Museum Tower Petition Drive Succeeds a Week Ahead of Schedule – Signatures Being Counted!

Our understanding is that the Line in the Sand political action committee, through an extraordinary team effort by principals, volunteers and supporters, was able, in less than two weeks, to obtain nearly twice the number of signatures needed for a successful referendum.  Having determined their goal had been far exceeded, LITS decided to submit the completed Museum Tower Referendum petition books (constituting nearly two tons of paper!) to the City’s Elections Official (the City Clerk) this morning, December 21 — a full week earlier than legally required.

It is now up to the City to verify that the requisite number of signatures was indeed obtained.  They have about six weeks for that, after which the City Council will be required to either withdraw their approval of the land use change, or put it to a citywide public vote.

For further details, photos and video of the petition delivery, and still more information about what’s next for the Museum House — all soon to be posted — visit the LITS website at LineInTheSandPAC.com.

Although IRS constraints prevented SPON for participating directly in the later phases of the petition effort, SPON commends this remarkable outpouring of volunteerism, and this exceptional demonstration of the tremendous interest the public in general has in the quality of life in Newport Beach.

Congratulations to all!

Financial Support – Museum Tower Referendum

Question: I’d like to make a donation to help defer Museum Tower Referendum expenses. How do I best do that?

Answer: As a 501c(3) tax-deductible organization, SPON is limited as to the amount it can spend on ballot issues. That threshold has been met. We welcome your financial support, but additional donations cannot be used for referendums or ballot measures until after June 2017.

Because of the massive petition size imposed on us by the Council, Line in the Sand PAC (LITS) has incurred considerable expense in preparing signature-gathering packets for the Referendum . . . in excess of $30,000 and climbing.  We encourage SPON supporters to donate directly to Line In The Sand PAC.

Please know that donations to LITS are not tax deductible. Donations to SPON are deductible, but limited as to use by federal law.

Thank you for your support of either or both organizations. It is very much appreciated.

Focus on the Goal!

Over this last weekend, the Museum House developer (Related California) and its affiliate (OCMA Urban Housing LLC) have employed a myriad of tactics to create confusion and false information about the referendum and signature-gathering process.

For those of you who intend to support the Referendum, please remember this: We must all stay focused on the goal of collecting the required number of validated signatures to qualify the Referendum for a vote. Line in the Sand PAC has just three weeks to do this, and these opposition tactics divert our time and attention from our goal.

Our LITS volunteers and supporters are razor-focused on the goal of collecting 8,000 signatures for validation by the Registrar of Voters before the end of December. We ask that you stay focused too.

For more information about the Referendum, including dates, times and locations where you can go to sign the petitions, please visit LineInTheSandPAC.com .


Council approves “Museum House” Tower — referendum begins

Important update:  the start of signature gathering for the Museum House referendum has been delayed by a City Council action on November 29 adding thousands of pages of documentation to the paper petitions on which the signatures have to be affixed to legally request a citywide vote on the Council’s controversial decision– thereby significantly shortening the already very short time in which signatures have to be collected.  Meanwhile forces aligned with developer have been engaging in a number of questionable practices intended to confuse and distract potential signers. Please be patient.  The true paper petitions that need to be signed by the end of the year are expected to begin becoming available from the printer on Wednesday, December 7.  However, initial supplies may be limited.

Many thanks to all who signed the previous joint SPON/LITS online petition opposing Related Companies’ proposal for the Museum House Tower, a 100 unit, 25-story, 295 foot tall high density condo tower that would replace the current low-rise Orange County Museum of Art galleries at 850 San Clemente Drive in the northwestern part of the Newport Center / Fashion Island area.  A recap of the petition results and comments as presented to the City Council at their special November 29th meeting can be viewed on the City’s website here.

Despite that outstanding effort, the City Council voted 6 to 1 (with Councilman Tony Petros opposed) to change the land use designation of the OCMA parcel from “Private Institutional” to “Multi-unit Residential – 100 units,” as well as a number of other actions allowing use of that new designation to begin construction of the “Museum House” Tower, contingent upon final approval at the Council’s December 13th meeting.

