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Goals laid out for Costa Mesa

January 30, 2002

Lolita Harper

COSTA MESA -- Rezoning the Westside bluffs, building affordable

housing and possibly moving all utilities underground were among the host

of ideas bandied about by city leaders last weekend.

During the special meeting, members of the City Council, the Planning

Commission and the Parks, Recreational Facilities and Parkways Commission

told City Manager Allan Roeder and other department leaders what issues

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they would like to see resolved in the future.

Westside items were a popular topic. Objectives from Mayor Linda

Dixon, Councilman Chris Steel, Councilwoman Karen Robinson and the

Planning Commission ranged from rezoning the bluffs on the edge of town

to finding more affordable housing in the area.

Dixon said she wanted to develop a policy to provide for a "timely

review and approval of improvement efforts on the Westside." The purpose

would be to ensure that members of the community had the opportunity to

participate and to coordinate efforts in the city to avoid duplication

and make the process more efficient.

"I just don't want to see us come to a screeching halt for 18 months

while the community meets to discuss what they are going to do," Dixon

said.

Steel and the planning commissioners took different approaches to

combat a common Westside issue: housing.

Steel proposed property tax incentives for private investors who

develop owner-occupied housing on the Westside without assistance from

the city's Redevelopment Agency.

Planning commissioners said they want more proposals for affordable

housing projects for the neighborhood. Any proposal would be contingent

upon, and fall in line with, proposed redevelopment projects for the

area.

Robinson suggested the city analyze the possibility of rezoning the

bluffs and touched on other issues commonly linked to the Westside, such

as the proliferation of loiterers and shopping carts in the neighborhood.

The first-term councilwoman said she would like to see a committee

formed to work with both the Orange County Human Relations Commission and

the Costa Mesa Human Relations Committee to study the issue and make

recommendations to help solve the problem.

"The O.C. Human Relations Committee has helped other cities with

similar problems, and a joint effort may produce some resolution to

everyone's satisfaction in the community," Robinson said.

Looking beyond Westside issues, Councilwoman Libby Cowan suggested

using at least half of the anticipated revenues from the Ikea furniture

store -- scheduled to be built on the Home Ranch site north of the San

Diego Freeway between Harbor Boulevard and Fairview Road -- to fund a

bond to pay for putting utilities underground citywide.

Councilman Gary Monahan did not officially outline any new goals but

reiterated a previous goal to find more parkland.

Various city staffers will compile reports on the goals discussed and

present a report at Monday's City Council meeting. At that time, council

members will again discuss the issues and vote on which goals to pursue.

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