Tag Archives: local coastal program

Balboa Theater

Balboa Theater — as of March 2018

Project Overview:  An application is being processed for the renovation of the Balboa Theater building (at 707 E. Balboa Blvd) by a private developer.   Plans include adding a cafe (with full liquor service) and a rooftop dining area.

Why We’re Watching:   The rooftop expansion, which seems out of character with the historic building, is almost entirely over the 35-foot height limit the city expects in the Shoreline Height Limitation Area (with a proposed elevator tower extending to 47 feet 4 inches).  Although possibly allowed by local zoning rules, this is in apparent violation of the City’s recently certified Local Coastal Program. The LCP, unlike the Zoning Code, contains no exception for modifications to “landmark buildings.”

In addition, since the site has long been vacant and has no parking of its own, the re-emergence of this building as a 285-seat/312 person entertainment center raises potential conflicts with summertime parking in the nearby Balboa Pier lot.


  • Processing of this application is currently “off calendar,”  with City staff now claiming that based on prior approvals, no public review or approval is necessary — even though the current project differs substantially from what was previously approved and the Coastal Commission has since found any development over 35′ on the Peninsula inconsistent with the CIty’s Coastal Land Use Plan.  Coastal Commission staff initially disagreed saying the 2011 Coastal Development Permit (for an arguably even larger expansion extending to 55 feet) expired in 2013. City staff claims to have convinced Coastal staff that certain building permits taken out years ago make the 2011 CDP still effective.  Despite these claims, it is not yet clear Coastal staff agrees.

Recent Events:

February 5, 2018:  At a community forum at Marina Park, Community Development Director Seimone Jurjis announced City staff had determined the prior “entitlements” approved in 2004 (City Planning Commission Use Permit 1646) and 2011 (Coastal Commission CDP No. 5-11-073, preceded by CDP No. 5-05-235 in 2007) were still effective, so no further review was necessary.  The new development needed nothing more to proceed, he said, than getting building permits.

January 18, 2018: The application for this project first appeared as Item 5 on the Planning Commission’s January 18 agenda.  Apparently as a result of public comments questioning the handling of the coastal development issues, City staff announced the item “needed more work” and should be taken “off calendar.”  No further explanation was provided.

News Coverage

Helpful Links

Local Coastal Program Amendments

Planning Commission to review Residential Design Standards proposal on May 6

Latest News
Project Overview
Why We’re Watching
Current Proposals

Minor LCP clean-up package
Major LCP clean-up package
Peninsula Point Oceanfront Encroachment Program
Accessory Dwelling Unit amendment
Setback Map adjustments
City/CCC Jurisdictional Boundary Change Request
Categorical Exclusion Order modification
Adding Newport Coast to the LCP
Port Master Plan
Balboa Village Parking Management District
Balboa Area Residential Permit Parking Program
Development standards for low-lying areas
Transfer of development rights
Residential Design Standards
Cottage preservation
Lido Isle hedge heights

Recent Events
Other Coastal Act related Watch List items
News Coverage
Helpful Links

Latest News:  The package of major LCP amendment requests authorized to be submitted to the California Coastal Commission by City Council Resolution No. 2017-56, including relaxed height restrictions, a new power for the the Community Development Director to waive the public hearing requirement for CDP applications that he deems to involve “minor” development, and the City’s request to be able to grant variances from and modifications to the development standards certified by the CCC, have now been approved with the exception of a request to weaken protections against shoreline armoring. The City Council accepted the amended language at its February 12, 2019, meeting, with final adoption on February 26 and certification by the CCC on April 11. Meanwhile, as Item 13 on its January 22, 2019, agenda, the Council accepted the revisions to its Accessory Dwelling Units policies and regulations approved by the Coastal Commission on October 12, 2018.  And on April 9 the Council approved submitting to the Coastal Commission a new amendment request to eliminate the off-street parking requirements for many businesses in Balboa Village. The City’s request to allow private encroachments onto the beach in the East Ocean Front area of Peninsula Point (near the wedge) was unanimously rejected at the Commission’s July 2019 meeting.  Meanwhile, the City is advancing several other proposals. They include allowing development rights to be transferred from one property to another, increased hedge heights on Lido Isle, relaxation of residential parking standards to encourage cottage preservation, repeal of phase-out of non-conforming signs, tightening residential massing standards and new short term lodging regulations. See the City’s LCP amendments page for Notices of Availability of the text of the many amendment proposals.

Background:  The Newport Beach Local Coastal Program sets policies and detailed rules for issuing Coastal Development Permits, which are the main mechanism for ensuring activities within the Coastal Zone of the City comply with the California Coastal Act

The LCP consists of two main parts:

  • The Newport Beach Coastal Land Use Plan, a CCC-certified general policy document last comprehensively adopted and amended by City Council Resolution No. 2009-53.
  • The Implementation Plan, a CCC-certified set of detailed regulations made part of the Newport Beach Municipal Code by City Council Ordinance No. 2016-19.
    • The certified IP, Title 21 of the NBMC, is a modified version of the original proposal submitted to the CCC by the City Council with Resolution No. 2015-99 on November 10, 2015.
    • The Council’s proposal was heard by the CCC at its September 8, 2016, meeting in Newport Beach (Item 21c).
    • The modifications suggested by the CCC on September 8 and ultimately accepted by the City Council can be seen in the report for Item 11 from the Council’s November 7, 2016, meeting.

