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Renewed proposal for medical marijuana business awaits Costa Mesa Planning Commission review

Renewed proposal for medical marijuana business awaits Costa Mesa Planning Commission review
A proposal to develop a medical marijuana manufacturing facility in Costa Mesa will return to city planning commissioners Monday. (File Photo / AP)

A previously withdrawn proposal to develop a medical marijuana manufacturing facility in Costa Mesa is back on, with city planning commissioners set to review plans for the operation on Monday.

Leaf Concepts LLC will ask for the commission’s blessing to open in an existing 7,783-square-foot industrial space in Building E at 3505 Cadillac Ave.

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Leaf Concepts proposes to extract and refine oils from cannabis plants for a variety of medicinal products, including vape pen cartridges and edibles.

Under the voter-approved Measure X, Costa Mesa allows certain kinds of marijuana manufacturing, research, testing and distribution businesses in a specified area north of South Coast Drive and west of Harbor Boulevard.

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Should the Planning Commission sign off, Leaf Concepts would become the 10th business to receive a conditional use permit to open in that zone.

Most of the commission’s previous hearings on proposed marijuana operations have been uncontroversial affairs with few, if any, residents turning out to oppose them or even speak about them at all.

Leaf Concepts, however, is facing some friction from St. Barnabas Orthodox Church in Building G-3 at 3505 Cadillac.

Some parishioners and officials have urged the commission to reject the application, writing in emails that they’re concerned the facility could leak noxious fumes or odors, present a safety or security risk, reduce property values or create a stigma surrounding the church.

“We need you to understand that having this manufacturing plant less than 20 yards from a family-oriented church is a really bad idea,” states an email signed by three parishioners. “Please put yourselves in our position. Would you be in favor of having a marijuana manufacturing plant a few yards from the place you consider a second home, where you worship, where your children gather — a place in which you have made a significant financial and personal investment?”

Leaf Concept’s application states there would be stringent measures to ensure the business operates safely, securely and unobtrusively.

“We truly aim to elevate the designated Measure X area and, if we thought we would be causing any damage in our business operation to our neighbors, we would not be doing this,” the application states.

The Planning Commission originally reviewed Leaf Concept’s permit application April 9. Commissioners postponed action on the matter, saying they wanted more specifics on the proposed business.

Another hearing was set for May 31. However, six days before that, the applicant — identified in planning documents as Meilad Rafiei — sent an email to the city withdrawing the application.

City staff then canceled the hearing. Afterward, the applicant told the city the project was back on.

The item was rescheduled for Monday’s meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

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