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Costa Mesa council to hear report on possible future of Fairview Developmental Center

Fairview Developmental Center
According to a Costa Mesa staff report, only six residents remain at the Fairview Developmental Center, which has served adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities for decades.
(File Photo)

As operations wind down at the Fairview Developmental Center, Costa Mesa city officials are looking toward the future of the sprawling campus.

The Costa Mesa City Council will receive a report Tuesday from the recently created Fairview Developmental Center ad hoc committee about its vision to provide integrated veteran and permanent supportive housing for people of all income levels on the 114-acre, state-owned property at 2501 Harbor Blvd.

The center — which at its height housed thousands of adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but now serves only six clients, according to a city staff report — could, in the committee’s mind, become a “new neighborhood that integrates seamlessly into the broader fabric of the city.”

Fairview — which still has 200 staff, according to the city — is closing as part of the state’s effort to transition people out of institutional-style centers and into smaller, more integrated communities.

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The city staff report emphasizes the need for housing for moderate-income individuals and families. Incentivizing new rental and homeownership opportunities, the report adds, also would help Costa Mesa plan for the 11,734 new housing units the Southern California Assn. of Governments has determined the city needs.

The center’s future, however, is up to the state to decide. As part of his drive to seek out state properties that could be re-purposed to provide shelter and services for the homeless, Gov. Gavin Newsom included $2.2 million in this year’s budget for an evaluation of the Fairview site, which is expected to be done by the end of the year.

Newsom’s most recent budget proposal also included $11.9 million to maintain basic functionalities at the site into 2021.

Though the city technically does not have a say over the state-owned property, it has a significant interest in its future. In September, the council formed the ad hoc committee, which consists of Mayor Katrina Foley, Mayor Pro Tem John Stephens and Councilwoman Andrea Marr, to liaise with state and county officials.

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In November, the staff report states, City Manager Lori Ann Farrell Harrison traveled to Sacramento to meet with state officials, who “were highly receptive to a collaborative working relationship.”

“Working with the state to design the future of Fairview Development Center is an opportunity to ensure our community is safe, balanced and sustainable while ensuring the quality of life we strive for in Costa Mesa is maintained,” the report continued.

Using the Fairview property to provide homelessness resources is not a new concept. In March 2018, then-county Supervisor Shawn Nelson and state Sen. John Moorlach (R-Costa Mesa) suggested using the site as an emergency homeless shelter. More than 300 residents flooded a special meeting on the matter, and the council swiftly condemned the idea with a resolution the following week.

Tuesday’s council meeting starts at 6 p.m. in City Hall, 77 Fair Drive.

Purchasing ordinances and parking study

The council also will consider two new ordinances that would give the city manager more authority for purchasing agreements in an effort to streamline business, according to a staff report.

The first ordinance would designate signing authority on any purchases under $50,000 to the city manager, assistant city manager or purchasing officer. Anything greater than $50,000 would continue to require council approval.

The second ordinance would allow the city manager to be the final authority on whether to accept that a public service project is finished.

The council also will consider approving a $132,000 agreement with Dixon Resources Unlimited to kick off a citywide parking study to assess the local residential permit parking program.

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