Category Archives: News

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2016 Election Forum Schedule

Event/Host Location           When
West Newport Beach Association
Candidate Forum

Email George Schroeder
949-400-7597
Marina Park
1600 W. Balboa Blvd.
Newport Beach
August 31 @
6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
Friends of OASIS – Candidate Forum
Contact Evelyn Hart
949-645-9127
OASIS Senior Center
801 Narcissus
Corona del Mar
September 2 @
11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Balboa Island Improvement Association, 
Little Balboa Island Property Owners’
Association and the Balboa Island Business DistrictCandidate Forum
Contact Ken Yonkers
949-683-7805
Fire Station 4
124 Marine Avenue
Balboa Island
September 10 @
9:00 a.m
Speak Up Newport Candidate Forum
Contact  Joe Stapleton
949-224-2266
Community Room
100 Civic Center Drive
Newport Beach
September 14 @
5:30p.m.-7:30p.m.
Women’s Democratic Club Candidate Forum
Email Rima Nashashibi
949-423-6468
OASIS Senior Center
Room 2AB
801 Narcissus
Corona del Mar
September 15 @
5:30 p.m.
WiNN (Women in Newport Networking)
Open House/Meet the Candidates for
Newport Beach City Council
Email Debbie Allen
Community Room
100 Civic Center Drive
Newport Beach
September 22 @
5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Corona del Mar Residents Association
Political Forum
Email Laura Curran, President
949-478-2454
OASIS Senior Center
801 Narcissus
Corona del Mar
September 28 @
5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Central Newport Beach Community Association
Candidate Forum
Contact Grace Dove
949-675-1573
Marina Park
1600 W. Balboa Boulevard
Newport Beach
October 5, 2016
7:00 p.m.

 

The Residences at Newport Place

Project Update – July 2016: Back to the Drawing Board
City Council unanimously rejects developer’s appeal to overturn Planning Commission decision at Council’s July 26, 2016 meeting. 
(Video here . . . Staff Report here)  

Project Overview: The originally proposed project was composed of 384 residential units and 5,677 square feet of retail space, replacing an existing small shopping center. View the project proposal here (large file; takes a minute to load).

Why We’re Watching: Among other things, the proposal includes a request for “adjustments to development standards pertaining to building height”.  In other words, the developers are seeking an exception to the current building height (an example of SPOT ZONING).  The developers are also seeking a WAIVER of a General Plan Policy that requires them to dedicate a minimum of ½ acre for a neighborhood park.  Apparently, they don’t have room for a park (again . . . another example of SPOT ZONING). Read the Planning Commission Staff Report for yourself.

Recent Events:

March 2016: The Residences at Newport Place, an Airport Area proposed project,  went before the Planning Commission for an initial review on March 3, 2016.  Subsequent meetings scheduled for May were temporarily tabled as a result of concerns from both the public and the Planning Commission.

June 2016: The applicant requested a continuance and the project finally came back to the Planning Commission for review at their June 9 meeting.  SPON submitted comments to the Planning Commission on three separate occasions before the project came back to Planning Commission on June 9 (see Helpful Links below).  The Commission was further concerned about a lack of responsiveness to the comments received in March.  In a 4-1 vote they denied the developer’s request to continue the hearings and rejected the project.

July 2016: The developer appealed the decision to City Council and the appeal hearing was set for the Council’s July 26, 2016, meeting (Public Notice).  The City Council unanimously rejected the appeal, forcing the developer to start over with a completely new application if they wish to continue.

Next Step:  Let’s keep the standing-room-only momentum going! City meetings are great opportunities for residents to come together in a show of solidarity and for getting their comments included in the public record.

Helpful Links

Planning Commission Mtg Videos

Project Update

Planning Commission Meeting Videos here!
SPON, at its own expense, is recording and posting Planning Commission Meeting videos for you to view online.   Watch them on SPON’s YouTube Channel here.


Overview:  In response to numerous earlier requests from SPON, Mayor Dixon asked that the question of televising Planning Commission meetings be put on the February 23rd Council agenda.

More than 70 community members either emailed the Council or showed up in person to support the idea of televising, live streaming and archiving videos of the meetings. No one wrote or spoke in opposition.

Council Action: Despite the clear and unanimous public sentiment, Council voted not to televise the meetings [Dixon and Petros voted in favor of televising; Selich, Muldoon, Duffield and Peotter voted to oppose televising; Curry was absent].  The Council members’ arguments for and against are well worth listening to.  Click here to view the Video; click on Agenda Item #16 to skip directly to this matter at 59:16 minutes.