Pursuant to the terms of the Greenlight section of the City Charter, and coming on top of other recent additions to Newport Center, SPON firmly believes this November 29th change to the General Plan should have automatically gone to a citywide vote.  However, the City Council disagrees, forcing residents to reclaim their right to vote by referendum.  That arduous process requires residents to obtain the signatures of roughly 5,600 Newport Beach registered voters on legally correct paper petitions within the next 30 days.

SPON and the Line in the Sand Political Action Committee are in the process of initiating just such a referendum; and it is important to understand these are completely different from any paper or online petitions you may have signed before (as in the recap, above).  If successful, the new petitions will force the Council to either repeal their approval of the land use change, or put it on hold until the voters can affirm or reject the approval at a future election.

To make this a success, everyone will have to help.  Further information on what you can do will follow soon.  But please visit LineInTheSandPAC.com for the most accurate and up-to-date details.

Thank you all again…  the battle has begun!

Important Upcoming Dates

(see Calendar for further details)

January 18 @ 6:00 pm  Koll Residences Scoping Session
Central Library — Friends Room

  • Unveiling of plans for a 3 tower, 260 unit, 150 foot high residential condominium infill project proposed for the current parking lots of an Airport Area business park
  • Public comment being sought on items to include in the required Environmental Impact Report

January 19 @ 6:30 pm Planning Commission Meeting
Civic Center Council Chambers

  • Agenda, when published, available here (usually on Friday before meeting)
    • Permit for cafe and poolside cocktail lounge at “Villas at Fashion Island” apartment complex
    • Uptown Newport – park fee credits
    • Mariners’ Mile Roadway Configuration (tentative – no longer on calendar?)
    • Harbor Commission Presentation on importance of preserving harbor-related uses (postponed to February)

January 24 City Council Meeting
Civic Center Council Chambers

  • City Manager’s Insider’s Guide (Preview of upcoming meeting — pending)
  • Agenda, when published, available here (usually by 4:00 pm on Thursday before  meeting)
    • 4:00 pm: City Council Study Session (tentative)
    • 7:00 pm: City Council Regular Meeting
      • Village Inn use permit appeal
      • Lido House Hotel LCP amendment
      • Uptown Newport – tax-free bonds approval

January 26  @ 6:00 pm  Mariners’ Mile Public Workshop
Marina Park

  • Likely to be conducted as special meeting of Planning Commission

February 1 @ 6:00 pm  FAA NextGen Flight Paths Workshop
OASIS Senior Center

  • Open house type presentation about new “NextGen” jet departure control system, expected to affect paths from John Wayne Airport in April or May

AutoNation Update

Breaking news:  AutoNation application withdrawn — hearing cancelled

At the Council’s October 25th meeting, City Manager Dave Kiff announced a plan to move the November 8 Council meeting to November 7 at the unusual hour of 6:00 p.m., because of the conflict with election night and because it was expected at least three important decisions would have to be made at that meeting:

  • An appeal of the Planning Commission’s denial of the  AutoNation Porsche proposal.
  • Approval of the Local Coastal Program Implementation Plan reviewed on October 25th.
  • A 15 year extension of the expiring Irvine Company development agreement for Newport Coast.

However, on November 2nd he announced the AutoNation application had been withdrawn by the applicant, meaning the project is dead and there will be no hearings about it at all. And the notice of the Newport Coast development agreement matter indicates it will be continued to November 22nd.  So it looks like the only matter of possible controversy on November 7 may be the first step of the two step process of approving insertion of the LCP-IP into the City Municipal Code.  Stay tuned…

By way of background, the AutoNation Porsche proposal had been rejected by the Planning Commission on October 6 and neighborhoods in the areas most directly impacted (Cliff Haven, Kings Road, Newport Heights, and Bayshores) had banded together and circulated a petition similar to the one many of you signed for 150 Newport Center.  Their position was that the AutoNation Porsche dealership was too big, did not fit into the maritime nautical vision for Mariners’ Mile and that potential negative impacts on long-established Newport neighborhoods need more analysis, including an environmental impact report (EIR).  A link to their petition is available here.

150 Newport Center Update

Application withdrawn!
Developers withdrew their application for the 150 Newport Center (car wash) condo conversion proposal in advance of the September 27 City Council meeting.  Congratulations to all our friends who helped by signing the petition, attending and speaking at meetings, sharing your concerns with your own personal networks.  A recap of the petition, signed by over 1,600 supporters, can be found here.

