Assisted living, mixed-used development slated for Westside

COSTA MESA — An assisted living and mixed-use development will be the first project to move forward that was proposed in the five-year-old Westside Urban Plans, a city administrator announced during this week's Planning Commission meeting.

Nexus Development, developer of a planned 85-unit assisted living development at 1640 Monrovia Ave., will break ground in July or August, said City Planning Administrator Claire Flynn

The Westside Urban Plans, which the City Council approved in April 2006, were discussed during a Planning Commission study session Monday night to update city staff and the public on their status.

The plans have seen little progress so far and outline a series of overlay zones that include transforming parts of the city's Westside into mixed-use and live-work developments, and implementing residential ownership incentives and aesthetic improvements like wider sidewalks, benches, decorative street crossing plates and area signs.

The overlay zones do not replace the existing zoning, but "provide an additional layer of zoning that is a development opportunity that a homeowner or developer can take advantage of … and do not replace or take away any rights," Flynn said.

Essentially, a homeowner or developer may choose which zoning layer to follow, Flynn said.

The plans were stalled when various developers ran into challenges relating to the downturn in the economy, Flynn said.

While the project on Monrovia Avenue is set to break ground, the 10 other plans submitted to the city since 2006 are listed as "on hold," "pending" or "no activity," according to a staff report.

The projects will be continued to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis and developer interest in the planning area is expected to increase as the economy rebounds, Flynn said.

The Westside Urban Plans are subdivided by the 19 West Plan, Residential Ownership Plan and the Bluffs Urban Plan.

They are bordered to the north by Fairview Park and the Costa Mesa Country Club, to the south by Newport Beach city limits, to the west by the Santa Ana River and to the east by Harbor Boulevard and Superior Avenue.

An estimated 4,980 existing dwellings are in the planning area.

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