Koll Center Residences . . . as of January 2018
Latest News: The Draft Environmental Impact Report was released for public review (see “Recent Events,” below) in September 2017 with the due date for public comments extended to November 3, then again, to November 13. The project and DEIR were expected be presented for public review by the Planning Commission at an October 19 “study session,” however that presentation has been cancelled. Instead, the developer was been given an opportunity to attempt to sell their project to the public on October 30 in the library Friends Room. At that presentation, City staff announced a Planning Commission study session on the project would be held January 18, 2018, with no date yet set for the hearing or hearings at which the Commission will be asked to make a recommendation to Council. In preparation for the January 18 study session, the City released its responses to the public’s comments on the DEIR, however the study session itself has been postponed to an unknown future date.
Project Overview: This is a proposal to add 260 luxury condominium residences in three 150 foot tall towers in what is now the surface parking lot of an office campus near the corner of Jamboree and Birch in the Airport Area. See the city webpage for further details.
Why We Were Watching: This project raises multiple issues about height, density, and compatibility with neighboring uses, including the viability of the current General Plan’s vision for adding residential uses to the Airport Area, and whether it is being properly implemented. SPON feels the project is out of character with the office park environment in which it is being proposed, and that any further consideration of it should be deferred until the pending General Plan Update has been completed — hopefully providing a clearer and better thought out vision for the future of the Airport Area.
The long awaited Planning Commission study session on this project, which barely got started on January 18, will presumably be rescheduled after questions regarding which Planning Commissioners have conflicts of interest have been resolved. Due to scheduling conflicts, it will likely be at a special meeting date and time.
January 18, 2018 @ 6:30 p.m.: The Newport Beach Planning Commission started to hold a public study session on the project, long deferred from the date that had been scheduled and announced in the DEIR: October 19, 2017. The staff report included responses to the comments on the Draft EIR received on or before November 13, 2017. However, after a brief staff report, and introductory comments, the applicant asked for the session to be postponed due to uncertainty over which Planning Commissioners would ultimately be able to vote on the matter (several of them having financial conflicts of interest). A video of the meeting is available, with the Koll Center Residences segment running for about 17 minutes starting at 1:43. At 1:55:50 the Assistant City Attorney makes the announcement that one more of the Commissioners had to leave the room due to a potential financial conflict of interest. The discussion about future scheduling conflicts begins at 2:06:45.
November 13, 2017 @ 5:00 p.m.: Due date for written comments regarding the accuracy and adequacy of the DEIR. In the Final EIR, the City is required to provide written responses to comments submitted by this deadline. Comments about deficiencies in the EIR can continue to be made up until the final project approval by the City Council. However, there is no legal requirement for a formal response to comments submitted after November 13.
October 31, 2017: As promised at the previous night’s developer presentation, the City amended its DEIR comment extension notice to indicate written comments on the adequacy of the DEIR will be accepted through November 10 (later corrected, in view of the City Hall being closed on that date, to the next business day, November 13).
October 30, 2017: At the City’s invitation the developer provided a roughly hour-long presentation about the project in the Friends Room at the Central Library, followed by questions and answers (but not comments) from the audience. SPON feels this City-invited sales pitch was a poor substitute for the more objective and on-record study session before the Planning Commission that had been previously announced (but cancelled without explanation) during the period the public is expected to comment on the Draft EIR. At this meeting, City staff announced the public comment period would be extended an additional seven days, to November 10, and that a Planning Commission study session on the project had been set for January 18, 2018. There was also an understanding that the developers PowerPoint would be made available on the City’s website.
October 18, 2017: City announced extension of due date for written comments on the DEIR from October 27 to a new deadline of November 3 at 5:00 pm. City also announced a “public forum” to be provided by the developer on October 30. This is a substitute for the October 19 public study session before the Planning Commission which had been announced with release of the DEIR, but cancelled without explanation.
September 13, 2017: The Draft EIR was released for public review. Comments submitted by October 27 will receive a written response in the Final EIR. The public can continue to comment on the EIR until such time as it is certified, but the City is not required to provide a formal response to comments made after October 27. Further details are available in the City’s announcement.
January 18, 2017: A scoping meeting for the project’s Environmental Impact Report was held with comments due by February 2.
- Daily Pilot (January 19, 2018): Koll Center Residences discussion on hold after planning commissioners recuse themselves
- Daily Pilot (January 19, 2017): Public gets early look at 260-unit, 3-tower condo plan for office park near JWA
- Project-specific city webpage and case log
- Notice of Preparation (initial project description)
- Scoping meeting presentation
- Draft EIR