COSTA MESA – City Council members rejected a plan to allow the Orange County Humane Society to operate a shelter for the city’s stray dogs and cats and postponed a decision on extending its contract with the Huntington Beach-based animal care provider.
Citing insufficient parking and noise concerns, the council voted 4-1 on Tuesday, Dec. 5 to overturn the Planning Commission’s approval of the plan to allow the Humane Society to operate the shelter at 642 Baker St. Councilman Jim Righeimer was opposed.
Mayor Sandy Genis and Councilman John Stephens asked for the council review after receiving negative feedback from the public following the commission’s decision.
The plan called for the facility to house dogs and cats collected by Costa Mesa animal control officers for up to seven days before being moved to the Orange County Humane Society’s Huntington Beach facility to be put up for adoption if not claimed.
“I don’t think it’s compatible at all with the surrounding area,” Councilwoman Katrina Foley said. “It’s like a circle in a square.”
Plans for the shelter were effectively killed when during questions about the lack of parking at the proposed facility — only 10 spaces — it was revealed that the facility would not let the public inside without an appointment.
“We’re developing a program where if you find your animal on the website, that you’re going to make an appointment to come pick up your animal with an animal control officer present,” said Costa Mesa police Lt. Victor Bakkila.
That caveat was not included in any city staff report and council members seemed to be caught off-guard when it was mentioned Tuesday.
“This is the first I’ve heard of it and to my knowledge, it’s not done at any other shelter,” Stephens said. “When you go to all the shelters… it’s not just about people that are picking up their dogs, there are people that are going to see the dogs to adopt the dogs and rescue them.”
Humane Society owner Samir Botros declined to comment after the meeting and could not be reached Wednesday.
Several residents and business owners voiced concerns over the noise that would originate from the proposed Baker Street shelter. The property sits across the street from the Newport Village apartment complex and adjacent to several businesses.
Bruce Parson, owner of a neighboring property management business at 636 Baker St. said the site is not a good fit for the area.
“I don’t think there’s…