Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Planning Commission Meeting Wrap...

Yeah, I know... I'm tardy with this report, but I seriously doubt if too many people are worried much about it.  There were fewer than a dozen folks in the auditorium Monday night for the 90 minute meeting, and nearly all of those were involved in one of the two items on the agenda.  But, let's get with it.

All the commissioners were present at the meeting and they started right on time.  During the Public Comments segment three people spoke on issues important to them.

Steve Chan, who has been up to his ears in hassles with the new night club, Holiday, near his Center Street home, stepped up to remind the commission and Deputy City Attorney Yolanda Summerhill of the complications of issuing an entertainment permit to an establishment that is already encumbered with a beverage permit from the State that includes language affecting noice issues.  He's hoping for a clarification of the issue soon.
Beth Refakes, representing the Military Affairs Team, told the commission about the successful gown collection/distribution event for the wives of the 1/5 Marines at Camp Pendleton.  She and her cohorts did a great job again of gathering gently-used gowns, prepping them and delivering them to Camp Pendleton for distribution.  Kudos to all involved again.  She also reminded us of the collection of individually wrapped candies for the "Trunk or Treat" event.  Residents are encouraged to deliver candies to City Hall for that distribution in a week or so.
An unidentified person spoke to the commissioners on the Sober Living Home issue.  She's a member of TBON, a grass-roots organization created a few years ago to help get a handle on the proliferating Sober Living Home issues.  For more information on the group click on their name.

Before turning to Commissioner Comments Chairman Rob Dickson introduced Jay Trevino, Interim Development Services Director, replacing the departed Gary Armstrong.  Trevino has a long and illustrious career in planning, both in Los Angeles and Orange County.  He held the top Development position in Santa Ana most recently.  He, in turn, introduced another consultant, Peggy Schneble, who is the Interim Assistant Director of Development Services - the position Claire Flynn held until she left for a private sector position earlier this year.  Both these individuals bring decades of relevant public and private sector experience to our city and should be helpful at a time when the workload is up and staffing is down.
During Commissioner Comments Colin McCarthy noted the departure of Fire Protection Analyst, Dave Hollister, who retired last week after decades of service to the City.  He suggested a proclamation be prepared to acknowledge his contributions.
Tim Sesler, once again, refuted comments made by that unidentified person, above.  He does that each time she speaks.

Neither Vice Chair Jeff Mathews nor Commissioner Stephan Andranian had any comments.

Dickson also addressed Hollister's contribution and spoke to Chan's concerns about the ABC license and asked the staff for a brief presentation on the process.

Chan asked for one of the items on the Consent Calendar - the minutes of 9/12/16 - be pulled for separate discussion.  He reminded the commission that they were being considered this time is because he challenged them at the last meeting as being inaccurate.  He is concerned that they may not meet the legal test because they are "action minutes".  When he finished it was explained by Dickson that if there were to be any legal challenge parties could refer to the video for a precise record of the event.
At 6:25 Principal Planner Minoo Ashabi began hearing Public Hearing #1, the Re-zone of the old Los Angeles Times property and an adjacent chunk that currently contains a ball field - a total of just over 23 acres.  One speaker addressed this issue, reminding the commission that the "evil twin mayors" - Steve Mensinger and Jim Righeimer - had long ago commanded that there would be no residential uses north of the 405 Freeway and questioned their authority to unilaterally make such judgments.  She also told the commission that the Pat Moore Foundation - a 78 bed sober living facility - had recently moved out of their facility and, apparently, nobody at the City knew about it.  She wondered what was moving in there.  After almost no discussion the commissioners voted, 5-0, to approve the staff recommendation for the re-zoning of the property.  The entire discussion took less than 10 minutes.

Next came Public Hearing #2, the second pass at a modification of the property at 375 Bristol Street presented by Senior Planner Mel Lee.  The commission denied an earlier plan for this property in June.  This time around consultant Paul Freeman presented a different plan which abandoned the earlier proposed food court, retained some of the existing businesses and reduced the number of self-storage units to 719.
 A half dozen people spoke to this issue.  The previous time many more spoke - mostly business owners that would be forced to move with the old plan.  This time it was equally split between supporters and opponents, including existing business owners on both sides of the issue.

Following the speakers and other discussion Freeman reminded the commission that the current use is very constricted by the location and the airport and that the existing business model is not sustainable. 
Dickson told us he asked for a report from the Costa Mesa Police Department on typical calls for service to public storage places verses calls at the existing auto repair mall.  The self storage facilities had fewer calls for service.
McCarthy recalled the earlier presentation and described it as a "potato only half-baked".  He supported the new plan.
Sesler seemed on the fence about it and interrogated Freeman on some issues.  An amusing sidebar - Freeman had to ask Sesler to speak into the microphone because he couldn't make out what he was asking.  Welcome to my world, Paul!  Sesler is nearly impossible to understand when you're in the auditorium - he usually sounds like he's talking with a mouth full of marbles.
Andranian acknowledged that it is a difficult piece of property to work with, but felt he could support the current plan. 
The commission voted to approve the plan, 5-0, at 7:24 p.m.

Trevino told the commission that they were working on a plan for possibly having extra meetings this month and, maybe, again in December.  He mentioned that they might have back-to-back meetings on October 24th and 25th to accommodate the avalanche of Sober Living Home appeals, and said the staff was working with the commissioners to coordinate their schedules.  As it turns out, as of this afternoon, there will only be one meeting - at the regularly-scheduled time and date - Monday, October 24, 2016.

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Anonymous Casual Viewer said...

Thank you for taking the time to cover the planning commission, even though your first sentence said that most people don't care. Some of us do.

So a storage facility on Baker is replaced by housing, and another storage facility will be replace stores and offices. When you're involved in real estate, one way to make money is to keep changing things. Not to say that old areas don't need to be improved, but after a drive down Placentia the other day, it looks like we don't have a general plan. High density housing is mixed in willy-nilly between commercial and industrial use. You don't see that in Irvine.

10/12/2016 04:01:00 PM  

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