Tag Archives: mariners mile

Mariner’s Mile

Latest news: The Planning Commission’s recommendation to the City Council about City staff’s proposed “Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Master Plan,” which had been expected to come on May 18, seems to be on hold until at least June or July, apparently to allow staff to resolve whether the Commission’s Chairman is barred from voting due to a business conflict. Meanwhile, the “Mariners Mile Hwy Configuration/Land Use Review” budget item (project ID No. 15T06), dating back to the FY2014-15 budget, remains, with $90,631 of residual funding, in the Capital Improvement Program component of the City’s FY2017-18 budget. That account appears to be the one used to fund the “revitalization” efforts. The proposed CIP also includes a “re-budget” of $49,944 toward the City’s long-delayed reconfiguration of the Old Newport/PCH intersection (see Recent Events, May 5, 2017, below). The budget is expected to be approved by the Council on June 13.

Overview: According to the City’s website, Mariners Mile (oddly spelled Mariners’ in the proposed new Master Plan despite existing road signs to the contrary) has been identified as an area needing revitalization. With completion of a study evaluating roadway capacity requirements for West Coast Highway, the City is evaluating existing land use policies and regulations, which it says may inhibit “revitalization” of the area. The “Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Master Plan” is ostensibly intended to identify potential refinements and barriers to revitalizing the area.

Why We’re Watching: The City contracted with PlaceWorks in May of 2016 to assist in these efforts. According to the City, the plan they develop will provide an implementation strategy to improve the area. But PlaceWorks is the same outside consulting firm (and in this case the same principal consultant) that coordinated the City meetings that led to 2014’s ill-conceived Measure Y.  PlaceWorks also prepared the environmental analysis for Uptown Newport and the recently rejected Museum House high-rise residential development project.

PlaceWorks’ odd decision to change the spelling of Mariners Mile from Mariner’s to Mariners’ seems indicative for their general disregard for the existing Mariner’s Mile Strategic Vision and Design Framework adopted, after considerable effort, in 2000.

Concern about the outside planners’ disconnect with the history and spirit of the place is exacerbated by the fact that a good portion of Mariners Mile (the so-called “Haskell/Ardell properties” and the adjacent Duffy Boat sales/rental office) has recently changed hands and will likely be the subject of major projects and proposals. As residents, we expect these projects and proposals to adhere to our General Plan rules in order to avoid spot zoning exceptions which pave the way for excessive heights and density. And as residents, we need to raise these concerns during the earliest phases of project planning.

Opportunity to Join Voices with Other Concerned Citizens: A group of residents, business people and business property owners, concerned about recent City planning decisions affecting Mariners Mile and the future direction of the new “revitalization” effort, including the renewed push to widen Coast Highway, has banded together as the Coalition to Preserve Mariner’s Mile. The group is completely independent of SPON, but has chosen to associate with SPON for purposes of tax-deductible fundraising.

The Coalition hopes to increase citizen awareness of and  influence over the City’s current planning effort and future planning decisions affecting Mariners Mile.

On May 5, 2017, the Coalition launched a  website which articulates their efforts and concerns.  Visit it for further information, including an opportunity to sigh their petition of concern.

Upcoming:

June 5, 2017:  Last day to submit comments on Caltrans’ environmental study of their Arches Intersection improvement proposal.  See May 5, 2017, below.

Recent Events:

Planning Commission Recommendation on “Master Plan” (May 18, 2017): A formal hearing before the Planning Commission was expected on May 18, at the end of which City staff expected the Commission to make a recommendation to the City Council about the proposed Revitalization Master Plan.  However, that meeting was cancelled. The matter will apparently be brought back at a later date after City staff resolves whether Commission Chair Kory Kramer can participate in the recommendation (see notes about his conflict under April 20, below).  That process could apparently take anywhere from 30 to 60 days.

City “Development Review Committee” (May 11, 2017): City staff’s “Development Review Committee” is expected to hold a “Pre-Application & Project Review” meeting regarding a proposal for the former Ardell Property (site of A’maree’s and the boat storage area across PCH).  The meeting is not likely to be open to the public.

PMM Community Awareness Event (May 6, 2017):  On Saturday May 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Coalition to Preserve Mariner’s Mile held a  “Community Awareness Event” at Cliff Drive Park in the upper picnic area between Riverside and Redlands.