The vote against televising the meetings is worrisome on several levels:

  1. The equipment and largely automated technology is already in place for City Council meetings and needs only to be turned on during the Commission meetings and manned.
  2. Staff indicated there was ample budget to cover the $3,600/year extra expense ($50 per hour).  Most meetings are under two hours so the actual cost will likely be closer to $2,500/year.
  3. Council arguments against televising meetings focused on these concerns:
    • that the public would stop coming to meetings
    • that commissioners might be inclined to grandstand more if televised
    • that access to videos would aid litigants against the city
    • and, ironically, that commissioners (and Council members) wouldn’t have the benefit of public comments delivered in person before voting
  4. The Planning Commission itself expressed displeasure both with the Council’s decision and with the fact that no one asked their views on the matter.  However an expected noticed public discussion of the matter by the Commission has not yet materialized.

SPON’s Next Step: We are not giving up on this request.  While we work to gather more support in the community and on the Council, SPON, at its own expense, has retained a videographer who will videotape Planning Commission Meetings beginning March 3.  Videos will be posted to our website and/or You Tube for public viewing. Be sure to watch for our progress on this action on our website. 

YOUR Next Steps: 

    1. Check SPON’s YouTube Channel to view videos which we post after each Planning Commission Meeting
    2. Write to City Council members to let them know how important these videos are for government transparency
    3. Write letters to the editors of our local newspapers.  Be sure to include your name, city of residence and phone number (not for publication but allows editors to check with you if they have questions).

Daily Pilot Editor
Newport Beach Independent Editor
OC Register Editor

Press Coverage: 

Helpful Links

Newsletter 2016 Winter-Spring

Topics covered in this newsletter include:

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

A downloadable/printable version of this Newsletter is available here.


beehiveWe’ve been busy on many fronts since our last not-quite-quarterly newsletter. Despite the crushing defeat of Measure Y (almost 70% voted NO), attempts to add more density and traffic and change the character of Newport Beach have continued in different forms. But as always we’re on our toes and watching out for residents’ interests. [Links providing Measure Y background located below.]

Here’s what we’ve accomplished:

May 21: A big thanks to everyone who wrote to the Planning Commissioners to stop them from adding 300,000 sf of development capacity to Newport Coast after The Irvine Company said it had noticed a “scrivener’s error” in the voter-approved portion of the 2006 General Plan…nine years after the fact!  [Links at bottom of page.]

September 1: We met with Dave Kiff, Ed Selich, Diane Dixon and Community Development Director Kim Brandt to discuss the spot zoning and tweaks to the General Plan we’re seeing all around our town. We reiterated that it’s probably time for a comprehensive review of the City’s General Plan[Links at bottom of page.]

jam3October 7: The Coastal Commission delayed a decision on Banning Ranch after the developer pitched a plan to build 1,175 homes, a 75-room hotel and 20-bed hostel along with 75,000 sf of retail space on a 401-acre site rich in environmentally sensitive habitat and Native American archaeological sites. The next hearing will be May 11, 12 or 13 in Long Beach [exact date and venue TBD]. We are supporting all efforts to preserve this entire site as open space and stop a project that would mean big money for developers but only give residents ten years of noise, contaminated dust and traffic jams during construction and then an ongoing drain on our roads, water, public safety and other resources. Not to mention gridlock. [Links at bottom of page.]

October 8: We had an attorney write a letter on SPON’s behalf about a plan to tear down the Beacon Bay Car Wash in Newport Center and build a seven-story building with 49 luxury condos (“150 Newport Center Project”). The project, as submitted, requires

  • a General Plan amendment, a Zoning Code amendment, and
  • a waiver of the 10-acre minimum for a “Planned Community”, and
  • an increase in the height limit for the site from 35 to 87 feet!

Our letter was received before the project could breeze by the Planning Commission and go on for approval by the City Council with no Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  An EIR is being conducted now – stay tuned.  [Links at bottom of page.]

Museum House: In the meantime, a competing project being put forward aims to redevelop the OC Museum of Art site, on the other side of Fashion Island, with a 26-story, 100-unit condominium high rise. Yes, you read that right… [Links at bottom of page.]

These are just a few highlights of the actions SPON took in 2015. Many of our battles are of the longer-term variety and will stretch out into 2016 and beyond…


Keeping our coastline beautiful…and true to Newport Beach

nbcoastlineNearly half of Newport Beach is in the coastal zone, and today projects in that zone need permits both from the City and the California

Coastal Commission. If the Coastal Commission signs off on it, the Local Coastal Program Implementation Plan, approved by the Planning Commission in October and by the City Council in November, would transfer a good deal of control over development projects to City government.

