Master Site Plan

How Are Potential Environmental Impacts from a Project Identified and Evaluated?

Starburst Question (2)

Potential environmental impacts can be identified by reviewing previously prepared environmental documents such as EIRs, traffic studies, noise studies, lighting studies, and surveys of historic and cultural resources, among other information. Members of the Public can identify additional potential environmental impacts in their letters to the agency.

Adding your voice to call attention to the impacts which can impact your life in the community is a vital part of CEQA.

What Happens During CEQA?

Man Question (2)

This is a general summary of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process which does not include all scenarios.

You can ask the OC Fairgrounds to tell you specifically what the CEQA process is for the implementation of the Master Site Plan proposals. State law obligate the OC Fairgrounds to provide you with this information.

Learn more about CEQA from the California League of Cities

An agency proposes a project, which is evaluated to determine if the project falls under a previously approved CEQA document or has minimal potential environmental impacts which do not require a new CEQA process.

If a new CEQA process is required, the agency in charge of the project must notify the Public, any interested party, and many state and local agencies that there will be an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared. This is called a Notice of Preparation (NOP).

The NOP has a lot of important information you need to make your voice heard during the CEQA process: project information, who to contact, how to reach the contact person, and how long the period is for you to make comments. The comment period can be as short as 30 days. Once the comment period ends, you cannot submit comments.

During the comment period, you need to tell the contact person in writing how the project will cause problems for you and what your concerns are about the project. The comments are read and used to assist in preparing the EIR. A copy of the NOP for the most recent Costa Mesa General Plan Amendment EIR is available so you can see how this process works.

Download Appendix B - Notice of Preparation

The Draft EIR is prepared and may include traffic, lighting, noise and other studies to identify and quantify potential environmental impacts. Identification of mitigation measures, which are ways to reduce or eliminate potential environmental impacts is a mandatory part of the EIR.

The Draft EIR is circulated for comments. Review the Draft EIR to check that your issues have been addressed to your satisfaction. Check that the information presented is correct and accurate, including checking for typos. When there are issues which must be addressed, such as inadequate mitigation measures, your issue not appearing, or errors, send a letter raising the issue. The agency preparing the EIR is supposed to address each and every issue raised in writing the Draft EIR.

The Final EIR is supposed to be circulated and include all of the comments received for the NOP and Draft EIR, along with the agency responses to comments. The agency must then adopt the Final EIR in its entirety before the project can begin physical work.

Does the OC Fairgrounds Need to Follow the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) for the Master Site Plan?

Senior Man Question (2)

Yes. The OC Fairgrounds must follow the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). CEQA requires proposed development to be evaluated to determine significant effects on the environment of a project, to identify alternatives to the project, and to indicated the manner in which those significant effects can be mitigated or avoided.

CEQA is created by law. See California Public Resources Code starting at Section 21000.

CEQA is carried out using regulations created by the State. See California Code of Regulation, Title 14 Natural Resources, Division 6 Resource Agency, Chapter 3 Guidelines for Implementation of the California Environmental Quality Act.

Learn more about CEQA from the California League of Cities

Take a Day Off Work to Attend Master Site Plan Reveal on April 26, 2018


Bullhorn Meeting (1)

The Master Site Plan selection will be revealed on Thursday, April 26, 2018, Download Master Site Plan Notice _February_Board_Packet during a meeting which starts at 9 AM when most people have work, school, or other commitments. Despite repeated asks for evening meetings, the Fair Board chooses to meet at a time when it is hard for people to attend their meetings. The meeting time is by the choice of the Fair Board and nothing in statute says the Fair Board must meet during the day. Oversight of the planning was done by a member of the building trades whose employer can benefit from the project. 

The proposed schedule is:

9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Agenda items 1-9 (including Call to Order through Governance Process, workshop/training to be last governance item)

10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Short recess for room re-set (if necessary)

10:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  Workshop/Training to commence

12:30 p.m. – 12:40 p.m. Short recess as boxed lunches are delivered for Board of Directors and members of the public

12:40 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. Workshop/Training to continue through working lunch

2:00 p.m. – 2:15 p.m. Wrap up of final Agenda items (Board of Directors Matters of Information and Adjournment)

The Fair Board does not stream or make video recordings of their meetings. This is another choice made by the Fair Board.  With over $40 million in cash and cash equivalent reserves Download Financials_February_Board_Packet, there is no shortage of resources.

