Council OKs senior complex

COSTA MESA — The City Council on Tuesday approved an affordable-housing project that will sit 35 feet from a night club, a move that upset the club's owners and residents who live nearby.

Harper's Pointe, a 53-unit complex for seniors, will be built atop a retail center at 845 Baker St. Neighbors argued that the project's location — next to a freeway, a fire station and the Shark Club — is not ideal for seniors who are usually attracted to quiet residential neighborhoods.

Jon Hanour, co-owner of the Shark Club, told the council that the business "would, without question, result in disturbing the elderly residents who will live there and create an untenable situation for the Shark Club's ability to operate."

He continued: "The proposed project will rise approximately 30 feet above the Shark Club's roof — its weakest point of noise isolation. In addition, the project is planned to have numerous balconies and sliding glass windows just 35 feet from the Shark Club's exterior perimeter wall — where the dance floor is located."

But Eric Nelson, vice president of Red Mountain Group, the company that owns the property, said the developers will have to abide by the guidelines, which requires them to structure the project in a way that blocks noise.

Kim Brandt, Costa Mesa development services director, said the builder, USA Properties, will have to show the city that the construction will block the noise through planning.

But noise wasn't the only concern for those who objected the project.

The retail and housing complex include 68 parking spaces, of which 45 would be reserved for residents and their guests, and the rest for customers visiting the retail center.

"Some of the tenants may need daily health-care providers who will also have to park in these same spaces," said Margaret VanderSchaaf, a resident who lives near the site. "This is Southern California. Almost everyone drives, even the elderly."

But the project provides for enough parking, based on the average space that is provided at senior housing.

There were also concerns with providing a safe crosswalk for seniors who will need to cross the street to use public transportation.

Steve Gall, chief executive of USA Properties, said he was committed to working with the city to provide for a safe crosswalk for seniors who will live in the complex.

Councilwoman Wendy Leece, who called up the project for a review to address resident concerns, cast the lone dissenting vote. Councilwoman Katrina Foley was absent.

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