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Mesa Verde Plaza Owner Challenging Costa Mesa’s Approval of Cannabis Retail Shop

Owner Mark Les Appeals Decision, Citing Impact on Family-Friendly Community.

Mark Les, owner of Mesa Verde Plaza, is challenging the Costa Mesa Planning Commission’s approval of yet another new cannabis retail shop. The appeal comes amid growing concerns from local businesses and residents about the increasing number of such shops in the area. Currently there are 62 shops in process for Costa Mesa.

This shop, filed as PA-22-05, is located at 1505 Mesa Verde Drive East. It stands at odds with the long-standing efforts by Les to cultivate a family-friendly, community-centric environment at Mesa Verde Plaza. The shopping center is a bustling hub, home to an assortment of small businesses tailored to families and young people, serving as a microcosm of Costa Mesa’s broader aim to nurture a safe and vibrant community.

Mark Les is adamant that the incoming cannabis retail shop threatens this intricate business ecosystem and warned that the shop’s presence could not only deter existing customers but also dissuade future family-oriented enterprises from leasing space in the plaza.

The appeal hinges on the shop’s proximity to youth-serving businesses within his plaza, such as Musika Studio and Art Steps. He contends these entities meet the legal criteria for K-12 educational establishments. If he’s correct, this approval would violate regulations mandating a minimum 1,000-foot distance between cannabis retailers and K-12 institutions.

Les also points to potential logistical issues like parking and security. The addition of a cannabis shop near Mesa Verde Plaza could result in increased traffic and parking difficulties, negatively affecting customer experience. Security worries also loom large, as Les cites past incidents near the proposed retail location that involved drug-related disturbances.

Moreover, Les criticizes the city’s cannabis shop saturation, arguing it’s driven by policy shifts rather than community demand. With 62 shops being processed for Costa Mesa, he contends this far out ways the demand in our community and jeopardizes other types of family-friendly businesses.

His appeal will be heard by the City Council, date not yet set. He hopes council can rethink existing regulations that dictate cannabis shop placements. He underscores that such a ruling will set a precedent affecting not only Mesa Verde Plaza but also the broader Costa Mesa community.

The hearing date for Mark Les’ appeal is pending. The local community group, We Are Costa Mesa, has organized a petition in support of Les’ appeal, accessible here. His appeal represents community member’s concerns for preserving Costa Mesa’s vibrancy, family-friendliness, and security.

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