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COVID-19 UPDATE:

Please click here for information related to the Novel Coronavirus.

Planning

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Until further notice, Costa Mesa City Hall is CLOSED to the public in keeping with Governor Newsom’s direction regarding COVID-19.

Development Services will continue to offer services online, and via email, telephone or conference line in order to follow the Governor’s guidance and reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. Please see below for more information:

Planning Applications

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Planning Division will continue to accept planning applications electronically. To submit a Land Use Application:

  • Click here for Planning Application Packets. Email a complete signed application to planninginfo@costamesaca.gov.
    • If over 10 MB, please email instructions for access to a document sharing site where City staff may download the complete application including project plans.)
  • When received, City staff will respond with an email confirmation and an application number for tracking purposes.
  • Fee payments may be wired to the City at no additional charge by following these instructions. Once the payment is wired, please email the payment confirmation to planninginfo@costamesaca.gov along with the site address and planning permit application number (when assigned). Once payment is received, the application will be processed.
  • Payments may also be made by emailing a signed credit card authorization form (PDF) with your planning application. Please note that there is a $15,000 credit card transaction limit. Checks may be mailed to the City (City of Costa Mesa Attention: Planning Division, PO Box 1200, Costa Mesa, CA 92628-1200) and must include the site address or planning application number. Please note: there will be a delay of several days for processing of physical checks or other similar forms of payment.

Outdoor Uses during COVID-19

On June 2, 2020, the City Council approved Urgency Ordinance 2020-15 which allowed restaurants to provide temporary outdoor dining on private properties and within the parking lots as well as certain areas in the public right-of-way. Additionally, religious services are also temporarily permitted in an institution's parking lot or other on-site open spaces and requirements for valet parking have been temporarily waived.  Some of these configurations require approval of a temporary use permit; you can find the development parameters and, where required, the application forms, by clicking the appropriate link below:

The temporary use permit application can be submitted via email to planninginfo@costamesaca.gov. A $250.00 filing fee will be charged for the temporary use permits beginning July 16, 2020

 

The Planning Division is responsible for implementing the regulations of the Zoning Code and the goals/policies/objectives of the General Plan. A planner’s role is to promote the public health, safety, and general welfare of the business and residential community and therefore preserve/enhance the quality of life in the city.

Planning staff apply zoning regulations to promote developments which: 

  • Establish and maintain a balance of land uses throughout the community to preserve the residential character of the City at a level no greater than can be supported by the infrastructure.
  • Ensure the long term productivity and viability of the community's economic base. 
  • Promote land use patterns and development that reinforce neighborhood identity or beautification of the City. 
  • Create a correlation between build-out of the General Plan Land Use Map and Master Plan of Highways. 

Planning staff also are involved in issuance of ministerial permits (i.e. sign permits, banner permits, over-the-counter building permits) and completing plan checks for zoning compliance. The zoning administrator is a staff member who is authorized to approve, conditionally approve, or deny certain discretionary planning applications (i.e., administrative adjustment, minor conditional use permit, and lot line adjustment).

Planning staff provide service to the community, the City Council, and the Planning Commission. The Planning Commission is an appointed body of seven commissioners who act on plans for the regulation of the future growth, development and beautification of the City. The Planning Commission decides on discretionary planning applications (i.e. conditional use permit, variances, master plan, design reviews, subdivision maps, and residential common interest developments). They also make recommendations to the City Council for projects such as rezones, General Plan amendments, Zoning Code amendments, and Specific Plans. Major development projects, appeals of the Planning Commission’s and Zoning Administrator’s decisions, and policy documents are some types of applications which are considered by the City Council.