Parks commissioners delay recommendation on Costa Mesa open space plan

Costa Mesa parks and recreation commissioners delayed making an official recommendation Thursday on a proposed update to the city’s Open Space Master Plan of Parks and Recreation, saying they’d like more time to collect public comments and review proposed changes before sending it to the City Council.

Commissioners voted unanimously to give the document additional review at their next meeting May 25.

The delay, commissioners said, will enable them to ensure that any questions, comments or suggestions are properly noted before the council takes action.

Commissioner Arlis Reynolds said the additional time also will help “make sure that people see this report” and that residents “are comfortable with the recommendations.”

Reynolds pointed to the numerous residents from in and around the Upper Birds neighborhood who attended Thursday’s meeting to speak against language in the plan that refers to the possibility of building a new aquatic center in Tanager Park.

“I can’t help but think there’s probably at least one or two other issues that somebody didn’t notice in another neighborhood,” she said.

In a supplemental memo made available before the meeting, Costa Mesa staff members said they were deleting the Tanager aquatic center concept from the master plan.

“If the city decides to further explore the need for an aquatics facility in the future, a formal feasibility study could be completed to assess the community need and determine the most appropriate location,” the memo states.

The master plan is meant to be a guiding document that helps determine what sort of parks, recreation and open space efforts should be priorities in years to come, according to city Recreation Manager Justin Martin.

“It’s not something that is set in stone that has to be followed to the T,” he said. “These are recommendations.”

The council most recently updated the Open Space Master Plan in 2003. A city consultant, RJM Design Group, developed the current proposed update after a series of interviews with interested parties, community workshops and surveys of sports organizations and residents.

Using that feedback, as well as a detailed inventory of the city’s resources and facilities, RJM developed a sweeping list of recommendations for park development and renovation projects to include in the master plan.

Some proposals deal with general upgrades or maintenance to play equipment, picnic shelters, benches, walkways or parking lots.

Others are more specific, such as installing lighting and artificial turf fields at some city parks, such as Harper and Lindbergh.

As written now, the plan also contains mistaken references to the possibility of developing a sports complex at Fairview Park. Such a complex actually is being proposed for the Fairview Developmental Center property, city staff members wrote in their supplemental memo.

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