The Fair Board is expected to present plans to begin the process of creating a convention and expo center with year round, daily, heavy use. As the process is being led by CEO Kathy Kramer who worked on the $600 million remodel of the Phoenix Convention Center  with the assistance of VP of Operations Ken Karns who helped to convert Western Fair in London, Ontario, Canada to a year round entertainment and expo center and CEO Kramer celebrated a $1 million sales month in December 2017 Download Million Dollar December_January_Board_Transcript, the project will have major impacts on Costa Mesa. The remodel of the Phoenix Convention Center triggered development of hotels and an entertainment district


Contact Fair Board Directors Added May 3, 2018

Chair Barbara Bagneris [email protected]
Vice Chair Robert Ruiz [email protected]
Ashleigh Aitken [email protected]
Nick Berardino [email protected]
Sandra Cervantes [email protected]
Doug La Belle [email protected]
Gerardo Mouet [email protected]
Newton Pham [email protected]
Stan Tkaczyk [email protected]

Contact CEO Kathy Kramer  

[email protected] 


Contact VP of Operations Ken Karns

[email protected]










2nd Pacific Amphitheatre Settlement Protects the Neighborhoods

Oops Man Question (2)

In 2012, the Orange County Fairgrounds Preservation Society reached a settlement with the OC Fair Board regarding the site plan for the Pacific Amphitheatre remodel in which the berm was resculpted, a new lobby was built, and the plaza area facing the interior of the Fairgrounds was built. Terms of the settlement agreement include using a qualifed noise monitor and maintaining a tracking system for noise complaints.

Download Pac amp finalagreement copy

OC Fairgrounds Celebrates $1 Million in Monthly Revenue in Move Towards Becoming Convention & Expo Center

When Everything is for Sale (1)

OC Fairgrounds CEO Kathy Kramer, formerly of the Phoenix Convention Center,  announced that the all-time monthly revenue record for year round events (events held outside of the OC Fair) was broken in December 2017 with over $1 million in monthly revenue.  Ms. Kramer called the $1 million a month sales as a “benchmark for next year” which is being celebrated on February 23, 2018, with a lunch for Fairgrounds staff. 
Hit the goal, get a reward. The OC Fairgrounds is a sales focussed organization with the Fair Board directing Executive Management to those actions. If the focus was education and agriculture, there would be celebration of increasing the number of Centennial Farm visitors and increases in the amount of space devoted to agricultural and educational use.  
Increases in revenue and rewarding staff for the increase gives rise to a number of issue to be examined:
  • While the Fairgrounds Board and Executive Management claim the property is about agriculture and community service, their actions show the goals of the Board and Executive Management are about increasing revenues.  It is not clear why all of this money is needed or how the money is used to benefit the community with increased agricultural and educational programming and community use of the facility. Exactly what does the Public who own the OC Fairgrounds get from this $1 million benchmark month?
  • Who asked the OC Fairgrounds to do this?  Who benefits? We need names.
  • Does the increase in year round sales mean that there will not be increases in admission prices for the 2019 OC Fair and no increases in parking charges? We need a commitment to no price increases for the 2019 OC Fair. 

The Fair Board and Executive Management  continue to deny that their goal is to become a year round convention and event center with daily, heavy use. Executive Management hired by the Fair Board are from the convention and expo business and converted a fairground into a 364 day a year, 24 hour a day entertainment and expo center.  Executive Management were hired to change the OC Fairgrounds from a fairground to a convention and expo center. 

