More sober-living homes' permit requests are up for Costa Mesa Planning Commission review today

Groundhog Day may have been recently, but Costa Mesa residents — like Bill Murray in the movie of that name — may feel a sense of déjà vu as they look over Monday's Planning Commission agenda.

As has been the case at many meetings in recent months, commissioners again are set to make decisions on a series of requests for conditional use permits from sober-living home operators.


Such approvals are necessary under a city ordinance adopted in 2015. Costa Mesa also requires that group homes, licensed alcohol and drug treatment facilities and sober-living homes — which typically house recovering alcoholics and drug addicts — be at least 650 feet from one another in residential areas.

Most of the applications up for review Monday come from one operator, RAW Recovery LLC.


RAW — which stands for Recovery and Wellness — is seeking city permits to continue operating its sober-living home with up to 37 residents at 321 and 327 Cabrillo St., as well as another at 329 Rochester St., which houses as many as eight people.

In both cases, planning documents state, existing state-licensed treatment facilities are well within the 650-foot buffer. As a result, staff recommends the commission deny the permit requests.

City officials have said the goal of the distance requirement is to prevent sober-living facilities from clustering in residential areas.

There's no separation issue with another RAW sober-living facility at 268 Knox St., according to planning documents. Staff recommends approval of the permit request for that property, which would house up to 10 people.

A permit request for a Pacific Shores Recovery facility with up to 46 residents at 200, 202, 204 and 206 Cabrillo St. also is on Monday's agenda, but staff is asking the commission to continue that matter to a future date.

The issue of sober-living homes has become increasingly contentious in recent years as more have sprung up throughout the city.

Critics say such facilities are harmful to the character of local neighborhoods and create or contribute to problems with noise, parking, litter and secondhand cigarette smoke.

Supporters say the facilities are an important step on the road to recovery from addiction and that quality operators provide vital services while being good neighbors.

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

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