Frequently Asked Questions

The Fairview Developmental Center (FDC) Specific Plan is a City led project to create a Specific Plan (new land use regulations – see What is a Specific Plan below) for the former FDC site as well as an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The Specific Plan process involves community input resulting in a vision statement and guiding principles, a market study, land use alternatives, as well as technical studies for traffic, infrastructure (water, sewer, and storm drain), noise, a tree survey and more. These studies will inform the creation of the plan which will ultimately set a land use plan, development and design standards, mobility plan, infrastructure plan, and phasing, implementation and financing plan, as well as an administrative process for approving future development.

The FDC was a State-operated residential care facility dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities. Opened in 1959, It originally occupied 752 acres.  In 1979, much of the original land was transferred to the City of Costa Mesa as the State started to shift to the group home model for care facilities.  Currently, it encompasses approximately 121 acres and is in various stages of being closed, except for the group homes.  The State intends to sell the land to a master developer. The State Legislature approved the FDC closure plan in 2016. The closure plan provides data and information concerning the FDC’s residents, the employees, the families, the buildings, and leases.  Senate Bill 188, approved by the Governor in 2022, outlines the partnership between the State Department of Developmental Services, State Department of General Services, and the City of Costa Mesa regarding the future disposition of the site. The City of Costa Mesa Development Services Department staff will manage the land planning process, which includes preparation of a Specific Plan, General Plan Amendment, and an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  The State is responsible for the disposition process and would ultimately sell or lease the FDC site to an owner/land developer who would develop the site consistent with the General Plan and Specific Plan approved by the City Council.

A Specific Plan is tool used by jurisdictions to implement the general plan in a defined area within a city. The required content is established by Sections 65450 – 65457 of the California Government Code.  A Specific Plan provides an additional layer of planning control, detailed standards and design direction that may supplement and/or differ from a City’s traditional zoning regulations. In addition to establishing a land use plan and development regulations, a Specific Plan must also provide conceptual plans for circulation and infrastructure improvements needed to support the intended land uses.  It must also address the phasing of development, financing, and how development applications will be processed. On adoption, statutory provisions allow streamlined processing for projects consistent with a specific plan for which an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) or Supplemental EIR has been prepared.

The Fairview Developmental Center Specific Plan will be the basis for all future development applications on the site.  The developer(s) selected by the State will be required to comply with the adopted Specific Plan.

Yes, the City has adopted a number of Specific Plans over the years, including the East 17th Street Specific Plan, the Newport Boulevard Specific Plan, and the North Costa Mesa Specific Plan.

The project was initiated in September 2023 and will be completed around the end of 2025.  The State is expected to start its developer selection process while the Specific Plan is being drafted – around Spring of 2024.

The City and State executed an agreement that stipulates that housing shall be a priority use and that any housing shall include affordable units. In addition, priority shall be given to deed restricted housing for individuals with developmental disabilities. The City has further defined the number of housing units planned as part of its latest Housing Element, adopted by the City Council. Neighborhood-supporting non-residential uses will also be considered.

Planned Housing Units by Income Level
Income Category Very Low Income Low Income Moderate Income Above Moderate Income Total
Estimated Income1 $51,500 $82,400 $123,600 >$123,601
Example Rent per Month $1,199 – $1,315 $2,003 – $2,208 $2,807 – $3,101 >$3,101
Planned Units2 575 345 690 690 2,300

1. Incomes established for a family of four (4) by HUD and as referenced in the Costa Mesa Housing Element.
2. Planned units do not include those that can be achieved through density bonus.

Source: City of Costa Mesa 2021-2029 Housing Element

The development of the plan will be phased out over several years. At this stage, there is no set date for completion and availability of housing. However, as the project progresses, the city will keep the community informed. For more housing resources visit

The Fairview Developmental Specific Plan is a community-led process. During each stage of the process there will be in-person and virtual workshops provided in both Spanish and English, booths at community events, on-line surveys, and other activities. Additionally, meeting summaries, PowerPoint presentations, and materials will be made available online after each workshop.

Yes, there are a few state bills that allow for special needs housing. Additionally, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) is planning to build an Emergency Operations Center (EOC). More information about each project is provided below.


SB 82, passed in 2015, allows up to 20 acres of the plan area to be used for new housing for the developmentally disabled. The potential project permitted by the bill is Mixed-Income State Housing and is formerly known as “Shannon’s Mountain”. While the bill allows for supportive housing on site, development options include integration with new housing throughout the specific plan.


SB 138, passed in 2023, authorizes the State Department of Developmental Services to construct up to three complex needs homes (5 persons per home, 15 people max) that would require 24/7 staffing. The State budget includes up to $10.5 million to construct the homes. These homes would house individuals for up to 18 months before they transition to another community-based setting.

State Emergency Operations Center

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services is moving forward to build an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on 15 acres at the southwestern corner of the plan area. The EOC will support full-time staff and establish a regional center to serve as a hub for critical emergency management planning and emergency preparedness services in support of local agencies.

Operations are non-emergency related, therefore the EOC will not serve as a shelter or a staging area for first responders. Additionally, the State has removed funding for the helipad originally included in the plans from the budget so there will be no helicopters landing at the site.

Operations at the EOC will include:

  • Collecting, analyzing, and sharing information.
  • Supporting resource needs and requests, including allocation and tracking.
  • Coordinating plans and determining current and future needs.
  • Classroom training, tabletop exercises, and simulations to prepare for emergencies.