commission have been doing with all these new live/work units that are popping up all through the City. There are other reasons this wasn't passed and we all know it!!!!

2/10/2016 10:34:00 AM  

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