There is also:

  • A Coastal Zone Boundary Map and a Post-LCP Certification Permit and Appeal Jurisdiction Map produced and approved by the CCC, which delineate the areas within which the CCC is the original issuer of CDP’s and the areas within which those approved by the City can be appealed to the CCC.
    • The Implementation Plan review process included minor adjustments to the City’s Coastal Zone Boundary, approved by the CCC at its April 14, 2016, meeting (Item 11a).
    • The current appeals map was approved by the CCC at its March 8, 2017, meeting (Item 21a).
  • Categorical Exclusion Order CE-5-NPB-16-1, adopted by the CCC on November 4, 2016, (Item 16a) which exempts certain kinds of residential construction in certain areas from CDP requirements.  The City has a FAQ explaining the “Cat Ex”, as well as a list of development that has been deemed eligible for it.

Changes to any of the above require approval by the CCC, and theory, notices of proposed changes to the LCP are available on the City website as required by Sections 13552(a) and 13515 of Title 14 of the California Code of Regulations (in Division 5.5, implementing the Coastal Act).

Project Overview: Effective January 30, 2017, some 45 years after passage of the voter-enacted precursor to California’s Coastal Act (1972’s Proposition 20), the City of Newport Beach finally, and for the first time, obtained a fully certified Local Coastal Program authorizing it to process and issue such permits.   But the ink was barely dry on the LCP, when it became apparent a raft of seemingly staff-generated amendments was being rushed to approval with very little public awareness.  Proposed changes to the LCP are sometimes, but not always or in any systematic way, noticed on the City’s Implementation Plan page.

Why We’re Watching:   SPON is very concerned both with the process and with the substance of the proposed amendments.  The process is especially difficult to follow since their seems to be negotiation between City and Coastal Commission staff, out of the public eye.  In addition, because the number of requests is large, trying to keep track of them, and their status, is difficult.  In all cases, if a City proposal is amended by the Coastal Commission at their hearing, possibly as a result of the private negotiations, the Council would have to agree to the CCC’s amendments or abandon the proposals.

Current Proposals:  The number of changes that have been proposed since certification of the LCP in 2017 is so large it is difficult to keep track, but the current set of City proposals and their status is believed to be as follows:

  • “Minor” LCP “clean-up” package :
    • Originally consisted of nine unrelated insertions and deletions.
    • Submitted to the CCC by City Council Resolution No. 2017-45 on July 11, 2017, after removal of a controversial staff proposal to exempt “planned communities” from the long-standing 35-foot height limitation in the “Shoreline Height Limitation Zone” from the foot of the coastal bluffs to the sea.
    • Apparently on advice of Coastal Commission staff, three of the proposals were resubmitted as “major” LCP amendments (see next item) on September 12, 2017.
    • Coastal staff placed approval of the remaining proposals as Item Th11a on the Commission’s November 9, 2017, agenda, but was granted up to a year to complete processing, including considering if more of the “minor” proposals were, in fact, “major” amendments.
    • The parts culled out for the November 2017 meeting were approved, with modified recommendations, as Item 22a at the Commission’s July 11, 2018, meeting, contingent  upon City acceptance of the changes.  The City Council introduced the ordinance making the changes at its September 25 meeting (Item 19).  The most significant change as a result of these “clean ups” is that the Community Development Director will be able to waive the public hearing requirement for CDP’s for what he deems to be “minor” development. However, anyone objecting to that decision can ask for the public hearing to be held. As a result of confusion about the CCC-recommended changes, the ordinance implement the “minor” revisions had to be reintroduced by the Council on October 23 (Item 11), and was adopted by the Council on November 13 (Item 3).  The Coastal Commission certified the adequacy of the City’s action on December 12, 2018 (Item 24c).

Note:  Because of rules governing how many LCP amendment requests can be submitted in a calendar year, the following three items that had previously been submitted to the CCC separately (“Clean-up,” “Encroachments” and “ADUs”) were resubmitted as a single “major” LCP amendment request with City Council Resolution No. 2017-56. The package was deemed complete on May 3, 2018.

Item F9a on the Coastal Commission’s June 8, 2018, agenda is a request to defer final action by up to a year on the following package of changes in order to give Coastal staff time to better evaluate the changes:

    • “Major” LCP “clean-up” package
      • Three of the items removed from the earlier “minor” clean-up package of Resolution No. 2017-45 were re-submitted as part of City Council Resolution No. 2017-56 on September 12, 2017.
      • The proposals named in the latter resolution deal with:
        • Rules regarding shoreline protective devices
        • Allowing a 75% expansion of nonconforming residential structures
        • Establishing rules for deviations from the development standards via variances and modifications
      • This package of proposals was approved, with modifications, by the Coastal Commission as Item 24b when it met in Newport Beach on December 12, 2018
      • As Item 15 at its February 12, 2019, meeting, the City Council adopted a resolution modifying the Coastal Land Use Plan as approved by the CCC and introduced an ordinance accepting and incorporating the Implementation Plan changes.
      • Final adoption occurred as Item 5 on the February 26 consent calendar.
      • The Coastal Commission certified the changes on April 11.

