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Commentary: Leave Fairview Park the way it is

September 03, 2013|By Bill Gilbert

Those who attended the Parks and Recreation Commission meeting Aug. 22 saw the overwhelming majority of commissioners approve a radical and damaging change to Fairview Park, Costa Mesa's precious resource.

In doing so, they rejected the views of their own advisers, as well as the important ideas of 22 speakers.

Fairview is a park for all Costa Mesa residents. It is important to keep the original intent of the park, a place in which the natural world is more important than swing sets and sandboxes.

Since it is a citywide park, notices of any changes should be sent citywide, but a rule dictates that only those who live within 700 feet of a project need to be notified. Those few people will decide for all who are affected.

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But I would argue that all Costa Mesa residents should be able to point out when they see that their park is not being developed according to its stated purpose.

The project involves opening the now-closed end of Pacific Avenue, constructing a one-way circular driveway, and putting in 10 parking places. In addition, a playground, which the staff and some commissioners have euphemistically called a "tot lot," would be constructed.

Since no water or restrooms are in the area, a walkway would be built to the facilities 76 yards away. It would be constructed of concrete and composition and be 8 feet wide through a sensitive area.

One more thing to consider is that the current project was originally designed for 42 cars, but that number was reduced to 10 when it was pointed out that it did not fit the 2003 master plan. However, the revised proposal still has much the same footprint. Why? Is someone going to build those 42 spaces anyway?

The chairman of the commission even said we must get our "value" out of the parks. How does one measure that value? With dollars?

Look now at the routes people will have to take to get to this new entrance: One way is to go down Victoria Place through a 15 mph curve to Pacific and on to its end. Another is to go down Canyon Drive to Wilson Street to Pacific. The third way would be to go from Placentia Avenue to Wilson and follow it to its end at Pacific.

These streets are narrow and much of the time have cars parked along them because of the number of housing units. Wilson Street goes by Wilson Elementary School, which has children running about and sometimes into the street. Pacific has curves. I could go through each route and find problems with it.

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