The Fairgrounds is a 150 acre island surrounded by Costa Mesa and nothing gets on or off the island without going through Costa Mesa.  Costa Mesa neighbors should not be asked to bend their needs to fit what the Fairgrounds wants but the Fairgrounds must fit into the existing Costa Mesa neighborhoods.
Fairgrounds Executive Management Contact Information to Address Your Questions and Concerns
CEO Kathy Kramer
Ms. Kramer was the Deputy Director of the Phoenix Convention Center and was part of the team that oversaw a $600 million expansion project tripling the rentable space to nearly one million sq ft and placing the Phoenix Convention Center in the top twenty-five convention centers in North America.  The expansion of the Phoenix Convention Center changed the character of the area

VP of Operations Ken Karns 
Oversees safety, security, facilities, equestrian center, entertainment booking and ticketing, parking, and the Master Site Plan process, among other duties. Mr. Karns worked to convert Western Fair in London, Ontario, Canada to the Western Fair District which has year round 24 hour a day use. 

VP of Business Development Michele Richards 
Oversees event bookings and scheduling, sponsorships, community programs, and community exhibits during the OC Fair, among other duties. Year round events are not booked by state employees but by Tandem, a company from San Francisco which is paid on commission. 

1996 Settlement with City of Costa Mesa Over the OC Fairgrounds 1991 Master Plan

Women Oops Question (2)

The settlement was ratified at the only joint meeting between the OC Fair Board and the Costa Mesa City Council in July 1996. The agreement capped the number of people allowed on the property at 25,500 when the OC Fair was not being held, require use of leased parking with shuttles when needed, and required cooperation with the City of Costa Mesa on traffic control. Plans for a hotel and off track betting facility were also dropped.

A copy of  the 1991 Master Site Plan is included in the City Atty Report files.

Documents regarding this matter

Download City Atty Report 96-53A copy

Download City Atty Report 96-53C copy

Download City Clerk Changes to Legal Settlement copy 

Download Executed Settlement Sep 9 1996 copy


Two Huge Buildings, the Educational Meeting Center and the Ag-Expo Building, are on the Master Site Plan Proposals. Will Those Buildings ONLY Used for Education and Agriculture?

Money Question (2)

No. The Board and staff want to build new buildings to rent out. They think the Public will be fooled with a building with the word “educational” in it will be used ONLY for education, like a school building. They also think the Public will fall for calling a huge expo building an “agricultural” building and believe that the building will ONLY be used for agriculture. The Public sees through the scam and knows that the “Educational Meeting Center” and “Ag-Expo Building” are big convention center and expo buildings.

Concerned Citizens of Costa Mesa Settlement Quieted the Pacific Amphitheatre


Oops Man Question (2)

The OC Fairgrounds built the Pacific Amphitheatre facing into the neighborhoods, with twice as many seats as what the neighbors were told, and on a 10 acre footprint instead of a 6 acre footprint. The Pacific Amphitheatre was operated by Nederlander, which proceeded to book hard rock acts which were very loud, which blew out the neighborhoods with the noise. Nederlander and the Fairgrounds did not coordinate well, which led to Nederlander concerts jamming City streets and people parking in the neighborhoods. The Concerned Citizens lawsuits took over a decade to resolve and ended with noise limits placed on the Pacific Amphitheatre. Nederlander and the Fair Board claimed that the noise limits made the Pacific Amphitheatre unusable. No concerts were held from 1995 to 2003 because no way could be found to hold concerts without disturbing the neighborhoods. The Pacific Amphitheatre opened in 2003 when the Fair Board hired Gary Hardesty to design the sound system and to manage compliance with the sound limits.

Documents related to the matter


Download Concerned Citizens v 32nd DAA 1984 copy

1980 Settlement with the City of Costa Mesa Protects OC Fairgrounds Neighbors

Women Oops Question (2)

The OC Fair Board created a Master Plan in 1977 which was not compatible with the neighborhoods around the Fairgrounds. The settlement obligated the Fairgrounds to follow City standards for road construction and to pay for traffic signals to be installed. The Fairgrounds was required to dedicate land for creation of turning lanes to improve traffic flow and to create the entries at the intersection of Fair Drive and Vanguard and at Fairview Road and Merrimac. Sound limits consistent with the Costa Mesa municipal code were imposed. A planned commercial development was deleted with the a museum to be substituted if the Fairgrounds was able to do so.

A copy of the settlement  Download CM City_ 32 Ag Agrmnt Aug 1980