    • Peninsula Point Oceanfront Encroachment Program

      • This is a proposal to allow the yards of private homes abutting the beach from Balboa Village to the Wedge to legally encroach out onto the beach, similar to what is currently allowed in West Newport.
      • The proposal was formally submitted to the Coastal Commission by City Council Resolution No. 2017-50 on July 25, 2017, and then resubmitted as part of Resolution No. 2017-56 on September 12, 2017.
      • This request was considered as Item 26a at the Coastal Commission’s July 10, 2019, meeting in San Luis Obispo, where it was unanimously rejected.
      • Instead, the City will need to see the existing encroachments are removed.

    • Accessory Dwelling Unit amendment

      • This is a proposal to amend the LCP Implementation to align with changes recently made to corresponding sections of the Zoning Code in response to a new state law.
      • The proposal was formally submitted to the Coastal Commission by City Council Resolution No. 2017-51 on July 25, 2017, and then resubmitted as part of Resolution No. 2017-56 on September 12, 2017.
      • This request was scheduled for consideration as Item 15b on October 12, 2018, CCC agenda
      • While the original request was pending, additional changes were made to state law, and so on September 11, 2018, as part of Item 12, the City Council adopted Resolution No. 2018-65, authorizing City staff to submit further changes to the ADU regulations in the LCP.  However, those changes were intended to mirror ones being made to the City Zoning Code by Ordinance No. 2018-14, and when that ordinance was presented for second reading on September 25, staff recommended not adopting it until further review could be completed.  Since it may not match the changes to the Zoning Code, one might guess the new request to the CCC has been “recalled.”
      • When the CCC staff report for October 12, 2018 (Item 15b), was posted, it magically included most of the changes proposed by Council Resolution No. 2018-65 (without acknowledging those had been formally submitted).  That hybrid amendment (which may or may not agree with the City’s final Zoning Code changes) was approved by the CCC and is awaiting acceptance by the City Council.
      • The Council accepted the modified policies and recommendations as Item 13 on its January 22, 2019, agenda, with final adoption of February 12. The Coastal Commission certified the amendments on April 11.

  • Setback Map adjustments :
    • On a separate track from the other “minor” amendments to the LCP, the City has pending a request to correct what it regards as “errors” in the setback maps that are included as exhibits in the LCP-IP.  This mirrors corrections previously made to the identical maps in the Zoning Code, and will affect eight inland parcels on Lido Isle.
    • Per the CCC staff report, the origin of the item is as follows: “On July 6, 2017, the Newport Beach Planning Commission conducted a public hearing and adopted Planning Commission Resolution No. 2062. The Newport Beach City Council held a public hearing on September 12, 2017 [Item 23] and passed City Council Resolution No. 2017-59 authorizing City staff to submit the LCP amendment to the Coastal Commission for certification. “
    • The request was heard and approved by the Coastal Commission on September 14, 2018.

Additional requests from the City submitted to the CCC:

  • City/CCC Jurisdictional Boundary Change Request
      • According to an email from Newport Beach Planning Manager Patrick Alford, the City has asked the Coastal Commission’s mapping unit to redraw the appeal boundary to move five properties from Coastal Commission permit jurisdiction to City jurisdiction.  That is, to allow the City to approve permits for development on those properties, subject to appeal to the Coastal Commission.
        • See what appears to the CCC’s official “Post LCP Certification Permit and Appeal Jurisdiction” map on the LCP Address Lookup & Maps page.
        • The City’s understanding of the boundary locations can be seen more clearly using, under “Layers,” the “Community Development Layers“…”Local Coast Program“…”Permit and Appeal Jurisdiction” options in its zoomable online GIS Map Viewer.  The areas of original CCC jurisdiction are those in the hatched “Permit Jurisdiction Area,” seaward of the shaded “Appeal Jurisdiction” area (where City approvals can be appealed to the CCC).
          • The City’s mapping of tidelands can be found under “Public Works Layers“…”Harbor Resources Layers“…”Tidelands Survey“.
      • The five properties the City asked to take jurisdiction over were the Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Balboa Bay Club, Sea Scout Base, OC Harbor Patrol/USCG station and Newport Aquatic Center.
        • It is unclear when or if this request was authorized by the City Council or how it was noticed to the public.
        • In its original proposal for the Implementation Program, submitted to the CCC with Resolution No. 2015-99, the City had offered its own understanding of the appeals map, as shown on pages 472, 473 and 474, as well as a map of its Public Trust Lands, on page 476.  Those maps did not appear to include the presently requested exclusions.
      • The Coastal Commission was scheduled to hear the request as Item 10a on its Friday May 11, 2018, agenda.  According to the agenda, such changes can be allowed “pursuant to Coastal Act Section 30613.”  Ultimately, the item was postponed without a staff report being posted.
      • The request reappeared, with full staff report and supporting documentation, as Item 23a on the Commission’s  July 11 agenda.
        • CCC staff recommended approving the Sea Scout Base request, rejecting the Aquatic Center request and retaining control of the sandy beaches at the Balboa Bay Club, the Coast Guard/Harbor Patrol Station and the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.
        • The Coastal Commission rejected pleas from the City’s lobbyist to take control of the beaches, and approved the transfers of jurisdiction as recommended by their staff.
        • However, the Commission appears to have ceded permitting authority for the bulkheads to the City. A later “clarification” from CCC staff indicates the Commission transferred jurisdiction over the “land” to the seaward edge of bulkheads, but not to the bulkheads themselves (since they are subject to wave action).

