Costa Mesa planners give blessing to international language school in preparation for former Trinity Broadcasting site

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The Costa Mesa Planning Commission unanimously approved a proposal on Monday to resurrect the former Trinity Broadcasting Network headquarters site as an international language campus.

The decision – which is final unless appealed to city council within seven days – paves the way for EF Education First to turn 6.19 acres at 3150 Bear St. into a for-profit school with the potential to serve. approximately 627 students living on site and 720 living with host families within 45 minutes of campus.

The English Language School will host international students traveling to the United States for a short period to immerse themselves in American culture.

Although the bill passed without a dissenting vote on Monday evening, the commissioners added several conditions as part of their approval, including a student curfew at 10 p.m., the ability for the city to request a traffic count and a stipulation that only students can use the campus. sports facilities.

Commission President Byron de Arakal spoke positively of the project as a whole, but expressed concern about its potential costs after an analysis by a third-party consultant revealed that Costa Mesa could end up spending more. money to provide services – such as police and firefighters – to campus that it would not recoup in income.

“It’s not smart to approve projects that are going to cost the general fund money,” de Arakal said. “I understand that the applicant is convinced that it will be a great economic windfall to Costa Mesa, but our consultant tells us otherwise.”

In response, EF Education First is prepared to invest $ 1.8 million over 15 years to cover the additional infrastructure and services that would be required for the project.

“We look forward to working together to open a wonderful new resort here that will bring the world to Costa Mesa and Costa Mesa to the world,” said Shawna Marino, vice president of the company.

An aerial photo shows the former headquarters of the Trinity Broadcasting Network in Costa Mesa, which is to be redeveloped into an international language school under a proposal approved on Monday by the Costa Mesa Planning Commission.

(File photo / Los Angeles Times)

Most of the residents who spoke at Monday’s hearing expressed support for the project and thanked Marino for being involved with the community. EF Education First spent 14 months meeting with residents to address their concerns about safety, noise, privacy and traffic.

The campus will provide its own 24/7 closed-door security to enforce parking regulations, and there will be policies prohibiting alcohol, drugs, and smoking.

Since international students are not allowed to own or drive vehicles according to the school’s code of conduct, the company is also planning to install new bike lanes and a crosswalk on Bear Street.

According to city codes, the EF campus would normally need 1,550 parking spaces, but the company plans to provide only 102 spaces for employees and visitors.

Commission Vice-President Jeffrey Harlan expressed reservations about deviating from city codes, but added: “I think this speaks to the fact that good projects can be presented, even if they don’t. do not align directly with our general plan or our zoning code.

The discussion on the rules for the installation of cellular installations delayed

The planning committee postponed Monday to December 9 a vote on the installation rules for several small cell installations.

A proposed city code change aims to address residents’ health concerns by requiring that an emissions report be made after installation. It would also require that wireless structures be kept away from footpaths and that residents be made aware of future upgrades to small cell facilities.

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