A controversial operator of sober living homes on the Orange County coast has agreed to shut down three in Costa Mesa, the city announced Tuesday.
“In response to a civil nuisance abatement legal action filed only 21 days ago on Jan. 2 by the City of Costa Mesa, Morningside Recovery LLC has agreed to shut down its remaining three sober living homes in the city, all of which were in violation of the city’s sober living home ordinances, and to pay the city $20,000 in legal fees and enforcement costs,” reads a statement from the city.
“This is a great outcome for the residents of Costa Mesa,” says City Councilman Allan Mansoor in the same announcement. “We are happy that the group home operator decided to work with us and settle this without significant court costs for either party. Hopefully, this sends a message to others that we will strictly enforce our city ordinances and ensure that our neighborhoods maintain a balance that is good for all residents.”
Morningside representatives could not be reached for comment.
The city says it took the abatement action against Morningside, several related entities and the owner of the properties, Barry Saywitz, LP, “for failure to apply for and obtain conditional use permits and otherwise comply with in the city’s sober living home ordinances.”
Costa Mesa originally targeted six Morningside’s facilities within the city, but three quickly closed while properties on Orange Avenue, Peppertree Lane and Pomona Avenue remained open.Under the terms of the settlement, the Peppertree Lane and Pomona Avenue facilities will close immediately and the Orange Avenue home will be shuttered on or before Aug. 31, according to the city.
“In addition, Morningside agreed that in connection with the closure of its sober living facilities, it will not ‘curb’ residents onto the city streets and will otherwise comply with the provisions of the city’s ordinances relating to eviction of residents,” the statement concludes.
When Morningside Recovery closed a location in Newport Beach’s Lido Village in October 2012, operators announced 36 clients would be transferred to facilities in Costa Mesa and other unspecified neighboring cities.
Last August, Morningside Recovery announced the opening of a 32,000-square-foot Residential Pavilion in Irvine. It was billed at the time as “one of the largest addiction detoxification centers in the nation,” with 87 beds, ensuite bathrooms, four wings and a gourmet cafeteria.
Besides treating clients with substance abuse issues, Morningside Recovery advertises mental health services.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.