Sober-living homes owner withdraws request for Costa Mesa permits


The owner of two properties used as sober-living homes in Westside Costa Mesa withdrew his request for permits before the City Council could consider the matter Tuesday night.

As a result, a Planning Commission decision in November 2016 to deny special use permit applications for the homes at 647 and 653 Joann St. still stands.

Those permits are necessary under a city ordinance adopted in 2014 for sober-living homes, which typically house recovering alcoholics and drug addicts.


Richard Perlin, who owns the properties and for years operated sober-living homes there, had originally asked the council to reverse the commission’s vote.

However, at some point, another operator — apparently called the Ohio House — took over running the facilities, according to Assistant City Attorney Tarquin Preziosi.

Steven Polin, an attorney representing Perlin, said Tuesday that “there is someone else who has taken over who is going to file an application.”

When pressed by the council, he declined to offer additional details.

“I’ve withdrawn the appeal; I don’t have any further business with you all,” Polin said. “Any further questions about what’s going on, I think, is improper at this point.”

Since the homes are currently unpermitted, council members asked what actions they can take regarding them.

“They’re pulling their appeal and, from that point forward, they’re in violation,” said Mayor Pro Tem Allan Mansoor. “I would think they have to clear all the current tenants out and then a new operator, who really wants to follow the rules, [would] apply before he sets up shop, not just take over what’s there automatically.”

As their discussion veered into the legal realm, council members broke for a closed session to consult with counsel on the issue.

They returned about 15 minutes later and moved on to the next agenda item.

Several items delayed

With multiple meaty matters still to be considered as the clock ticked toward midnight, council members decided to table the rest of Tuesday’s agenda.

It was the second consecutive meeting in which the council postponed some items rather than remain at City Hall until the wee hours of the morning.

On Tuesday, a few residents and council members expressed concern with how long meetings have been recently. Four of the council’s six meetings since Oct. 17 have lasted at least six hours.

Had the council forged ahead with the remainder of its agenda, Tuesday’s meeting undoubtedly would have done the same.

Items that will return to the council at a future date:

  • A proposed partnership with the Costa Mesa Sanitary District for a pilot program to provide mobile restrooms to serve the local homeless population;
  • A discussion about noise issues stemming from John Wayne and Long Beach airports;
  • A proposal to direct staff to analyze options for filling Costa Mesa’s city attorney position;
  • The proposed work plan to review the city’s small-lot ordinance, urban plans and overlay districts;
  • A proposed resolution supporting local authority to certify and regulate residential recovery facilities and sober-living homes.

Twitter @LukeMMoney