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Costa Mesa council holds off on naming policy for city facilities

Costa Mesa council holds off on naming policy for city facilities
Then-Costa Mesa Mayor Gary Monahan, left, and then-Assemblyman and current Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor uncover the sign for the Jack R. Hammett Sports Complex during a dedication ceremony in 2012. (File Photo)

What’s in a naming policy?

The answer still isn’t clear in Costa Mesa after the City Council unanimously decided to hold off on adopting an official system for rebranding city parks and buildings so staff can incorporate changes suggested during Tuesday night’s council meeting.

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Under staff’s original proposal, anyone could nominate municipal facilities to be renamed to honor people who have made significant contributions to Costa Mesa. The nominations would first go to the Parks and Recreation Commission for review and recommendation and then to the City Council for a final decision.

Councilman John Stephens suggested instead starting the process with the council choosing specific facilities to be rebranded. Once a particular location is identified, he said, the city could publicly solicit suggestions for a new name.

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“The check on naming everything will be the City Council,” he said. “We’re not going to go crazy.”

Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor said the council should consider all proposed monikers for a given facility at the same time.

“If we are going to name a building, I think it needs to be aired out in public,” he said. “I think you need multiple nominations — either that or don’t name it at all.”

Councilwoman Katrina Foley, however, said she was concerned that might lead to competing camps lobbying the city for their proposals.

“It starts to become a campaign by individuals to get their preferred name chosen and, frankly, I think people’s feelings get hurt,” she said.

Council members also floated ideas of including language in the policy about selling naming rights or holding public contests to name facilities.

Staff will return later with a recrafted policy.

The city last changed the name of one of its facilities in 2011, when the Farm sports complex on Fairview Road was named after Jack R. Hammett, a Navy veteran, Pearl Harbor survivor and former mayor.

Sober-living permit appeal denied

Also on Tuesday, the council unanimously denied a conditional use permit application from Pacific Shores Recovery to continue operating a sober-living home with up to 46 residents at 200, 202, 204 and 206 Cabrillo St.

“This whole concept of being in a non-institutional setting with 46 people … it’s ridiculous,” said Councilman Jim Righeimer. “It’s all part of a rehab ecosystem.”

A Pacific Shores representative characterized the sober-living home as a reputable and respectful operation that has provided valuable services in the community since opening in 2001. But nearby residents — both in person Tuesday and in letters to the city — decried it as a disruptive force that has created issues with crime, traffic and parking in the area.

Like the Planning Commission before them, council members pointed out that the facility doesn’t comply with the city’s requirement, adopted in 2015, that group homes, licensed alcohol and drug treatment facilities and sober-living homes — which typically house recovering alcoholics and drug addicts — be at least 650 feet from one another in multifamily residential zones.

At least three other such facilities are within that distance of Pacific Shores, and council members said they didn’t hear anything Tuesday to persuade them to relax the buffer requirement.

“I believe the applicant has failed to provide evidence to support any kind of reasonable accommodation,” Mayor Sandy Genis said.

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