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Preserving the View in North Costa Mesa

February 05, 1989

It was with great interest that I read your story (Jan. 29). In it you stated that by 1992-93 Costa Mesa may have $38.3 million in tax revenue in excess of the amount allowed by law.

If I remember correctly, one of the main arguments in favor of the proposed massive high-rise developments in north Costa Mesa was the generation of revenue to help solve our traffic problems. In fact, the Home Ranch project boasted that it was going to "donate" about $6 million to traffic improvements in exchange for "only" a 750,000-square-foot, 20-story and 12-story high-rise project estimated to increase traffic in the area by 11,000 cars per day.

The implication, by some of our leading citizens and council members, was that we couldn't afford to make these improvements from our regular revenue and that "wasn't it wonderful that this beautiful project was going to rescue us" from gridlock by providing $6 million or so in improvements? All we had to do to get this "windfall" was adjust to 11,000 new cars per day (and their pollution) in our midst. Well isn't that special!

It now appears that we have a lot more money of our own than the developers were offering and we can fix our problems at least as well as they could have and skip the evils of dense urbanization. Before, they wanted us to believe that we had to give up our way of life to get a little (questionable) traffic relief.

It now appears that we can put parks in those vacant sites and still have oodles of money to improve our streets without new traffic burdens. We don't have to give up our nice, quiet suburban neighborhoods after all.

The question now is, do we prefer dense urbanization over quiet suburbia for their own sakes? We don't need big projects to fix up what is wrong. We only need an adequate traffic plan. Once we have the plan in hand, it appears that we can easily afford to realize it.

My suggestion is that we now put a moratorium on all major projects until we agree on a future plan for the city of Costa Mesa.

Now that we're "in the money," maybe we can afford a little elbow room. The most luxurious thing I can think of is grass and unobstructed views of the mountains (especially on a clear day).

STEPHEN GOLDBERGER

Costa Mesa

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