Council to select new planning commissioner

At its meeting Tuesday, the Costa Mesa City Council is expected to appoint Parks and Recreation Commissioner Jeff Mathews to the Planning Commission.

Mathews, a Costa Mesa resident since 1985, was also the head of the Costa Mesa Homeless Task Force.

The Planning Commission chose Mathews as its suggested pick to the council in July to fill in for Jim Fitzpatrick, who stepped down earlier this year.

Fitzpatrick resigned to keep his seat on the Costa Mesa Sanitary District. The board there is trying have him removed, citing his time on the Planning Commission as a potential conflict of interest that would forfeit his Sanitary District seat.

Fitzpatrick, however, contends there is no conflict of interest and is fighting to stay on.

Mathews has donated $1,000 to both Planning Commission Chairman Colin McCarthy and Councilman Steve Mensinger's City Council campaigns, according to public records.


Banning Ranch agreement

The council will also consider whether to reopen its $4.4-million agreement with developer Newport Banning Ranch LLC. The company is paying Costa Mesa for traffic mitigation measures it will have to take once the 401-acre Banning Ranch property in West Newport is developed.


Tree maintenance

In an unrelated agreement, the city will consider signing a $420,000 annual contract with West Coast Arborists to maintain the city's trees.

WCA already handles about 95% of the city's tree maintenance, according to the council staff report.

The contract gives the company all of Costa Mesa's tree maintenance work for the next five years.


Bicycle ordinance

In other action, the council is expected to finalize a new bicycle ordinance that would make it illegal to park a bicycle on a sidewalk or public right of way instead of in a bicycle rack.

The ordinance would allow police to impound bicycles, but authorities said officers would take a common-sense approach to the new law and not go around the city impounding every bicycle seen outside a bike rack.

The ordinance is part of a concerted effort by Costa Mesa to address homelessness. Transients sometimes pile their belongings on their bicycles and park them on sidewalks and walkways, particularly in Lions Park.

Twitter: @JosephSerna

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