Caltrans releases Arches Intersection plans for public comment (May 5, 2017):  The City, in collaboration with Caltrans, wishes to make changes to the “Arches Intersection” where Old Newport, PCH and the Newport Blvd. bridge come together.  Before proceeding with the project, Caltrans, on May 5, released the required environmental “Initial Study and Negative Declaration” for 30 days of public review and comment. This project has been in the City’s Capital Improvement Program budget since 2012 (the “FY13 CIP“) and curiously the CIP adopted in 2016 and the proposed CIP set for adoption in 2017, in which it is listed as “Old Newport Blvd/West Coast Hwy Widening (15R19),” say the design and environmental review has been “completed.”  In fact, the City seems to have passed the review responsibility for this over to Caltrans.  However that may be, the City’s Public Works staff has said they have been unable to obtain grant funding for this project, so its fate is uncertain even if it obtains Caltrans approval.

Wake Up! Newport presentation (May 4, 2017):  Community Development Director Kimberly Brandt was expected to speak about the Revitalization Master Plan (among other topics) at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s “Wake Up! Newport” meeting.  Like the April 11 presentation, the meeting  was video recorded and should be posted (under that date) on the City’s streaming video page

Planning Commission study session (April 20, 2017): The Planning Commission held a study session on the Master Plan on April 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, with a minimum quorum of four Commissioners in attendance (PC Chair Kory Kramer appears to be permanently recused from this item due to his management interest in the Balboa Bay Club & Resort, Commissioners Zak and Hillgren had excused absences).  The consultant made a presentations about the proposed Master Plan and City staff made one about the eventual widening of Coast Highway through Mariners Mile to six lanes. After extensive public input, the Commissioners seemed skeptical about the desirability of widening the highway and uncertain as to whether they would be able to make a positive recommendation on May 18. Staff persisted in asserting that the widening issue was separate from the Master Plan, and the latter needed to be pushed through to completion.

Good Morning CdM presentation (April 13, 2017):  Newport Beach Community Development Directory Kimberly Brandt and Public Works Director Dave Webb gave a reprise of their April 11 SUN presentation to a smaller Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce breakfast group.  Their presentation prompted questions, not very well answered, about the meaning and significance of a “Master Plan” and how it relates to other planning documents such as the City’s General Plan.

Speak Up Newport presentation (April 11, 2017):  City staff made a presentation about the Master Plan and PCH widening proposals at the monthly Speak Up Newport meeting at City Hall.  The presentation was video recorded and should be posted (under that date) on the City’s streaming video page

Release of draft Master Plan (April 11, 2017):  A 163 page draft of the “Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Master Plan” has been posted for public review on the City website, here.

District 2 Town Hall (March 27, 2017): Mariners Mile was announced as one of several topics to be presented at a “District 2 Town Hall” conducted by Councilman Brad Avery in the Mariners Branch Library community room, and intended to inform the public of City activities impacting residents of District 2. However, discussion was largely deferred when the level of public interest proved such that Councilman Avery declared it a topic needing a meeting of its own.

Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Master Plan Community Meeting (January 2017)
The third public “workshop” was held at Marina Park on January 26, 2017, at 6:00 pm. Although comments were entertained at the end, this was primarily a presentation by PlaceWorks, the outside firm preparing the new Master Plan. A SPON-produced video of this third public meeting is available here.

AutoNation Proposal Withdrawn (November 7, 2016): At its October 6 meeting, the Planning Commission recommended denial of a massive AutoNation Porsche dealership proposal, which which was not part of the revitalization planning and caught many nearby residents by surprise (see SPON video for August 18 Planning Commission meeting). Cut back into the bluff, it would have occupied the entire north side of PCH from the largely-vacant new Mariner’s Pointe building at Dover Drive to McDonald’s, with roof-top parking and elevator shafts towering 50 feet above the highway. An appeal by AutoNation was expected to be heard by the City Council at a special Monday evening meeting on November 7, 2016. However, impacted neighbors had been circulating a petition against the project and it was announced that AutoNation had withdrawn their application.

Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Master Plan Community Workshop (September 2016)
The second public workshop was held as a noticed Planning Commission study session on Monday, September 26 at 6:00 pm at Marina Park. Attendance was good, despite it being a presidential election debate night. A video recording of this second Community Workshop is available here.

Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Master Plan Community Workshop (July 2016)
The July 25 Community Workshop was literally standing-room only for the crowd that attended the event. It obviously attracted many more people than the organizers had planned. Attendees were split into groups and asked to share ideas for the area. A video recording of this first Community Workshop is available here.

City Staff unveils drive for “revitalization” of Mariners Mile (May 24, 2016)
At a sparsely attended May 24, 2016, City Council afternoon “study session,” following an OCTA presentation on the results of the OCTA/Caltrans “Pacific Coast Highway Corridor Study” (agenda Item SS4), the City’s Public Works staff conducted (as agenda Item SS5) a “West Coast Highway / Mariners’ Mile Capacity Discussion.” At the regular evening meeting, the Planning Division presented as agenda Item 8, and the Council approved, a contract with the outside land use consulting firm PlaceWorks, and one of its principals, Woodie Tescher, to “develop a Revitalization Master Plan for Mariners’ Mile.”