Which is fine with us as long as the City’s actions are guided by its own coastal policies and the Coastal Act. Case in point: The City approved the Back Bay Landing Project in its original form, which included building a new bulkhead, multi-story water-edge homes and a 65-foot viewing tower. The Coastal Commission deferred a final decision on the bulkhead and homes in December BUT denied the tower, saying it would be “inconsistent with the character of the area and result in adverse visual impacts to public views of the bay and the cliffs of Upper Newport Bay”.  Don’t you wonder why our City Council didn’t make that statement?

developedcoastlineSuch considerations will be all-important now that a good portion of Mariner’s Mile has changed hands and will be the subject of a number of “revitalization” proposals.   We want to make sure that stretch of PCH doesn’t wind up with oversized lots and super-sized buildings on either side, making it feel like a concrete canyon.  In particular, current height restrictions will have to be respected and enforced. [Links at bottom of page.]


Asking for transparency

We’re still working to get the City to use the state-of-the-art technology in the Civic Center to live stream and archive Planning Commission meetings, during which City Council-appointed commissioners discuss and vote on development projects with the potential to impact and even transform our community. Thanks to everyone who wrote letters about this last year. We may have gotten through to officials: this item is now on the February 23 City Council agenda!  [Link at bottom of page.] 

And we encourage you to continue writing to City Council in support of this request.  City Council will hear this matter on February 23, so time is of the essence. (Email form here).


Reaching out

We’ve been trying a new community outreach model: A few of our members have graciously opened their homes for monthly informational luncheons so people can visit with like-minded residents, keep up with the City’s development pipeline (no simple task!) and find out what they can do to help.


Expanding our network of people who care

SPON is run entirely by volunteers and funded exclusively with members’ tax-deductible donations. Every bit helps. But to carry out our mission, we need people just as much as we need money. If you care about our residential and environmental qualities and have time or special skills you’d like to contribute, we’ll be thrilled to hear from you. We all love Newport Beach and we need to show it!   Tell us how you can help hereIf you can donate, form is here.


LITS


Save the Dates:

May 11, 12 or 13: Coastal Commission hearing on Banning Ranch in Long Beach.  Exact date and venue TBD.

May 21: SPON Annual Meeting at the Environmental Nature Center. Details here.

November 8: Election Day! Remember, we need a City Council that cares about residents, so don’t forget to ask questions and research candidates before you vote.


 

Newsletter Information Links

Measure Y

General Plan Land Use Element Correction: Newport Coast Development

General Plan (voter approved in 2006)

Banning Ranch

150 Newport Center Project (Beacon Bay Car Wash Site Redevelopment)

Museum House (OC Museum of Art Site High-Rise Condo Project)

Coastline Projects

Request for Planning Commission Meeting Videos

Video Library

Community Interest

Community Workshops

To view additional Community Workshop videos, click on the little horizontal bars in upper left-hand corner of the video below and scroll through the selection:

Planning Commission Meetings

Effective February 2017, the City of Newport Beach has assumed responsibility for filming its own Planning Commission meetings.  Those videos are available on the city’s website, and SPON will provide links to those videos below.

Planning Commission Meeting videos available on City’s website:

Planning Commission Meeting videos prior to February 2017 are available on SPON’s YouTube channel which can be accessed below:

Select the video date you wish to view by clicking on the little horizontal bars in upper left-hand corner of the video below and scroll through the collection:

General Plan Amendments

General Plan Projects Update (5/23/2015):
Mission accomplished: Agenda Item 5 Continued!
Our efforts, letters and phone calls worked: the Planning Commission acknowledged at their May 21 meeting that it did not have enough information to approve the General Plan Land Use Element “correction” proposed by staff. More information has notably been requested from the County of Orange, and staff publicly stated that it would continue to confer with SPON on this matter going forward.  In sum, this was a success at every level. Good job!  We will of course be back in touch when we have new news.

General Plan Projects Update (5/2015):  The May 21 Planning Commission will review a staff report/recommendation to correct a General Plan Land Use “error” which will add 300,000 square feet of hotel entitlement space to Newport Coast.  Another example of “piecemeal planning”?  We are currently investigating this issue.

General Plan Projects Update (2/2015): During the City Council Annual Planning Session on January 31, an overview of on-the-books and new projects was presented.  It seems, from this presentation, that the projects outlined in Measure Y were just the tip of the iceberg and the City continues to persist in “piecemeal” planning.

The “short list” includes General Plan Amendments such as the Newport Center Beacon Bay Car Wash to be redeveloped as a seven-story 49-unit residential condominium project and reshuffling Irvine Company entitlements in Newport Center so that shuttered office buildings can be reopened.  The Irvine Company entitlements review will be discussed/voted on at the February 24 City Council Meeting (public notice here).

Municipal Code Amendments for the West Newport Area overlay would allow greater height limits for residential structures in the 57-acre overlay area.

In addition to this specific Municipal Code Amendment, we see an alarming trend toward increasing building height limits and encroachment on public view corridors throughout Newport Beach.

City Contact:
Kim Brandt, Community Development Director
By Email

Questions for SPON:
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