Costa Mesa council to hear microbrewery opponents and review proposed housing project

This rendering shows part of a proposed 27-unit townhome development at the intersection of Ford Road and Newport Boulevard in Costa Mesa. The City Council will discuss Tuesday whether to process a General Plan amendment request for the project.
(Courtesy of city of Costa Mesa)

Should a proposed microbrewery in Costa Mesa be canned or allowed to remain in the hopper?

That will be up to City Council members to decide Tuesday when they consider two appeals filed against an application to open a Bootlegger’s Brewery branch next to the Lab commercial center.

The appeals — filed by Robert Burnand and a group called Sobeca Parking and Access Reform Kickstart, or SPARK — implore the council to overturn a Planning Commission decision on Aug. 14 allowing the microbrewery to move into 2,703 square feet of existing building space at 696 Randolph Ave.

Both appeals are dated Aug. 21 and cite parking issues in the area as a main objection to the proposed business.

SPARK’s appeal states there’s already “a massive parking deficit” throughout most of the city’s Sobeca district — a 39-acre area around the Lab and the Camp commercial centers on Bristol Street.

“While the opening of new shops and restaurants is something we all encourage, the way in which these projects have been approved has ultimately had an adverse effect financially for us, the existing business owners,” the appeal states. “The mix of uses in Sobeca that [was] envisioned to bring additional patrons never happened; instead, we have restaurants, breweries and bars using parking areas meant for traditional retail and light industrial uses.”

In his appeal, Burnand wrote that there are already too many businesses licensed to sell or serve alcohol in the area and that a lack of adequate parking has led to people jaywalking regularly across Bristol Street.

As proposed, visitors to Bootlegger’s would be able to park in a small onsite lot at 696 Randolph Ave, as well as two nearby lots used by the Lab at 700 and 710 Randolph.

Given the concerns raised, planning commissioners in August directed Bootlegger’s and the Lab to develop a parking management plan for the area.

Bootlegger’s already operates locations in Fullerton and Redlands.

“I feel confident saying that we’re good operators — we’re responsible operators,” Bootlegger’s owner Aaron Barkenhagen told the Planning Commission in August. “We have a track record to prove it.”

The Costa Mesa site, as proposed, would include space for brewing production, storage and offices — as well as a 745-square-foot tasting room and a 295-square-foot outdoor patio.

Proposed hours of operation are 10 a.m. to midnight Sundays through Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 1 a.m. Thursdays through Saturdays.

Vehicles would access the site through the Lab property, which is located immediately to the north. An existing driveway that provides public vehicle access from Randolph would be closed off and used as a pedestrian paseo.

Bootlegger’s is one of three microbreweries the Planning Commission has approved recently.

Last month, the commission approved permits for two others: Salty Bear Brewing Co. at 2948 Randolph Ave. and Brewing Reserve of California at 2930 College Ave.

Three microbreweries are already open in Costa Mesa — Gunwhale Ales and Barley Forge Brewing Co. on Randolph and Karl Strauss Brewing Co. on South Coast Drive.

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

Townhome project up for review

Also on Tuesday, council members will review initial plans for a proposed residential development near the city’s downtown area.

They also will decide whether to direct staff to process a General Plan amendment request that would allow the project to move forward.

The Olson Co. is proposing to build 27 townhomes — each with two or three bedrooms — on two parcels at the intersection of Ford Road and Newport Boulevard.

The properties are currently developed with public storage and an RV storage facility, according to a city staff report.

As part of the project, the company proposes to close a portion of Ford Road to through traffic.

From the company’s perspective, the project would eliminate cut-through traffic on Ford and “solve existing problems presented by the functionally obsolescent commercial uses, located on bifurcated and oddly configured parcels,” according to documents filed with the city.

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