City staff has apparently been meeting with the developers and initially said it planned to submit a draft master plan to the Planning Commission in October and to the City Council by the end of the year. Sound like a rush job?

Need for “Citizens Advisory Panel” stealthily removed (May 26, 2015)
In the Council’s May 26, 2015, budget approval for FY2015-16, in which an unspent $222,299 was “re-budgeted” for the same project described below (now known as “Project No.: 15T06“.  In the project description, the tense was changed and the word “possibly” inserted before “Citizens Advisory Panel” : “Staff is working with Mariners Mile property owners and possibly a Citizens Advisory Panel to review the ultimate street configuration and multi-model use of Coast Highway through Mariners Mile. Corresponding land uses and parking requirements of the adjacent properties also are being reviewed.” [emphasis added]

Council budgets money for “Mariners Mile Configuration and Land Use Review” (June 10, 2014)
The City budget for FY2014-15, as approved at the Council’s June 20, 2014, meeting included a $300,000 capital improvement project (“CAP15-0017“) with the above title, and the following description: “Staff will work with Mariners Mile property owners and a Citizens Advisory Panel to review the ultimate street configuration and multi-model use of Coast Highway through Mariners Mile. Corresponding land uses and parking requirements of the adjacent properties will also be reviewed.”  [emphasis added]

Helpful Links

Press 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

Back Bay Landing Project

Back Bay Landing & Balboa Marina Projects: Update by Seychelle Cannes August 2015:  The Back Bay Landing Project is proposed as a mixed-use waterfront development on seven acres at 300 East Coast Highway (PCH and Bayside Drive).  This site now functions as a parking lot and recreational vehicle storage area.  The Newport Beach City Council approved the project entitlement on February 11, 2014 for over 82,742 square feet of office, restaurant and dry-stack boat storage.  The approved footage for the project does NOT include the propose 49 individual residential units, a three-story parking lot (partially under-ground) nor a 65 foot viewing tower.  These additions are being requested by the developer through an amended Conditional Land Use Plan (CLUP).  This parcel is currently zoned for marine use only.  The architect for the Back Bay Landing project is the same architect that designed the Mariner’s Pointe retail and restaurant development located on West Coast Highway at Dover Drive.

For more information

The Balboa Marina is slated for a development project as well.

BalboaMarinaOnly one block away from the proposed Back Bay Landing Project, just west of Bayside Drive, is the expanded development proposed by the Irvine Company at the West Balboa Marina.  Located at 201 West Coast Highway, this project will expand the existing Balboa Marina by constructing a 19,400 square foot marine commercial building for a yacht brokerage office, public restrooms and a restaurant.  It is essentially at the site of the former Ruben E. Lee.

For more information: The Log – Boating & Fishing News

With higher density plans for Mariner’s Mile, traffic grid-lock is still in our future, despite the overwhelmingly opposition and defeat of Ballot Measure Y in November 2014.

* * * * * *

Article by Seychelle Cannes (2/2015): A mix-use waterfront development project on 7 acres at 300 East Coast Highway (PCH and Bayside Dr.) which changes the current parking lot and recreational vehicle storage area to more than 82,742 square feet of office, restaurant and dry-stack boat storage.

With higher density plans for Mariner’s Mile, traffic grid-lock is still in our future, despite the overwhelmingly opposition and defeat of the 2014 Ballot Measure Y.

Newport Beach City Council approved the project entitlement on February 11, 2014 for over 82,742 square feet of office, restaurant and dry-stack boat storage.  The total approved square feet of 82,742 for the project does not include the propose 49 single residential units, 3 story parking lot (partly under-ground) nor a 65 foot viewing tower that the developer is requesting through  an amended Conditional Land Use Plan (CLUP).  Presently the parcel is zoned for marine use only.  The architect for the Back Bay Landing project is the same architect that designed the Mariner’s Pointe retail and restaurant development located on West Coast Highway at Dover Drive. For more information, read this article about the December 2014 Coastal Commission Meeting, as well as the project write up on the Newport Beach City website.

Another development, adjacent to this project, is the expanded development proposed by The Irvine Company at the West Balboa Marina, located at 201 East Coast Highway (West Coast Highway and Bayside Dr.).   The project will expand on the existing Balboa Marina and construct a 19,400 square foot marine commercial building for a yacht brokerage office, public restrooms and a restaurant.   For more information on the Balboa Marina project, read the article here.

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