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Costa Mesa Planning Commission OKs medical marijuana business permits, denies request for sober-living home

Following a month-long delay, the latest medical marijuana business proposed for Costa Mesa cleared a major hurdle Monday when the Planning Commission awarded two necessary permits.

The commission voted unanimously to grant conditional use permits for Se7enLeaf LLC to operate manufacturing and distribution facilities in two units, M101 and L3, totaling almost 6,700 square feet at 3505 Cadillac Ave.

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Se7enLeaf is the seventh business to win commission approval under Measure X — a voter-approved initiative allowing firms that research, test, process and manufacture some medical marijuana products to open in a specified area north of South Coast Drive and west of Harbor Boulevard.

When they first reviewed the permit applications last month, commissioners raised concerns with Se7enLeaf's proposal to move cannabis products between the two locations on Cadillac, which are roughly 120 feet apart.

On Monday, Se7enLeaf representatives gave a detailed presentation highlighting the security, safety and monitoring procedures they will use — such as video surveillance and alarm and tracking systems — to ensure no issues arise.

Commissioners said the additional information helped alleviate their original concerns.

"I'm comfortable enough and convinced enough that the transport between the buildings isn't a huge issue," said commission Vice Chairman Byron de Arakal. "We'll watch it closely, but I don't want to be unfair to these guys."

Prior to opening, Se7enLeaf representatives still must obtain city fire prevention, finance and building safety approvals as well as finalize its medical marijuana business permits and business license. They also will need state approval.

Pacific Shores denied permit

In other business, commissioners unanimously denied a conditional use permit for Pacific Shores Recovery, which sought to continue operating a sober-living home with up to 46 residents at 200, 202, 204 and 206 Cabrillo St.

Their reasoning was that Pacific Shores did not comply with the city's requirement that group homes, licensed alcohol and drug treatment facilities and sober-living homes — which typically house recovering alcohol and drug addicts — be at least 650 feet from one another in residential areas.

There are at least three such facilities within that distance of the Pacific Shores site, according to city staff.

The commission's decisions on the Pacific Shores and Se7enLeaf permits are final unless appealed to the City Council within seven days.

Seabreeze development amendment delayed

The bulk of the meeting was devoted to a proposal from residents in the Westside California Seabreeze tract to amend the development's master plan to give residents there the option of building third-floor additions and rooftop decks on their existing homes.

Supporters in Seabreeze — a cluster of 92 homes located at the western end of West 18th Street — said the change would allow them to develop additional private outdoor open space, which is in short supply, and afford them the same ocean views their neighbors in the adjacent Sea House community enjoy.

However, Sea House residents turned out in force and urged the commission to reject the proposal, saying additional building on top of the Seabreeze homes would invade their privacy, spoil their views and likely reduce their property values.

After a lengthy discussion, the commission voted 3-2 — with de Arakal and Commissioner Carla Navarro Woods opposed — to continue the item to a future meeting, with the hope that the applicant will further refine the proposal to address the concerns.

Twitter @LukeMMoney

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