Newport Beach

Letters to the Editor

Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile is pro-development, we just want the right projects

The Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile is “pro-development” and continues to support projects that are compatible with the abutting communities of Newport Heights, Bayshores, Cliff Haven and Lido Isle. We envision transforming Mariner’s Mile into a thriving economically productive destination where residents and visitors can work, play, dine and shop in a relaxing and friendly environment. 

The health, safety, welfare and livability of the community are the primary importance to the residents of Newport Beach. We envision a “walkable” family-friendly corridor that serves a purpose for everyone. We believe that we are better off if our decisions about our future revolve not around the car, but around the human being.

We will continue to promote slowing traffic, enhancing safety, widening sidewalks and bike lanes, while implementing a variety of changes that encourage pedestrian activity with the overall connectivity of future developments along Mariner’s Mile. 

The 2510 W. Pacific Coast Highway Project that was originally presented to the City Council would take advantage of the State’s density bonus laws, while forfeiting the foundation of the City’s 2006 General Plan and Newport’s current municipal codes. 

Both Mr. Bob Olson (Lido House) and Mr. Rick Caruso (Palisades Village), have been able to create a vision and deliver a quality product, and we believe development along Mariner’s Mile can follow suit.

Our guiding principle continues to be to Enhance Our Community’s Quality of Life and Do No Harm. The 2510 W. PCH Project, in its current state, unfortunately creates more harm than good. 

The City Council hearing for this project is currently scheduled for July 27 at the City Hall. We encourage ALL concerned residents to come and let your voices be heard.

Sue Leal

Newport Heights

Buck Johns’ demands could lead to OC Grand Jury actions

Thank you for Sara Hall’s comprehensive article about Buck Johns’ continuing quest to buy and control park land in the Back Bay.

Your readers might be interested to know that the narrative that the land was taken from Mr. Johns by eminent domain is completely fictional. The land in question was sold to the Irvine Company prior to Mr. Johns’ purchase of the adjacent property in 1977 and was subsequently donated to the county as a park in a so-called “irrevocable dedication” in 1990.

There is a fence encircling the property that completely closes out public use of the land and Mr. Johns is fighting hard to keep this illegal fence in place to maintain control of the land. The letter from his lawyer demanding this right is legally ridiculous but gave the county an opportunity to grant a politically influential Republican his wish. 

This is special privilege, otherwise known as political corruption, at its most flagrant. None of us would be given the opportunity to purchase 1/3 acre of bay view property for $13,000. No one without insider connections would be allowed to fence in county land for their private use.   

I will be submitting a complaint about this whole sordid episode to the OC Grand Jury in the hope that an ethical higher authority can right this wrong and I sincerely hope that county officials will be held responsible for their actions.

Susan Skinner MD

Newport Beach

City needs to work together to find common consensus on 2510 W. Coast Highway

The future of Mariner’s Mile will be determined within the framework of the interaction of the impossible State affordable housing requirements (between) the developers, City staff, Planning Commission, City Council, Caltrans, business and property owners, local merchants and residents. 

Our community is stronger together, especially when stakeholders, developers and the City work together to support each other based upon a common consensus, understanding and purpose.

Working separately and apart, the result will be high-density development along a high-speed crosstown freeway that nobody truly wants. Community stakeholders are asking the City to lay out all the Mariner’s Mile proposed infrastructure and pending development projects together so we can study and understand how everything ties together. 

As elected representatives, the City Council has the responsibility to independently assess the facts before significant investments are made by developers, the City and the Newport Beach community.

The City Council and City Attorney must push back on all development projects using Affordable Housing Laws that are inconsistent with both the City of Newport Beach’s zoning ordinance and general plan land use designation as specified in any element of the general plan as it existed on the date the specific application is deemed complete.

On April 30, 2021, I sent the enclosed email to the City Council in the hope the Council would act to facilitate a win-win environment and outcome where the City, developer and community stakeholders work together with the common purpose to enhance our community’s quality of life, safety, health and welfare. 

During this City Council hearing, the Coalition to Protect Mariner’s Mile asked the City Council to sponsor a community outreach workshop to build a community-wide consensus prior to any decision on 2510 West Coast Highway. The purpose of the workshop would be for the City to explain land use controls, staff’s findings and recommendations, and to answer questions from the public.

The presentation must include (1) the detail bases of the City’s determination and justification for the project’s Coastal Development Permit, and (2) the details of any finding that supports a recommendation to approve where the development project is inconsistent with both the City of Newport Beach’s zoning ordinance and general plan land use designation, as specified in any element of the general plan as it existed on the date the specific application is deemed complete.

An unusually large number of correspondence (was) sent to the City Council prior to the April 27th City Council review and the presentations by community stakeholders during the hearing were overwhelmingly against the proposed 2510 West Coast Highway Development Project’s high density, enormous, oversized structure for the lot, and the incompatibility of the design and configuration. At the meeting, other than the developer’s team, not a single comment was in favor of the proposed development.

Unfortunately, since April 27th not a single step has been taken to build a community consensus. While the developer has redesigned the outward appearance of the building, the essential character, size and high density of the project with its potential adverse impact upon the surrounding communities remain. 

To illustrate, community issues and concerns yet to be addressed:

–Scenic corridor views along Mariner’s Mile cannot be taken for granted. At the hearing the community asked for story poles to be erected for all to assess whether the project will forever block resident and tourist scenic coastal corridor views from parks and the Newport Bay. 

–An indispensable general plan goal is to enhance vitality for residents and visitors, yet traffic conflicts among vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians continue to plague traveling conditions along the Mariner’s Mile portion of Orange County’s Pacific Coast Highway according to a published transportation study. Serious life-threatening and life-ending accidents on West Coast Highway along Mariner’s Mile are increasing and effective traffic calming measures are required. 

–A traffic safety and circulation analysis of the impact of the project upon the surrounding communities of Newport Heights, Cliff Haven, Bayshores and Lido Island that includes safeguards for children traveling on bicycles to various activities such as schools, junior lifeguards and sea scouts.

2510 West Coast Highway sets a precedent for the design, character, size and density of future projects being proposed along Mariner’s Mile. Until material facts are disclosed to community stakeholders in a City Council-sponsored community outreach workshop that includes the criteria used and underlying details showing compliance with governing laws and regulations in support of the City staff’s findings and recommendations, the City Council cannot make an informed decision whether to approve or disapprove the project.

Patrick Gormley 

Newport Beach


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