Costa Mesa council to consider suspending work on proposed bike trail into Talbert Regional Park

The city of Costa Mesa is considering putting the brakes on a proposed bike trail that would pass partly through Talbert Regional Park.

City Council members are expected to decide Tuesday whether to follow staff’s recommendation and suspend all environmental and design work on the planned path.

As proposed, the 1.3-mile trail would have run through the park between West 19th Street and the Greenville-Banning Channel Trail along the Santa Ana River, then outside the park along West 19th Street to Placentia Avenue.

The path hit a bump, though, when the city learned county officials are considering changes with respect to areas within Talbert “that are used as mitigation for other projects elsewhere in the county,” according to a staff report included in the council agenda.

“Some of these areas are not functioning as intended, requiring the county to relocate to other areas in the preserve that may impact the proposed bicycle trail alignment,” the report states.

Though Talbert is located inside Costa Mesa city limits, the county owns the park.

During a meeting on Aug. 9, officials from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said the project can’t move forward until the county prepares a resource management plan identifying all uses of Talbert Park.

That could take months to complete, according to the city staff report.

The delay essentially ensures Costa Mesa won’t meet the necessary deadlines for about $1.7 million in grants previously awarded for the project.

As a result, the city stands to lose those funds, which were expected to cover the bulk of the project’s estimated $2.1 million price tag.

Fireworks code changes

Council members will also consider an ordinance amending the city’s municipal code to prohibit possession of illegal fireworks.

While Costa Mesa already bars the discharge, sale or attempted sale of illegal fireworks — such as cherry bombs, firecrackers, bottle rockets and aerial shells — “enforcement is made difficult by the fact that police officers essentially have to wait until the firework is set off in order to cite under the municipal code,” according to a staff report.

Local police officers can cite for possession of illegal fireworks under state law, but those citations would be prosecuted by the district attorney’s office.

The proposed city amendment would instead allow officers to issue those citations under the municipal code, keeping those prosecutions local, as well.

Tuesday’s City Council meeting starts at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

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