Costa Mesa Planning Commission to review 6 more sober-living permit requests today

The deluge of sober-living home operators seeking permits they need to remain open in Costa Mesa continues Monday, when the city Planning Commission is scheduled to review six applications.

The meeting is the latest in a recent stretch in which commissioners have met weekly to go through a backlog of sober-living permit requests.


The permits are required under a pair of city ordinances restricting how close such facilities can be to one another. The homes generally house recovering drug and alcohol addicts who are considered disabled under state and federal law.

All the sober-living homes up for review Monday have been open at least two years, according to city documents.


In 2014, the City Council adopted an ordinance requiring that sober-living homes with six or fewer occupants in single-family neighborhoods be at least 650 feet apart. Last year, the council created similar rules for such homes in multifamily zones.

City officials say the goal of the ordinances is to prevent the facilities from clustering in residential areas, though some critics have claimed the restrictions are illegal and discriminate against recovering addicts.

Of the six applications scheduled for review Monday, only one — for an all-male sober-living home with as many as 13 occupants, including a resident house manager, in three units at 2041 Tustin Ave. — isn't within 650 feet of another drug and alcohol recovery or treatment facility.

Planning commissioners reviewed the application at their Nov. 14 meeting and directed staff to prepare a resolution to deny the request, citing concerns about the intensity of the use.

Also at that meeting, the commission approved a request from the same applicant, Keith Randle, to permit a sober-living home with up to 11 occupants, including a live-in manager, in two condominium units at 165 E. Wilson St.

"I've managed the properties so that all my neighbors are afforded peaceful and quiet enjoyment of their properties, just like my tenants are entitled to peaceful and quiet enjoyment," Randle said in a previous interview.

The five other requests, by three applicants, on Monday's agenda are:

• Casa Capri Recovery, for up to 14 residents in three units at 166 E. 18th St.

• Northbound Treatment Services, for up to 20 residents in four units at 171 and 175 Rochester St.

• Northbound Treatment Services, for up to 24 residents in six units at 235 and 241 E. 18th St.

Each of those properties is less than 650 feet from at least one other state-licensed drug or alcohol treatment facility, city documents show. As a result, staff is recommending the commission deny the permit requests.

So far, the Planning Commission's permit hearings have in many ways reflected the larger debate surrounding sober-living homes in Costa Mesa.

Supporters and operators say the facilities work to be good neighbors and provide a much-needed service by giving people a safe and secure place to maintain a lifestyle free of alcohol and drugs.

Critics say the homes can disrupt neighborhoods and contribute to problems with parking, traffic, noise and crime.

According to the latest statistics available, Costa Mesa has 83 state-licensed drug and alcohol facilities, and 95 other establishments are considered sober-living homes, according to city spokesman Tony Dodero.

Monday's Planning Commission meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

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