Harper's Pointe approval stands

COSTA MESA — The City Council on Tuesday voted against rehearing the Planning Commision's recent approval of an affordable-housing project for seniors to be built near a nightclub — a source of noise Councilwoman Wendy Leece believes will affect the seniors living at the complex.

Harper's Pointe — a 53-unit, three-story senior complex that will sit atop a retail center at 845 Baker St. — was approved by the Planning Commission and later by the City Council after Leece requested a review in July.

Leece's request was rejected by a 3-2 vote, with Councilwoman Katrina Foley supporting a rehearing. Leece's main concern is the noise impact the Shark Club will have on seniors living nearby.

Many residents and business owners surrounding the area oppose the project, saying that the complex is not fit for the city's South on Bristol Entertainment, Culture and Arts (SoBeCa) Urban Plan that was approved in 2004.

SoBeCa identified objectives, polices and the goals needed to develop the area into an arts district. The plan called for a "unique character of artist lofts" to encourage a live-work community.

City staff recommended approving the project when it came before both the Planning Commission and the City Council, saying noise from Shark Club will not impact seniors because the developer, USA Properties, will have to comply by the city's guidelines.

In other council business, officials voted to restore the city's weekly in-house street-sweeping program for all its residential and commercial routes, heeding staff findings that a biweekly schedule would not benefit the city.

The city approved rehiring two full-time employees to administer the program and two part-time parking and traffic enforcement officers for the Police Department to regulate parking violations related to the program.

The revenues the city could make from traffic enforcement are enough to hire the four employees, said Peter Naghavi, public services director. The city stands to make $300,000 each year from traffic enforcement tickets related to street-sweeping violations.

Traditionally the city swept its streets each week, but with its budget issues beginning July and layoffs, it contemplated making it once each two weeks. The city never fully implemented a biweekly street sweeping program.

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