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56 new homes approved to replace Costa Mesa storage facility

A storage facility in Mesa del Mar is set to be replaced with more than 50 new homes after the Costa Mesa Planning Commission voted Monday night to approve the project.

Planning commissioners voted 4-0, with Chairman Robert Dickson absent, to give their blessing to the proposal from DeNova Homes to tear down Baker Storage at 929 Baker St. and build 56 two-story, single-family houses and a private park in its stead.

The decision is final unless appealed to the City Council.

"I think it's a wonderful development," Commissioner Colin McCarthy said.

The 4.71-acre site has been used commercially since the 1960s but has been zoned for medium-density residential for at least a decade. Baker Storage opened in 1987.

Given the zoning, commissioners said it was largely a given that a residential project would eventually be developed there.

"I think what we have presented here tonight is probably the best residential use you're going to see," Commissioner Stephan Andranian said.

The new houses would range from 1,975 to 2,400 square feet and have either three or four bedrooms.

There would be room to park four vehicles at each home — two in the garage, two in the driveway. An additional 13 guest spots would be available for a total of 237 onsite spaces.

The project would include three architectural styles: modern Spanish, plantation and modern farmhouse.

"This is a quality project and we are very proud of it," said project consultant Peter Naghavi, a former Costa Mesa economic development director.

Many comments sent by residents ahead of Monday's meeting were in favor of the project.

"I certainly prefer to see this sort of limited development than yet another self-storage facility," wrote local resident Laurie Tooch. "We have too many of them in Costa Mesa."

A handful of people sent what appeared to be form letters saying the project would provide "a good neighborhood of single-family homes" and pay "a generous amount of park fees" toward public parks development and maintenance.

Some residents have raised concerns about the project, both at Monday's hearing and at a community meeting in May.

At the May meeting, some residents who live near the site questioned whether the development would cause overflow parking on neighboring streets.

Naghavi said the tract meets city parking standards.

Brian Valles, who lives next to Baker Storage, said Monday that he's concerned the project might adversely affect traffic circulation in the neighborhood or reduce privacy for nearby residents.

Tim Marsh, administrative director of facilities support services for the Newport-Mesa Unified School District, wrote in a letter to the city that the new homes could be affected by light and noise from the adjacent school district headquarters.

Naghavi said project planners will do everything possible to "make sure that this project does not become a burden but rather becomes an asset to the community."

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