Second Matching Gift Matched!  — contributions still welcome

SPON is fortunate to have recently received two Matching Gift Challenges for $10,000 each.  A check for $300 received on October 31, 2016, has put us over the top for the second of these.

As a result, over $40,000 has been raised in just six and half months to  help us research, advocate and communicate with you on the things that threaten the environmental and residential qualities of Newport Beach.

A very special thank you to the two generous Newport Beach families who each pledged $10,000 in matching gifts.

And a big thank you to each and every supporter who made the commitment to provide the financial support SPON needed to meet these important Matching Gift Challenges.

Naturally, additional contributions are still most welcome and helpful.

Please consider making your tax-deductible contribution now.

By Check:  Download Donation by Check Form here

By Credit Card:  Click on the DONATE button below


Food for Thought . . .

Watch this space for articles and commentary on topics or issues that we are following.

Former Council Member and SPON Co-Founder Jean Watt asks tough questions about Team Newport’s agenda . . . and so should we.

Resident Allen Drucker ponders tradeoffs between water shortage and development

Planning Commissioner Erik Weigand takes issue with developer’s “pay to play” statement

 Our Pledge

As environmental and residential quality-of-life advocates, we continuously monitor proposed development projects, and their resulting traffic impact, as they make their way to the Planning Commission, City Council and California Coastal Commission.  We keep you informed of projects that will jeopardize the residential and environmental qualities that we fought so hard to maintain, whether within our own city limits or projects initiated by neighboring cities that will impact Newport Beach.

We stay connected to our inclusive and growing network of supporters, neighbors and friends, using a variety of communication tools to do so.  Attend our member meetings, visit our website and subscribe to our E-Newsletters. Be sure to LIKE us on Facebook and Follow Us on Twitter.  And visit our YouTube channel to view Planning Commission videos.

Looking Back | Planning Forward

We at SPON thank you for your past support both in time and/or treasure to continue working to maintain the high quality of life we enjoy in Newport Beach. SPON‘s concerns and input are considered by city staff, council members, and committees and commissions because of your backing.

The resounding defeat of Measure Y sent a clear message that perhaps was not well heard. The business-as-usual attitude continues, and changes to the general plan continue full speed. “Planned Communities” that are supposed to be ten acres are put on one acre without concern; height limits which were raised from 35 to 50 feet are quietly allowed to go higher; spot zoning is casually used to defeat the intent of the general plan.

The City of Newport Beach is not unique in this trend of spot development. Our neighbors in Costa Mesa are seeing exceptions popping up like mushrooms and are responding by pushing for their own “Greenlight” initiative. A more distant neighbor, Hollywood, is seeing community reaction to massive development exceptions to their general plan.

The influence SPON has with commissions and elected officials is directly related to the strength of our membership. Elected officials and commissioners take note . . . and listen . . . when the meeting room is full of our supporters. We have seen that time and again this year in city and state government meetings: Newport Coast Entitlement Rights “error”, Newport Center Villas (site of Beacon Bay Car Wash), Back Bay Landing (adjacent to Bayside Village Mobile Home Park), West Newport-Mesa height zoning amendment, Banning Ranch development, and more.

The year 2016 is going to present challenges and opportunities for the quality of life in our community. SPON will be there to meet those challenges and to capitalize on the opportunities.

We hope that you will continue supporting SPON with your time, your treasure, and your continued willingness to participate when called on.

Get Involved

If you are already a SPON member or supporter, thank you!  If you are not familiar with SPON and its ongoing work spanning more than 40 years, we encourage you to learn more about us.  Take a look at our Achievements, what we are About, and what we Treasure by clicking on the tabs above. And then click on the Support page to find out how you can help us protect and preserve the residential and environmental qualities of Newport Beach.

And don’t forget to LIKE us on Facebook, Follow Us on Twitter, and visit our YouTube channel.

Newsletter – Winter/Spring 2016 Edition

Topics covered in this newsletter include:

  • Recent accomplishments
  • New development projects that jeopardize the beauty and peace of our coastline
  • New community outreach opportunities
  • Important upcoming dates to save

2016 Winter/Spring Newsletter here.


Stop Polluting Our Newport (SPON) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit public education organization working to protect and preserve the residential and environmental qualities of
Newport Beach.

SPON | PO Box 102 | Balboa Island, CA  92662
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