COSTA MESA — Cementing the beginning of what will be a multiyear, $18-million-plus project, the Orange County Fair Board on Thursday plans to reaffirm the first $4.5 million in improvements to the Pacific Amphitheatre.
Though cost estimates and a concept plan were approved in September, the board will consider clarifying to the public that it is only approving the first of the four-phase project, with the later steps to be detailed along the way.
Some residents raised concerns at the September meeting that they thought the entire amphitheater renovation was being approved, which the Fair Board said is incorrect.
To improve the concert venue, the Fair Board's staff recommends cutting through the open-air venue's berm, relocating the Memorial Gardens and starting construction on some of its planned additions. The first phase of the $18.5-million project should begin in August and finish in July 2013.
Residents argue the project's environmental impact report ignores possible increases in noise.
Also looking toward the future, the board will consider opening a 60-day negotiation window with Barrett-Jackson classic car auction officials. The show has a year-to-year contract thus far, but the board is looking to work out a five-year deal that would bring the auction here from 2013-18.
Finally, the board will look to approve its operating budget for 2012. Fair Board directors Dale Dykema and Gerardo Mouet, the organization's financial monitoring committee, recommend that the planned fair admission and fair parking increases be delayed until 2013, leaving alone the current prices.
The board will also consider increasing the VIP parking fee for the Pacific Amphitheatre from $30 to $35, and eliminating the property's preferred parking program altogether.
The meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. at 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa.