GENERAL PLAN CHANGES & HOW THEY WILL AFFECT YOU
In June 2016 the Costa Mesa City Council, by a 3-2 vote approved a major update to the City's General Plan creating several new overlays that would add density to the city. Under Measure Y, Costa Mesa voters would have a say in approving major changes to our existing zoning and General Plan. Only developments that propose a significant increase in density and traffic that need zoning and General Plan changes would require a vote by the residents. Measure Y will allow (without an election) any development that conforms to the 2015 General Plan and zoning. There is no taking away of existing entitlements or change to any planning or zoning rules. The City Council would still review and approve General Plan and zoning prior to an election for any major change in land use.
How would the General Plan changes passed by the City Council affect you? Do you live near any of the areas on the maps below? Then consider the impacts of density, the accompanying impacts of traffic, pollution and overuse of parkland, water use, and public service demands. Keep in mind that developers receive "density bonuses" that allow them to build more dwelling units per acre if they have "affordable housing" or senior housing included in their projects, however, the project proposed for the Costa Mesa Motor Inn site received a density bonus without building any true affordable units. The project was challenged in court and the entitlements revoked. We are awaiting to see what the developer proposes instead.
What does 40 to 50 dwelling units per acre (40-50 du/ac) look like? Well, not much if you are a bird flying overhead like the map of the Newport Boulevard Residential Overlay. The areas impacted are outlined in white dashes. Below is an illustration of what the corner of Newport Boulevard and 19th Street might look like if a four to five story building with a six level parking structure is built there.
Here is the SoBECA Overlay where a developer could build 40-50 du/ac. What you don't see is the 57.7 du/ac apartments at
125 Baker Street that is just off the map. That project is being built now. The parking structure is nearly topped out and floor two of five floors is being framed. A modest rendering of what it might end up looking like is below. What will the traffic on Baker Street be like at rush hour?
And here is the Harbor Boulevard Overlay with pockets of 40 du/ac. This is what is commonly called "spot zoning", which is the process of singling out a small parcel of land for a use classification totally different from that of the surrounding area for the benefit of the owner of such property and to the detriment of other owners. Please note the property currently occupied by the Costa Mesa Motor Inn is approved to be 54 du/ac. See the illustration below for what that project may look like.
In addition to the impacts of traffic, privacy, shadows on adjacent properties, and overuse of parks, the additional population will cost the city about $3,000 per year per acre over what it will receive in revenue to provide services to these high-density apartments, so they are also economic losers.
This is the Harbor Boulevard Mixed-Use Overlay. Mixed-use development combines residential and commercial. Developers will be allowed to build 20 du/ac, but with an increase of in commercial density, and a maximum height of four stories. Some of these properties are problem motels, but most are functioning businesses that serve residents and other businesses.