Kohl's by a 4-1 vote. The 96,000-square-foot store would have been
one of 28 new Kohl's to open in the Southern California area.
The resounding sentiment among Kohl's opponents, who
overwhelmingly outnumbered supporters, was that the Segerstrom & Sons
were trying to shoehorn a project into the center that was much too
"It's like trying to put a size 10 foot into a size eight shoe,"
Douglas LaBelle said. "It may fit, but it hurts at the end [of the
Paul Freeman, spokesman for Segerstrom & Sons, said he was
disappointed with the outcome and was unsure what the company's next
steps would be. The Segerstroms do not plan to ask for a rehearing,
though, and would like to work with residents on a more favorable
project, Freeman said.
A few residents, including some of the homeowners who live
directly behind the proposed department store, supported the project.
"I would not have bought [my home] knowing it was going to be [an]
entertainment [use]," Kevin Orton said. "I have a 95,000-square-foot
vacant, run-down [lot] in my backyard."
Kohl's opponents exhorted Segerstrom & Sons to create a proposal
that more closely mirrors the city's eclectic spirit.
"We need something more reflective of Costa Mesa and more unique,"
Jim Kerrins said. "Something that could be found here and not
Mesa Verde residents savored their underdog victory against what
they considered a threat to their quality of life: density and
"I feel like the neighborhood won this time and that doesn't
happen very often," Robin Leffler said. "We're pleased and we're
looking forward to our homeowners' association talking with the
Segerstroms and maybe having a town hall meeting with them to see
what we can work out when we actually work together. If a developer
comes in here with a good project, we'd support it."
Many residents still prefer recreation although all three
recreational and entertainment uses -- the movie theater, ice skating
rink and Kona Lanes bowling alley -- have failed or are failing. The
first two are closed and Kona Lanes will close by the end of June.
Leffler illustrated this passion by proudly waving a $1,000 check