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Councilwomen, club owner protest housing project

They say a noise study done for a different project is in adequate to prove the impact on seniors who would live in new low-income housing at 845 Baker St.

July 15, 2010|By Mona Shadia, mona.shadia@latimes.com
  • Costa Mesa recently approved a low-income senior housing complex at 845 Baker St., a move that upset many of the residents surrounding the area.
Costa Mesa recently approved a low-income senior housing… (Kent Treptow, Daily…)

COSTA MESA — A growing number of artists and hip retailers, as well as at least two city councilwomen, want Costa Mesa to reconsider its decision to allow construction of low-income senior housing near what is supposed to be a burgeoning arts district along and near Baker Street.

Harper's Pointe, a planned 53-unit complex for seniors that would be built atop a retail center at 845 Baker St., was approved last week by the City Council following a review requested by Councilwoman Wendy Leece.

Leece has now called for another review of the project — a request also supported by Councilwoman Katrina Foley.

Leece mainly is concerned about noise coming from patrons of the nearby Shark Club, a popular nightclub, and how it might affect senior citizens who would be living about 35 feet away.

Developer USA Properties Fund Inc., and property owner Red Mountain Group said during the July 6 council meeting that the noise impact isn't of great concern because the complex will be constructed in a way that would block it and that noise studies support their claims.

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But the noise-impact study that was submitted to the city was outdated and based on another project on Baker Street, Leece said.

"There's no evidence that a new noise study was done with the specific 845 Baker project in mind," Leece wrote in the request for a so-called "rehearing." "Staff may have concluded this was acceptable, however as a council person, this small detail is important to me."

Leece also states that the study doesn't show that the noise impact was measured to estimate the impact that Shark Club would have on the residents, but the impact of the Corona del Mar (73) Freeway. The estimate the property owner provided was based on measured noise levels, but not on an actual test, Leece said.

Mel Lee, Costa Mesa's senior planner, said the 2007 noise impact that was submitted to the city applies to the current project because the Shark Club and the freeway were there when the study was done. He added that the 801 Baker St. project, on which the noise study was based, is next door to the Shark Club.

"The Shark Club is sandwiched in between 801 and 845 Baker," he said.

Leece isn't the only one opposed to the project.

Business owners and residents who live and work near the proposed project say they are disappointed with the city's decision, as they want the city to continue nurturing the area's burgeoning artistic scene.

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