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Costa Mesa bars in-person public attendance at council, Planning Commission meetings as coronavirus measure

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Sitting at least six feet apart, members of the Costa Mesa City Council met March 17, with four of the seven members calling in remotely. Now and until further notice, council meetings will be closed to in-person public attendance as an effort to stop the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
(Courtesy of city of Costa Mesa)

The city of Costa Mesa is closing its City Council and Planning Commission meetings to in-person public attendance effective immediately and indefinitely as a measure to stem the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

The city announced Monday evening that is shutting its City Hall council chamber to the public, citing a March 12 executive order by Gov. Gavin Newsom that temporarily allows governments in California to suspend some requirements of the Brown Act, the state’s open-meetings law.

According to the order, government bodies can bar public attendance at meetings as a precaution against the coronavirus, provided they give the public ways to watch remotely and offer comments about agenda items.

Costa Mesa already has closed City Hall to the public during normal business hours, but meetings in the council chamber had still been open, with many seats unavailable to allow social distancing.

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Now, though City Council and Planning Commission meetings are continuing, some or all members may attend by teleconference and no one from the public can attend in person, except project applicants who can’t make presentations remotely.

The Planning Commission has a meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday. Members of the public can email comments about agenda items to PCPublicComments@costamesaca.gov.

City Council meetings can be viewed live on Costa Mesa TV (Spectrum Channel 3 and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99) and online at youtube.com/costamesatv. Comments about council agenda items can be emailed to cityclerk@Costamesaca.gov.

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Comments will be accepted continuously during the meetings and will be read into the record up to the time limit of three minutes, according to the city. Any portion not read aloud due to the time restriction will still be included in the record.

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