  • Categorical Exclusion Order modification
    • Item 6 on the City Council’s May 8 Consent Calendar was an unexpected request to amend the City’s “Categorical Exclusion Order.”
    • The proposed amendment (the details of which were, curiously, not shown) would exempt homes with floor area ratios of 2 on lots of 4,000 square feet and less from the need to apply for a Coastal Development Permit.  The current limit for such homes is 1.5.
    • The matter had not previously been discussed.
    • The change was unanimously approved as part of the CCC’s August 10, 2018, agenda, where it was Item F21a, and accepted by the City Council at their September 11, 2018, meeting.

  • Adding Newport Coast to the LCP
    • The Coastal Zone portion of Newport Coast has its own LCP, created by the County of Orange prior to that area’s annexation by the City and still administered by them.
    • As Item 12 on its July 25, 2017, agenda, the City Council directed City staff to begin work on adding Newport Coast to the City’s LCP.
    • The proposal is still a City staff level effort and nothing has been formally presented to the CCC.
    • This could prove very problematic considering the large quantity of unbuilt allocations. According to the July 25 staff report, that includes 182 homes, 1,046 hotel rooms and 75,933 square feet of commercial development.
    • SPON is, therefore, watching with concern.

  • Port Master Plan
    • One of the City’s most recent efforts (but currently on “pause,” or abandoned altogether) was (without CCC concurrence or involvement) to promote legislation amending the Coastal Act to give the City the authority to create a Port Master Plan, described by the City as “an LCP for the water.”
    • This would purportedly allow the City to approve permits for construction and activities in the water areas of the harbor, which all currently require approval by the Coastal Commission.
    • Details remain sketchy, but if this ever happened, it would presumably require changes to the LCP to incorporate the Port Master Plan.

  • Balboa Village Parking Management Overlay District
    • This is a proposal to remove most of the requirement for businesses in Balboa Village to provide off-street parking
    • In 2015, with Ordinance No. 2014-20, the City Council made changes to the Zoning Code (Newport Beach Municipal Code Title 20) creating the overlay district.
    • However, and despite the City apparently not thinking such action needed Coastal Commission approval, the City was at that time negotiating its LCP Implementation Plan, which generally shadows the Zoning Code, and the Coastal Commission deleted the corresponding language from it (see CCC suggested modifications, as presented at the special November 7, 2016, City Council meeting).
    • A major Coastal Act concern is that marine-related and visitor-attracting businesses appear to be treated less favorably than others.
    • Pursuant to Section 21.28.030.D of the IP, creation of the parking overlay district will require an amendment to the IP.
    • Although we believe City staff has been in contact with CCC staff about this, we have been unable to find a Council resolution authorizing submission of a formal request to the Coastal Commission.
    • On December 20, 2018, City staff posted an announcement that on February 12, 2019, it will be asking the City Council for permission to submit to the Coastal Commission a request to add language to the Local Coastal Program creating the Balboa Village Parking Management Overlay District.  The proposed language appears to be identical to that added to the Zoning Code in 2015 and rejected by the Coastal Commission in 2016.
    • The City re-noticed the matter for a hearing before the Planning Commission on February 21, 2019, and on April 9, 2019 the City Council approved submitting the amendments to the Coastal Commission.
    • This matter was listed for hearing as Item 10b on the Coastal Commission’s agenda for August 13, 2020, but later marked as “postponed.”

  • Balboa Area Residential Permit Parking Program
    • Closely related to the Balboa Village Parking Management District request, this is a proposal to initiate a residents-only parking program (or “RP3“) in the area west of Balboa Village to cope with the increased demand expected from the Parking Management District.
    • Prior to having a certified LCP, and the local permit approval authority that goes with it, the City Council, pursuant to Item 14 at the Council’s October 27, 2015, meeting, directed City staff to file an application for a permit parking Coastal Development Permit with the Coastal Commission, but the application seems never to have gone anywhere.
    • Now that the City has a fully certified LCP, it claims it can, consistent with the LCP, approve the CDP itself — although it believes that approval would likely be appealed to the Coastal Commission.
      • Coastal Commission staff appears to disagree with this, and believes the creation of new Preferential Parking Zones anywhere within the City’s Coastal Zone would first require an amendment to the LCP, which would have to be approved by the CCC.
      • Indeed, City-proposed language that would have allowed approval of CDP’s for PPZ’s was not included in the certified LCP (see the CCC modifications as presented and accepted by the Council at a special November 7, 2016, meeting).
      • See also page 12 of the CCC staff report regarding their Post LCP Certification Permit and Appeal Jurisdiction Map, Item W21a at the CCC’s March 8, 2017, meeting, in which the CCC acceded to allowing parts of the interiors of Balboa and Lido Islands to be placed outside the CCC appeal area based, in part, on their understanding that restrictive parking programs could not be created there without an amendment to the LCP.
    • Before considering approving a CDP on its own, City staff attempted to re-assess residents’ interest in the program at a community meeting held at Marina Park on May 7, 2018.  Based on the mixed results obtained there (mostly against the proposal), City staff promised to conduct a new mailed survey.
    • Based on the new survey (which showed close to 50% opposition), and the likelihood of appeal and rejection by the CCC, City staff announced that its plans to establish an “RP3” have been permanently shelved.

