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Mayor plans appeal of Kona Lanes vote

February 28, 2003

Deirdre Newman

All work and no play makes Costa Mesa a dull city.

So says Mayor Karen Robinson, who plans to file an appeal today of

the Planning Commission's approval of Kohl's department store as a

last-ditch attempt to save recreational options at the Mesa Verde

Center.

The Kohl's store, approved by the commission on Monday, is slated

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to replace the existing Kona Lanes bowling alley and the defunct

Edwards Theater and Ice Capades Chalet.

"As a City Council, we have an obligation to see to it that Costa

Mesa is not only a good place to work and do business, but to play,"

Robinson said. "But in planning, it seems like we've completely lost

sight of play for the quality of life of residents."

The commission voted 4 to 1 to allow the Segerstroms to build the

95,839-square-foot store against the recommendation of city planners,

who asserted that the building was too massive for the neighborhood.

In addition to lamenting the loss of traditional places to hang

out and have fun, Robinson also expressed concern that the commission

allowed Kohl's to supply 14 fewer parking spaces than the city

requires, considering the parking problems that have been caused by a

nearby beauty school.

"I find that quite astonishing in light of what we're experiencing

in the Paul Mitchell area," Robinson said. "It makes no sense to me

that we could even consider something like that in this particular

area."

Paul Freeman, spokesman for the Segerstroms, said that while he

understands the nostalgia and passion surrounding Kona Lanes, a

bowling alley is just not a viable business these days.

"Independent of the merits or demerits of Kohl's, any discussion

of the bowling ally should be understanding of the marketplace for

bowling, and it ain't that good," Freeman said. "That's just the way

it is."

Freeman also reiterated that Kohl's meshes with the city's general

plan, which was just updated last year, and complies with the zoning.

Kohl's is also buying the property, which illustrates their

commitment to staying in Costa Mesa, Freeman added.

While the Segerstroms won over the 10 homeowners closest to the

project, the Mesa Verde Homeowners Assn. opposes it. Some Mesa Verde

residents said they are pleased that the decision will get a second

look.

"I'm glad, because I think this needs more examination and I don't

think it's a good fit for our neighborhood," resident Robin Leffler

said.

* DEIRDRE NEWMAN covers Costa Mesa and may be reached at (949)

574-4221 or by e-mail at deirdre.newman@latimes.com.

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