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Turnaround at Fairview Park approved

Council votes for the addition at Fairview Park without the highly opposed parking lot, but attendees still are not happy.

September 18, 2013|By Bradley Zint
  • Pictured is the northern terminus of Pacific Avenue that borders Costa Mesa's Fairview Park. A 10-space parking was proposed to be here, though it will now contain only a turnaround space without any new parking. The council approved the turnaround with a 3-2 vorte.
Pictured is the northern terminus of Pacific Avenue that… (MAT LUSCHEK, Daily…)

The Costa Mesa City Council voted early Wednesday to add a turnaround space at Fairview Park as a potential compromise to a proposed parking lot, which had been opposed by residents.

But a vocal group of people attending the nearly seven-hour council session weren't happy with that decision either, contending that the city should be hands-off and keep the park natural.

The 3-2 decision — with Councilwomen Sandy Genis and Wendy Leece dissenting — overrode the Parks and Recreation Commission's design approval for a 10-space lot within the park's southwestern quadrant.

Mayor Jim Righeimer suggested the motion, which also keeps a proposed playground area next to the turnaround space at the end of Pacific Avenue. The matter was brought to the council after Genis filed an appeal of the commission's Aug. 22 approval of the lot.

Righeimer tested the idea of a turnaround without any parking during a Meet the Mayor session last week at a residence on Pacific Avenue. Many of those in attendance seemed to like the idea, though others expressed disapproval following the gathering.

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Righeimer also asked staff to come up with a "proper looking" park entrance for the end of Pacific Avenue, a residential street of single-family homes, condominiums and apartments.

The park's master plan calls for a 10-space parking lot at the end of Pacific Avenue, as well as the playground. The plan was approved in the mid-1990s and modified through the early 2000s. A majority of the parks commissioners cited the conformance with the master plan, which was publicly vetted and debated, in their approval of the parking lot.

The lot was originally designed to have 42 spaces, but that was changed after city officials realized the master plan called for only 10.

The turnaround would be available to the Fire Department in an emergency, though interim Fire Chief Fred Seguin said Pacific Avenue is more of a secondary entrance to the park for firefighters, who are more likely to enter from nearby Canyon Drive.

People attending Wednesday's council meeting, including some who live along Pacific Avenue, universally opposed all the plans, even the mayor's compromise.

"The voice of the community has been overwhelming to keep the park natural," said Anna Vrska, a member of the Fairview Park Citizens Advisory Committee. "I would urge that you respect that."

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