  • Development standards for low-lying areas
    • The tentative agenda provided to the Planning Commission at its January 31, 2019, meeting indicated that at its February 26 meeting the City Council will be presented with a proposal to initiate LCP and Zoning Code amendments creating new development standards for “parking and accessory structures in low lying areas.”
    • This appears to be a follow-up to the sea level rise and flood adaptation concerns presented to the Council at its January 22, 2019, study session (see next to last slide of Item SS4 PowerPoint presentation).
    • The staff work necessary to prepare the amendment was unanimously initiated by the City Council as part of agenda Item 16 on March 26, 2019.

  • Transfer of development rights
    • On August 8, 2019, notice was posted that City staff is proposing amending the LCP “to include a policy and regulations pertaining to the transfer of development rights in a manner consistent with and allowed by the Newport Beach General Plan.”
    • See the Notice of Availability for the details of the proposed new language.
    • This appears to be intended to allow the City Council to modify the CCC-approved land use plan without CCC oversight other than through the Coastal Development Permit appeal process, which is available in only a limited portion of the Coastal Zone.
    • At an August 22 hearing, the Planning Commission recommended the City Council submit the proposal to the City Council. See the Item 5 staff report and PowerPoint.
    • The City Council approved submitting the proposal to the Coastal Commission by adopting Resolution No. 2019-90 on October 8 (see Item 12).
    • As Item 13b at the Coastal Commission’s Thursday, December 12, 2019, the City agreed to a one-year extension of the time for the Commission to act on the request.

  • Residential Design Standards
  •  Note: City staff has posted a web page devoted to this matter
    • After holding a study session (Item SS5) on April 23, 2019, the City Council formally directed staff to prepare code language addressing Residential Massing and Beach Cottage Preservation (Item 4 on May 14), initiating  planning activity PA019-070.
    • On August 19, 2019, a community meeting was held to gather feedback on possible proposals (see flyer).
    • As a result of that, possible amendments regarding Cottage Preservation seem to have split off onto a separate track from those dealing with residential massing and development of single-family homes in multi-family zones.
    • On September 10, 2019, the City Council held a follow-up study session on this part only (see Item SS5).
    • On December 17, 2019, Planning staff posted revised language for consideration (including both Zoning Code and LCP amendments), but the final Notice of Availability was not posted until April 23, 2020. The delay was necessitated, in part, by California Senate Bill 330 (the “Housing Crisis Act”), which went into effect on January 1 and prohibited cities from “downzoning” or imposing subjective design standards on residential properties through 2025.
    • The matter has been scheduled for review by the Planning Commission as Item 2 on May  6, 2020. They will be making a recommendation to the City Council.

  • Cottage preservation
    • This was originally bundled with the Residential Design Standards items described above, but morphed into a separate planning activity PA2019-181.
    • See the Notice of Availability for the original details of the proposed new language dealing with cottage preservation.
    • The proposal was presented to the Planning Commission on October 17 (Item 4) and again on November 21 (Item 4), where still more changes were proposed.
    • The Planning Commission recommended language (different from the original notice) which went to the City Council as  Item 16 on January 28, 2020, and was subsequently adopted.
    • Its applicability to development in the Coastal Zone is pending certification (with possible modifications) by the Coastal Commission.

  • Lido Isle hedge heights
    • On September 10, 2019, as Item 5,  the City Council directed staff to prepare code language addressing a hedge height issue on Lido Isle, initiating  planning activity PA019-132
    • See the Notice of Availability for the details of the proposed language. It would increase the allowable height of hedges along the “strada” (public walkways separating the rear sides of some houses) from the normal citywide standard of 42″ to the Lido Isle Community Association’s preferred 60″.
    • The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to review City staff’s proposed language on December 5.
    • The Planning Commission’s recommendation is tentatively scheduled to go to the City Council on February 11, 2020, where they will consider submitting it (with possible modifications) to the Coastal Commission.


  • January 23, 2020:  The Planning Commission is tentatively scheduled to review City staff’s proposal for modifications to the Residential Design Standards.
  • January 28, 2020: The City Council is expected to hear the Cottage preservation proposal recommended to it by the Planning Commission on November 21, 2019.
  • February 11, 2020:  The Planning Commission is expected to review City staff’s proposal for Lido Isle hedge heights.
  • At a date yet to be determined, the Coastal Commission is expected to hear the City’s request to create a Balboa Village Parking Management Overlay District and other proposals described above.

Recent Events:

