Frequently Asked Questions

The FDC, opened in 1959, is a State-operated residential care facility dedicated to serving individuals with developmental disabilities. It originally occupied 752 acres and in 1979, much of the original land was transferred to the City of Costa Mesa. As the State has switched to the group home model for care facilities, the FDC is closing its facilities. Currently, it encompasses approximately 121 acres and is in various stages of being closed, except for some group homes expected to remain.  The facility is generally located north of Wilson Street, east of Placentia Avenue, south of Merrimac Way, and west of Harbor Boulevard and is accessible from Fair Drive and Merrimac Way.

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.

The City and the 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
Very Low Income Low Income Moderate Income Above Moderate Income Total
575 345 690 690 2,300
Source: City of Costa Mesa 2021-2029 Housing Element
The Fairview Developmental Specific Plan will be a community lead process. The public will have multiple opportunities to provide input as the plan for the site is being developed.  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, PowerPoints presentations, and materials will be made available online after each workshop. Stay tuned for outreach updates and schedules of events. The City’s Constituent Services team in the City Manager’s office will be communicating through social media to advertise every opportunity to provide input.

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 before the end of 2025.  The State is expected to start their developer selection process while the Specific Plan is being drafted – around Spring of 2024.