Costa Mesa planning commission denies permits for more sober-living homes
Costa Mesa planning commissioners denied three permits to a sober-living operator Monday, Feb. 12 and rescheduled hearings for two other applications.
On a pair of 5-0 votes, the commission denied conditional use permits for RAW Recovery facilities at 321 and 327 Cabrillo St. to house up to 37 people and at 328 Rochester St. for up to eight residents.
Some commissioners raised concerns over the number of residents that would live on the Cabrillo Street properties.
“I just think it creates an overcrowded situation that is inconsistent with the housing element of our general plan and not a good land-use policy,” said Commission vice-chairman Byron de Arakal.
The commission’s decision becomes final in seven days but can be appealed to the City Council.
Public hearings for facilities operated by Pacific Shores Recovery at 200, 202, 204 and 206 Cabrillo St. to house up to 46 residents and a RAW home for up to 10 people at 268 Knox St. were moved to a later meeting.
The commission requested city staff determine whether any sober-living homes or state-licensed drug and alcohol treatment centers are near the Knox Street property that would conflict with a city ordinance mandating facilities be at least 650 feet apart. The rule is intended to prevent neighborhoods from becoming institutionalized and has been the basis to deny dozens of sober-living permit applications.
Safe Harbor Treatment Center for Women operates two facilities, at 236 and 240 Knox St., according to the California Department of Health Care Services, about one block from the RAW facility.
“We have a bright-line rule in our local regulation. … I’m not inclined to move beyond that,” said Commissioner Jeffrey Harlan.
Costa Mesa residents have blamed sober-living homes for a slew of negative impacts in their neighborhoods, from crime to littering.
“It’s unfair to just blame us for things that aren’t documented,” said RAW founder David Alexander. “It’s unbelievable the type of discrimination we face.”
The commission has been inundated with permit applications from sober-living homes in recent months, denying the majority of them.
In a symbolic effort, the City Council recently adopted a resolution supporting federal legislation that would give municipalities more control over the regulation of the facilities.
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