  • December 12, 2019:  As Item 13b on its agenda, the Coastal Commission delayed by up to one year its hearing on the City’s  “transfer of development rights” LCP amendment request.
  • November 21, 2019: Again as Item 4, the Planning Commission heard a modified Cottage preservation proposal, and voted to recommend its consideration to the City Council.
  • October 17, 2019:  As Item 4, the Planning Commission heard staff’s Cottage preservation proposal, and suggested changes to it.
  • October 8, 2019:  The City Council approved submitting a request to the Coastal Commission to add “transfer of development rights” provisions to the LCP. See notice.
  • September 10, 2019: As Item 5,  the City Council directed staff to prepare code language addressing Lido Isle hedge heights.
  • August 22, 2019:  The Newport Beach Planning Commission heard the proposal to add “transfer of development rights” provisions to the LCP and recommended the City Council submit it to the Coastal Commission.
  • August 19, 2019: A community meeting was held to gather feedback on possible amendments addressing Residential Design Standards and Cottage preservation.
  • July 10, 2019: As Item 26a on its agenda in San Luis Obispo, the Coastal Commission considered, and rejected, the City’s request to amend its Local Coastal Program to allow homeowners along Peninsula Point to extend their private landscaping and yard improvements up to 15 feet out onto the private beach.  Instead, the City will be facing an order to remove the existing encroachments.
  • May 14, 2019:  As Item 4 on its agenda, the Council directed staff to prepare code amendments addressing Residential Design Standards and Cottage preservation.
  • April 23, 2019: The Council held a study session (Item SS5) to consider changes to regulations regarding Residential Massing and Beach Cottage Preservation.
  • April 10, 2019Meeting in Salinas, the Coastal Commission accepted the City’s implementation of two previously-approved matters:  Item 16.1a confirmed the Council’s February 12, 2019, LCP amendment adding new regulations for Accessory Dwelling Units.   Item 16.1b confirmed the Council’s February 12 and 26, 2019, amendments that add exceptions to the Shoreline Height Limit and include a new provision allowing for modifications and variances and allow additions to nonconforming structures.
  • April 9, 2019:  As Item 13 on its agenda,  the City Council directed staff to submit to the Coastal Commission a proposal for amendments to the Local Coastal Program Implementation Plan to create a Balboa Village Parking Management Overlay District, exempting most businesses in Balboa Village from the requirement to provide off-street parking (see notice).
  • March 26, 2019:   As part of agenda Item 16, the City Council directed staff  to ask the City Council to prepare revisions to the LCP and Zoning Code amendments to create new development standards for low-lying areas subject to flood hazards.
  • February 26, 2019:  As Item 5 on the consent calendar, the City Council  adopted the ordinance introduced on February 12, incorporating CCC-approved major amendments into the City’s Implementation Plan.
  • February 21, 2019:  The Planning Commission approved a resolution recommending the City Council approve staff’s request to ask the CCC to amend the LCP to create a Balboa Village Parking Management Overlay District, eliminating the need for most businesses in that area to provide off-street parking.
    • note:  A previous City announcement, indicated this would be going directly to the City Council on February 12.  Both state law and the existing Implementation Plan require the matter first be reviewed by the City’s Planning Commission.
  • February 12, 2019: As Item 15 at its February 12, 2019, meeting, the City Council adopted a resolution modifying the Coastal Land Use Plan as approved by the CCC on December 12 and introduced an ordinance accepting and making the CCC-approved major amendments to the Implementation Plan.  Final adoption of the ordinance is expected on February 26.
  • January 22, 2019:  As Item 13 on its agenda, the Council introduced ordinances to enact the modified policies and regulations regarding Accessory Dwelling Units approved by the CCC on October 12, 2018, and to make corresponding changes to the local Zoning Code.
  • December 20, 2018:  City staff posts an announcement that on February 12, 2019, it will be asking the City Council for permission to submit to the Coastal Commission a request to add language to the Local Coastal Program creating a Balboa Village Parking Management Overlay District (something that is already in the City’s Zoning Code, but not in its certified LCP Implementation Plan).
  • December 13, 2018:   Although not directly an LCP amendment request by the City, on December 13, while the CCC was meeting in the Council Chambers, the City’s Zoning Administrator approved a Coastal Development Permit establishing a permit parking system for residents of the “Finley Tract” (across Newport Blvd. from the old City Hall site and Lido Village).  Such a CDP approval by the City flies in the face of the CCC’s understanding that such restricted parking zones cannot be established without an amendment to the LCP (see discussion of the since-shelved Balboa Area Residential Permit Parking Program, above).
  • December 12, 2018:  The California Coastal Commission held its three-day monthly meeting in the Newport Beach City Council Chambers.  Item 24b on the Wednesday agenda was consideration of “major” requested amendments to the City’s Local Coastal Program.  See staff report and exhibits, supplemented by correspondence and an addendum.  The amendments, as modified by Coastal Commission staff, were approved, with three Commissioners voting “no.”  As Item 24c, the Commission certified the City’s implementation of the “minor” revisions adopted by the Council on November 13.
  • November 13, 2018: The City Council adopted the ordinance accepting the “minor” changes to the LCP approved by the CCC on July 11.  Final action required is the CCC Director’s determination that the City’s approval matched the CCC’s
  • October 23, 2018: The City Council introduce an ordinance accepting the “minor” changes to the LCP approved by the CCC on July 11.  This had been planned for October 9, but was rescheduled.
  • October 12, 2018:  Coastal Commission approved modified regulations regarding Accessory Dwelling Units at its meeting in San Diego.  Those now have to be accepted by the City.
