Council approves new lot minimums for Eastside property

The Costa Mesa City Council approved a compromise this week as part of an annexation effort for some unincorporated county land in the Eastside.

Residents from the nearly 14-acre parcel, officially known as the Santa Ana/Colleen Island, who attended Tuesday's council meeting said while they're eager to join Costa Mesa, they're also concerned about the building standards for the undeveloped 2.11-acre piece of land in their community.

They argued for Costa Mesa to maintain the county's minimum single-family home lot size of 7,200 square feet for their community. City officials, however, had proposed a 6,000-square-foot minimum lot size — the citywide standard for single-family home neighborhoods.

At the suggestion of Councilman Gary Monahan, an Eastside resident, a majority of the council approved a compromise: 6,600 square feet.

Monahan's motion passed with a 3-2 vote. Councilwomen Wendy Leece and Sandy Genis dissented, with Leece arguing that the city should grant the residents' wishes by keeping the county standards.

Genis urged delaying the matter and suggested bringing back zoning proposals for another meeting.

"The city's not going to catch on fire if we don't do this [tonight,]" she said.

Genis' proposal to delay failed, with Monahan, Mayor Jim Righeimer and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Mensinger dissenting.

The island, comprised of 51 single-family homes and about 150 residents, also borders Newport Beach, though that city has not expressed an interest in incorporating the parcel. Most of the neighborhood's residents live on Colleen Place and Vista Baya.

The final annexation decision will be up to the Orange County Local Agency Formation Commission. Santa Ana/Colleen residents will not have a direct vote on the matter because their community is smaller than 150 acres.

Santa Ana/Colleen falls within Costa Mesa's sphere of influence. Like most Costa Mesans, the island's residents use the Mesa Water District and Costa Mesa Sanitary District for water, sewer and trash services. The city's Police and Fire departments also provide emergency-response services.

Prior to Tuesday's meeting, city officials held two sessions with Santa Ana/Colleen residents to get their input.

The council is scheduled to again discuss the annexation during its July 1 meeting.

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