Tag Archives: Newport Beach

Mariner’s Mile

Project 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.

Upcoming:

May 18, 2017 (tentative): A formal hearing before the Planning Commission is expected on May 18, at the end of which City staff expects the Commission to make a recommendation about the proposed Master Plan to the City Council.

Recent Events:

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, 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.

Speak Up Newport presentation (April 11, 2017):  City staff made a presentation about the Master Plan at the monthly Speak Up Newport meeting.  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 28, 2017): Mariners Mile was one of several topics presented at a “District 2 Town Hall” conducted by Councilman Brad Avery in the Mariners Branch Library community room.

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 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?

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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

Affordable Housing

Affordable Housing in Newport Beach (June 2015)
The Newport Beach Housing Element
is a state-mandated element of the City’s General Plan; it covers the planning period for the years 2014-2021.

The Housing Element evaluates the City’s population, income and housing data and sets forth goals, policies and actions to facilitate future development and preservation of housing for all economic segments within the community.

Housing is considered affordable when a household pays 30% or less of its income (e.g., a family with an income of $75,000 should pay no more than $1,875 per month for housing.)

For more information on this important topic, please read the presentation here which was made to SPON at its June 2015 Board Meeting.

Newport Beach resident Carolyn Martin, who made this presentation, is a former Laguna Beach Planner and advocate for affordable housing.

For more information, please request by email here.

 

 

 

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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