  • October 9, 2018:  The City Council was scheduled to introduce the ordinance accepting the “minor” LCP amendments approved by the CCC at their July 11 meeting in Scotts Valley.  However, the version transmitted to the City by CCC staff did not match the version approved on July 11.  As a result, Council action was rescheduled for October 23.
  • September 25, 2018:  The City Council accepted the CCC’s approval of its requests for “minor” amendments to the LCP as granted at the CCC’s July 11 meeting.
  • September 14, 2018: As Item 7.1 on its agenda, the Coastal Commission approved a City request to correct “errors” in the setback maps that are part of the LCP.  This was regarded as a “minor amendment,” and affected eight inland parcels on Lido Isle.
  • September 11, 2018:  The City Council accepted the modified Categorical Exclusion Order (see August 10, 2018, below), and adopted resolution requesting additional changes to the regulations in the LCP regarding accessory dwelling units.
  • August 10, 2018:  In the interest of “governmental efficiency,” the Coastal Commission unanimously approved the City’s request to expand its Categorical Exclusion Order.  This was Item F21a on the agenda.
  • July 11, 2018:  Most of the “Minor LCP Clean-up” package first considered on November 9, 2017 (but now billed as “Major”), as well as the boundary change request (previously noticed for May 11, 2018), were heard and approved (with CCC staff modifications) on the Coastal Commission’s  July 11 agenda as Items 22a and 23a.
  • June 8, 2018: As Item F9a on its agenda, the Coastal Commission granted its staff an up-to-one-year extension of time to review the City’s package of “major” LCP amendment requests.  The City’s “coastal advocate,” Don Schmitz, spoke on the item, and told the Commission the City had been promised that despite the extension, the parts of its “major amendments” package other than the Peninsula Point beachfront encroachments would be ready for action at the August meeting.
  • May 11, 2018:  As Item 10a on its Friday May 11 agenda, the Coastal Commission was scheduled to hear the “City/CCC Jurisdictional Boundary Change Request” (see “Why We’re Watching,” above), but the item has been postponed.
  • May 8, 2018Item 6, approved on the May 8 City Council Consent Calendar, was an unexpected request to amend the City’s “Categorical Exclusion Order.”  The proposed amendment (the details of which were, curiously, not shown) would exempt homes with floor area ratios of 2 on lots of 4,000 square feet and less from the need to apply for a Coastal Development Permit.  The current limit for such homes is 1.5.  The matter had not previously been discussed.  The change would have to be approved by the CCC.
  • May 7, 2018:  At 6:00 p.m. at Marina Park, City staff held a community meeting to reassess interest in establishing a Residential Permit Parking Program for the area west of Balboa Village (a CDP application having been formerly submitted to the CCC per Item 14 at the Council’s October 27, 2015, meeting, but never completed).  With many attendees opposed to the proposal, promises were made to conduct a new “stakeholder” survey.  Should the City choose to go ahead with the “RP3,” it says it could now issue its own CDP, but its approval would likely be appealed to the CCC.  CCC staff appears to believe a CCC-approved amendment to the certified Implementation Plan would be necessary before any CDP for a new parking program could be approved.
  • November 9, 2017:  The California Coastal Commission granted staff a continuance of up to a year to further consider the package of “minor” LCP amendments submitted by the City.  Much less time than that is expected, but a rehearing date has not yet been set. To recap, the Coastal Commission announced that as Item Th11a at its hearing in Bodega Bay on November 9, the Commission would be reviewing their Executive Director’s declaration of the “minor” portions of the City’s July 11, 2017, submittal — which would, in the absence of objection by the Commission, be deemed approved. However, Coastal staff has asked for the entire matter to be taken temporarily off calendar, and nothing has yet been approved.
    • An exhibit to the CCC’s November 9 staff report showed the City’s Resolution No. 2017-45 with the parts deemed “not minor” by CCC staff crossed out. However, of the parts being deemed “minor,” proposed Amendment #2 would create relaxed development standards for a Lido Villas Planned Community, and Amendment #12 would eliminate the need for public hearing on many Coastal Development Permits.
    • The crossed out parts include all the worrisome language the City proposed on July 11 changing the height limit rules. Since that language is not in the September 12 repackaging and consolidation of “major” amendments, it appears the City is not pursuing a relaxation of the height limits, at least for the moment.
    • For those having trouble accessing the November 9 CCC files, they consist of a report, an exhibit (the City requests) and an addendum (asking for the continuation to a later meeting).
  • September 12, 2017:  Staff returned to the Council with a report that the City was in danger of exceeding the number of major amendments to the LCP allowed in a single calendar year.  The CCC’s rule apparently allows multiple major amendments if they are part of a single submittal.  As a result, in Item 3 on the consent calendar, City staff asked the Council to adopt Resolution No. 2017-56, which combined in a single submittal the Oceanfront Encroachment and Accessory Dwelling Unit proposals from July 25 with three proposals from July 11 that the CCC had deemed “major” (regarding shoreline protective devices, allowing a 75% expansion of nonconforming residential structures, and establishing rules for deviations from the development standards via variances and modifications).
    • The staff report did not identify which portions of the July 11 proposal had been deemed “minor,” requiring only the CCC Director’s approval.  However, Resolution No. 2017-56 submits none of the language creating new exceptions to the City’s building height limits, suggesting that request has been dropped.
    • In addition, the status remains unclear for a Parking Management District in Balboa Village (removing any requirement for businesses to provide off-street parking), which seems to have not been formally submitted at all.
  • July 25, 2017: Three items proposing changes to the LCP appeared on the City Council agenda:
    • As Item 18, the Council adopted Resolution No. 2017-50, submitting to the CCC a proposed amendment to the LCP to allow beach encroachments in the Peninsula Point area.
