Costa Mesa officials to discuss halting cannabis permits, response to Fairview Developmental Center

Costa Mesa City Hall
The Costa Mesa City Council will meet Tuesday at 6 p.m. to update residents on the city’s cannabis application process and a battle between the city and state over the 114-acre Fairview Developmental Center.
(File Photo)

After processing dozens of applications from cannabis retailers looking to do business in Costa Mesa, the city could soon close the floodgate as the council is poised Tuesday to discuss potentially halting the practice.

The panel in September directed city staff to work with the Planning Commission to determine whether local ordinances allowing for the sales and delivery of retail cannabis may be leading to an over-concentration of dispensaries and the displacement of local businesses.

So far, the commission has approved 21 conditional use permits for storefronts, three standalone cannabis delivery permits and nine minor conditional use permits to allow legal cannabis manufacturing and processing enterprises operating in an approved “Green Zone” to add delivery services to their offerings. Of those, eight storefronts and a total of seven delivery businesses are operating in the city.


Councilman Don Harper during an Oct. 3 meeting requested the council engage in a conversation about whether the city may want to issue a temporary moratorium on the processing of cannabis applications while staff and commissioners engaged in their evaluation.

As such, the panel will discuss the matter Tuesday, the same night the council will be asked to consider an appeal filed by a local business owner against a 5,941-square-foot pot shop at 1505 Mesa Verde Drive East, approved by the Planning Commission in August.

Mark Les, owner and property manager of Mesa Verde Plaza, located at 1525 Mesa Verde Drive East, in an appeal filed Aug. 22, claimed the dispensary would be detrimental to several nearby businesses that serve children and youth, as well as the site’s parking, security and ability to attract and keep tenants.

Update on fight over Fairview Developmental Center

Council members Tuesday will also provide an update on the city’s response to a proposal put forth by the California Office of Emergency Services to redevelop a 15-acre portion of the 114-acre Fairview Developmental Center into a regional emergency operations center.

City officials have submitted a response to an environmental impact report for the project, which includes a 30,000-square-foot office building, a 20,000-square-foot warehouse, helipad and 120-foot communications tower and requires demolition of multiple historic buildings on the state-owned property.

In their response, officials claim the site is not appropriate for an emergency operations center and would potentially cause undue noise, traffic and visibility impacts to the space and would reduce the number of acres that could be redeveloped into housing, which the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development has already identified as a priority use for the site.

CMPD could get $3.5M to combat retail thefts

Officials with the Costa Mesa Police Department last month were among 37 area law enforcement agencies to receive funds from the Board of State and community Corrections’ Organized Retail Theft Prevention grant program.

With authorization from the council and city manager, CMPD would stand to receive $3,518,133 in grant funding for its efforts to tackle a rise in retail thefts, as well as motor vehicle thefts and other related crimes.

The grant program was mandated by Senate Bill 154, passed in 2022, which authorized the allocation of more than $242.5 million to the state board for distribution to qualifying agencies.

The Costa Mesa City Council is scheduled to meet Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. at City Hall, 77 Fair Drive, For more, visit