Letters to the Editor

Widening PCH will be a major step in the wrong direction for Mariner’s Mile

As a resident of Corona del Mar in Newport Beach, I can appreciate the desire of the Mariner’s Mile Neighborhood to have a similar “village type” atmosphere to the one that we have. However, it was brought to my attention by a friend of mine who lives in the Heights, that along with attempting to establish that atmosphere, the City is considering widening PCH in Mariner’s to a six-lane highway. This would have the effect of establishing the opposite of a village atmosphere.

Corona del Mar has been successful because the highway through the area is narrow and despite traffic problems, particularly at certain times of the day, people can leisurely move around the neighborhood, and can cross PCH quite easily. The businesses are small in stature and align both sides of the highway in a very consistent pattern, creating a very small town atmosphere.

I understand that there are other problems concerning the proposed development for the Mariner’s Mile neighborhood, including fast-moving traffic (which would become worse if the highway is widened), large view-blocking buildings situated next to very small ones and styles of architecture that do not reflect a “beach” atmosphere.

Other than CdM, there is not a typically “beachy” area in the rest of Newport. Doing away with many of the famous land sites on Mariner’s Mile would rob it of its historical significance to Newport Beach. There are views that are going to be blocked, and while I understand that this is allowed, it is not the way to set up a “friendly” area. Many of the residents from that area, one of the oldest in Newport Beach, have lived there for decades.

Although private views can be blocked, I understand that public ones cannot be and that there will be some blocked public views because of this new development.

Although I do not live on Mariner’s Mile, as a resident of Newport Beach, I prize highly the atmosphere of a Newport of bygone years that this area possesses.

I hope the City will not widen PCH, which is the antithesis of a leisurely walking, cycling, driving area.

A village should possess buildings that are similar in size with small variations, consistent architecture, and historical architecture that blends with the new and is inviting to visitors as well as residents.

Tim Stephens

Newport Beach

Let’s remove Banning Ranch from the SCAG List

In response to the SCAG directive, Newport Beach is considering selecting Banning Ranch as one of its choices for limited development. But building homes on this historically significant property with its delicate ecosystem can be a bit of a PR problem for City government, considering its delicate past history with Banning Ranch.

With Coastal Commission validation and a California Supreme Court decision in its favor, you would think that Banning Ranch, with its thousands of admirers, would be off the radar for such a prospect. But Newport Beach government seems to have a proclivity for controversial issues in the past decade.

On the other hand, giving the city the benefit of the doubt, perhaps this decision was made naively since staff members and even some City Council members have not resided in Newport Beach for many years and do not understand the significance of this property to long-term residents and nature enthusiasts throughout California.

Let’s hope that the City does its homework and removes Banning Ranch from any prospective list for development that does not come with blessings from the Conservancy.

Lynn Lorenz

Newport Beach