Council makes specific move

Council chooses to amend general plan from four options for locking in fairgrounds’ land use through a June ballot measure.

December 01, 2009|By Mona Shadia

The Costa Mesa City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to direct staff to make the general plan for the Orange County Fairgrounds’ land use more specific.

The amendment will go to the Planning Commission, and then the council for approval, before the council votes to place it on the June ballot.

Amending the general plan’s designation for the fairgrounds will provide more details about how the property can be used, which will include expanding the definition of the fairgrounds and asserting the city’s authority over the land use when the state sells the property, said Kimberly Brandt, Costa Mesa’s acting development services director.


Brandt presented the council with four options:

 Place the city’s general plan designation for the fairgrounds on the ballot;

 Place the city’s zoning designation for the fairgrounds on the ballot;

 Adopt a specific plan pertaining to the fairgrounds, and then place it on the ballot;

 Amend the general plan’s designation for the fairgrounds, and then place it on the ballot.

Discussions of placing the land use of the fairgrounds on the ballot began when the state put the 150-acre property for sale as part of a plan to sell high-valued state properties to help fill the budget deficit. Although Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger named seven state-owned sites for potential sale, the fairgrounds was the only property placed for sale after the Assembly’s vote in July.

Last month, both the council and the county Board of Supervisors approved a resolution that asked Schwarzenegger to cancel the proposed sale.

The council also voted, during closed session, to present the potential purchase of the property to the Planning Commission to determine whether buying the fairgrounds is consistent with the city’s general plan.

The supervisors have also asked that the commission make a determination, a step that is required by law if a government agency is looking to make a property purchase, City Atty. Kimberly Hall Barlow said.

Although the council and the supervisors would like to see the sale canceled, both are aiming to buy the fairgrounds, in case Schwarzenegger does not stop the sale.

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