Planning commission denies more sober-living homes in Costa Mesa – Orange County Register

COSTA MESA – The City of Costa Mesa Planning Commission denied permits for more sober-living homes on Monday, Sept. 11, citing concerns over parking issues and that approval would result in an over-concentration of the facilities.

Commissioners voted 4-0 to reject granting conditional-use permits to Clean Path Recovery properties at 574 and 578 Joann Street.

The commission also refused to reverse an earlier denial to waive a zoning requirement that sober-living homes be at least 650 feet from each other. The rule limits the operation of group homes to one single land parcel, meaning the properties were treated as two, thereby violating the buffer.

Commissioner Jeffrey Harlan recused himself because of his legal representation for a property owner near the facilities

The applicant asked to be granted permits to operate a housing facility for up to 30 residents with two resident managers in eight units. Clean Path Recovery representative Robert Mann argued the homes provide a safe place substance abuse addicts to recover at an affordable price.

“I ask if you displace the 28 people who are currently living in there, where can they go to live and enjoy a dwelling,” Mann asked the council. “Where else can they live for $500/$600 a month?”

The city is home to the vast majority of sober-living homes in Orange County, giving recovery patients plenty of housing options, said Vice Chair Byron de Arakal.

“It still affords an opportunity for their clients to find housing either within the city or within other properties that owner operates,” he said. “I just don’t see that denial this particular CUP (conditional-use permit) precludes any of the applicant’s clients from finding a dwelling unit to live in.”

Mann also took issue with the spacing requirement, saying there are no other facilities near the Clean Path homes on Joann Street.

“We would only 650 feet away from ourselves,” he said.

Commissioner Isabell Kerins said comments from a resident who said they were not even aware the Clean Path Recovery homes were in their neighborhood showed “that it’s a really good operator of a service that we need in our city,” adding “they have been really what we want in this city.”

The commission has rejected a slew of permit applications for group homes, the latest coming in August when it denied four applications.

The commission’s decision can be appealed to the city council within seven days.

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