When I cast my votes on the City Council, I always take the concerns of the people of Costa Mesa into consideration. Regarding the recently proposed project on Baker Street, parking, density and traffic are very much a concern to the residents of Costa Mesa.
These issues started popping up many years ago with another project, 1901 Newport (now Blue Sol), which I vocally opposed and voted against. The project unnecessarily gave away high-density but we were in no way required to do so. The concerns were the same then as now: parking, density and traffic.
Costa Mesa’s overlay zones were created to remove blight by allowing higher density as an incentive to revitalize downtrodden areas. They were never meant to create widespread higher density everywhere. Whether or not the current property on Baker is blighted is a matter of opinion. My focus was on density and traffic, and the numbers don’t lie.
My position has been consistent. When the Sobeca overlay came before us many years ago, it allowed up to 20 units per acre, but not by legal right. Later, when I was not on the City Council, it was increased to allow up to 30 units per acre.
I had clearly stated that I would support up to 20 units per acre but not more — and that is very generous.
How generous? Here is some perspective for those who live and drive in our city. By legal right, the owner can develop a project with an impact of 574 vehicle trips per day.
The proposed project, which exceeded 20 units per acre, would create 1,527 trips per day. Even the owner’s revised proposal would generate 1,139 trips per day — almost double the amount that can be generated by right.
Yes, the project was beautiful on the outside with lots of landscaping and creative design, but I didn’t think it was right to play favorites based simply on how it looks.
I am just trying to be consistent and will not be beholden to anyone, other than the residents of Costa Mesa, on any matter brought before the council.