City Council to Vote on June Ballot Options to Save the Fair

Thanks to the 5-0 vote of the Costa Mesa City Council on November 3rd, the city staff has put together 4 different Ballot Initiative options for the the City Council to move forward with at their next council meeting this Tuesday, December 1st.

This is a milestone in Save the Fair‘s objective to lock in the land-use of the fairgrounds through a citizen-passed Ballot Initiative.  No matter what happens to the property going forward, it will always be used for our County Fair.

Here is the full text on the 4 different options, but I will list them here and give a brief summary as well.  Our choice is the same as Staff’s; Option 4 will allow us as citizens to become actively engaged in the ongoing discussion to Save our Fair.

Option 1) “Place the existing 2000 General Plan designation of ‘Fairgrounds’, and accompanying Land Use Element text on Ballot”

This option will not work since the existing text describes the property as ‘owned by the State of California’ and will be obsolete if the property is ever transferred from the state.

Option 2) “Place the Existing Zoning District of ‘Institutional and Recreational’ and accompanying zoning regulations on Ballot”

Two main faults with this option:

  • I&R zoning can be broadly applied to a variety of uses
  • A General Plan amendment could be processed at a later date without voter approval to overrule this.

Option 3) “Prepare and adopt a Fairgrounds Specific Plan and Place on Ballot”

Staff is already preparing this and most likely will not be completed in time to get on the June ballot

Option 4) “Prepare and adopt a General Plan Amendment and Place on Ballot”

The clear option to Save the Fair through citizen interaction and input – explanation below.

The current wording in the General Plan clearly needs to be amended in order to, as staff puts it, “recognize the City’s land use authority at such time the Fairgrounds is no longer owned by the State.”

In addition, a General Plan amendment will allow us as citizens to engage our City to define permissible land uses for the property through the upcoming discussions that this amendment will have to go through – both in the Planning Commission and City Council meetings.

Also, this process is a necessity as our current General Plan will become obsolete should the sale go through and leave us unprotected.  Who better to amend the General Plan to define the Fair than the citizens themselves?

Lastly, this process can be completed in time to make the June ballot.

We are confident the City Council will go with this option tomorrow night – so the most important work from there will be done at the upcoming Planning Commission meetings where the actual language will be decided upon by citizens like you.  We will keep you posted.


Jim Righeimer, Save the Fair


3 Responses to “City Council to Vote on June Ballot Options to Save the Fair”

  1. Scott Saunders Says:

    I would think that a general plan amendment to continue present and historical uses of said property would pretty much cover the issue. Yes, they could go on and on defining the land use items but referencing the historical and present usage would bar most changes to the fair.

  2. anna reagan Says:

    jim, i cannot thank you enough for working on this project. you are the most suited for this.

  3. B Says:

    Now that a real estate developer has made the highest bid for the fairgrounds (, are there any updates for folks wanting to Save the Fair? How about a web form that people can fill out that will email the members of the state legislature asking them to reject the bid?

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