    • As part of Item 19, Resolution No. 2017-51 submitted an amendment allowing Accessory Dwelling Units.
    • As Item 12 on the consent calendar, the Council agreed to “Initiate amendments to the City’s certified Local Coastal Program and the Newport Coast Planned Community Development Plan to incorporate Newport Coast into the City’s certified Local Coastal Program. ”  Little more is known of this latter proposal, as it does not appear to have been the subject of any other public discussion.
  • July 11, 2017:  As Item 10 at its evening meeting, the City Council heard the  “clean-up” portion of the proposed LCP amendments, including a provision that would have exempted planned communities from the City’s longstanding height limits, even in the so-called 35′ Shoreline Height Limit Area.  The Council questioned that proposal and asked staff to come back with a revised “clean-up” eliminating that proposal.  The matter did not come back, but the resulting Resolution No. 2017-45, as signed by the Mayor, differed from the one presented to the Council in the Item 10 staff report by having the planned community exception removed.
  • May 18, 2017:  At the Corona del Mar Residents Association‘s monthly meeting, the City’s Community Development Director, Kimberly Brandt, and Deputy Director, Brenda Wisneski, gave a presentation entitled “Local Coastal Plan Amendments (Shoreline Properties) & future General Plan Update Project” (see the agenda).   Regarding the LCP Amendments, Ms. Wisneski indicated that despite the Newport Beach Planning Commission’s action on May 4 (recommending Council approve the flawed amendment package exactly as presented by staff), instead of sending the proposal directly to the City Council, City staff is working with the Coastal Commission staff in Long Beach to figure out what might actually fly (before it becomes effective, whatever amendments the Council approves have to be certified by the Coastal Commission, which looks to their own staff to spot problems with them).  She anticipated this process might take several months, but did not explain exactly what would happen at the end of it.  That is, would a revised set of amendments be brought back to the Planning Commission for public re-consideration?  Or (as happened with the original LCP) would the Council adopt City staff’s (flawed) package, but with a forewarning (based on the staff discussions) of what parts the Coastal Commission would likely change or reject?  Apparently time will tell.
  • May 4, 2017:  The amendments were re-noticed for a hearing before the Planning Commission as Item 3 on May 4.  At that hearing, it seemed apparent most of the Commissioners either had not reviewed the item in advance of the meeting, or were not interested in it.  Despite the many flaws pointed out to them (see above under “Why We’re Watching”), on a 5:1 vote (with Commissioner Lawler absent and Commissioner Weigand voting “no”) the Commission, without any substantive comment or any revisions at all, recommended the Council approve all the amendments as submitted.
    • As presented to the Planning Commission the amendment package consisted of three (or eleven, depending on how one counts) completely unrelated items:
      • a Balboa Village Parking Management District plan (eliminating off-street parking requirements for most businesses in that area)
      • an East Oceanfront Encroachment Program (allowing private improvements on the first 15 feet of the public beach in front of most ocean-facing homes in Peninsula Point from E Street to the Wedge)
      • a “Implementation Plan Clean-up” package (itself consisting of nine unrelated insertions and changes to the Coastal Land Use Plan and the Implementation Plan)
    • Whatever one may think of the merits of staff’s proposals, the proposals themselves are deeply flawed:
      • As indicated in a SPON letter, the Parking Management plan prioritizes resident-serving commercial uses over marine-related ones, in contradiction of Coastal Act policies.
      • The Encroachment Program introduces new regulations into the Implementation Plan that permit development in areas where it is explicitly prohibited by the governing Land Use Plan.
      • The “Clean-up,” among other contradictions, deletes the Coastal Commission approved  Land Use Plan policy exceptions that allowed the Lido House Hotel (being built at the old City Hall site) to rise to 65 feet in a 35-foot height limitation zone, but retains the Implementation Plan regulations allowing such excess heights (now without explanation or justification).
    • On a separate track, City staff proposed amending both the Zoning Code and the LCP to accommodate what they say are changes required by new state laws in the City’s rules for “Accessory Dwelling Units” (small rental units) in single-family neighborhoods.  This was heard as Item 2 at the Planning Commission’s May 4,  2017, meeting. The Commission showed more interest in this than the other amendments, and voted to continue the item until they had more time to study it.
  • April 11, 2017:  With little to no prior public awareness, action by the Council on the LCP amendments was scheduled for a public hearing as Item 18 on the April 11 agenda.  As a result of reminders from the public that Council action was not legally allowed without a Planning Commission recommendation (as required by Table 21.50-1 in the newly certified Implementation Plan), the item was withdrawn.

Other Coastal Act related Watch List items
The following items on the SPON Watch List are claimed to be consistent with the currently certified Local Coastal Program, but they need Coastal Development permits and potentially raise Coastal Act consistency issues:

  • 2607 Ocean Blvd – appeal of City’s approval of a CDP for expansion of bluff face residence at China Cove in Corona del Mar
  • Balboa Theater –  proposal to remodel the theater to heights inconsistent with the LCP using a likely expired CDP approved prior to certification of the LCP
  • Newport Dunes Hotel – request for City approval of a 270 room hotel on County tidelands — if approved by the City, it will need a CDP from the Coastal Commission
  • Newport Village – proposal to redevelop large parcels along Mariners Mile, adding residences and retail
  • Tennis Club (Newport Center) – recently approved request for CDP for a previously-approved resort proposal exceeding Greenlight development limits
  • Port Master Plan – hopefully dead plan to avoid state oversight by winning CCC pre-approval of City actions with regard to development in the harbor tidelands

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