By Bradley Zint
10:05 PM PDT, July 25, 2013
The Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission unanimously decided Thursday evening to postpone plans for a new parking lot in Fairview Park.
The proposed lot, which is included in the park's Master Plan that was last revised in 2001, would be within the park's southwestern edge and be entered from the terminus of Pacific Avenue.
Several residents, many of whom live near the park, spoke against having the parking lot there, contending that it would ruin the natural aspects of the 208-acre park and increase traffic along the street.
They also complained of insufficient noticing, having either not heard about the project until the last minute or receiving the city's official notice of the plans in their "junk mail" pile.
"I don't go there to look at cars," said resident Brian Burnett. "I don't go there to look at concrete. I don't go there to look at asphalt. We have plenty of that already."
Commissioner Bob Graham said Fairview Park shouldn't be looked at as a small neighborhood park, but as a large parcel for the whole community.
"As such, we're obligated to provide some sort of reasonable access to it," he said, "which means there is going to be parking over there."
Chairman Byron de Arakal said he was concerned that the proposed lot, with 42 parking spaces, doesn't match the Master Plan's lot that dictates only 10 spaces.
"That is problematic for me," he said. "I'm a big believer of there's a master plan for a reason."
If not for the discrepancy, he said, he was otherwise OK with having 42 spaces.
"Every Costa Mesan has the right to come and visit this park," de Arakal said.
In response to concerns that there not be any parking lot at all, Commissioner Kim Pederson referred to the Master Plan, which has long had a lot eyed for that portion of the park and is currently undeveloped. The Master Plan was also subject to various approvals and public comment at the time, he said.
"This has been in the hopper for a long time," Pederson said. "And I think some people fail to realize that."
After hearing the complaints, he said there seemed to be a "syndrome" of NIMBYism — "not in my backyard" — from neighbors opposed to the development.
Lisa Manfredi said the plans should be going to the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee. She also expressed safety concerns.
"I think that's a lot of parking that's going to be happening really close to a dangerous bluff," Manfredi said.
The commission is scheduled to reexamine the parking lot during its Aug. 22 meeting. Members' requests for the next meeting also included that they receive more information on the lot's plants, see some street-level renderings, get clarification on lighting for the lot, and hear some reasoning for it having 42 spaces instead of 10.
De Arakal also asked that residents within 700 feet of the development, rather than 500 feet, receive five days' notice of the next meeting.
In addition to the parking lot at the end of Pacific, the plans would include an adjacent children's play area, new signage, bike racks and seating.
The plans also involve improvements to Fairview Park entrances at the end of Canyon Drive and off Placentia Avenue near Estancia High School's Jim Scott Stadium. Those entrances would not have parking lots.