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Newport Beach


Letter to the Editor

City Council is encouraged to handle Mariner’s Mile development in its totality

(This letter was sent to the Newport Beach City Council)

Newport is a community of villages. Newport’s unique character and charm (Newport style designs) are on display in the villages surrounding the Newport Bay: Balboa Peninsula, Lido Marina Village, Mariner’s Mile, Balboa Island and the islands of Newport Harbor. 

It is impossible to overstate the profound change 2510 West Coast Highway and all proposed property development projects will have on Mariner’s Mile. The industrial box design and high density of 2510 West Coast Highway is out of character with Newport style development and not in harmony with Newport Bay marine design. The full scope of all the planned and proposed land use represents over one-third of Mariner’s Mile and will forever determine the future destiny of Mariner’s Mile. Without a clear vision guiding the transformation of the City and Mariner’s Mile, ongoing efforts will continue to be suboptimal and disappointing. The last thing Mariner’s Mile and the City of Newport Beach need is a crosstown freeway along scenic West Pacific Coast Highway.

Mariner’s Mile is at a Crossroads: Will the City Council sustain the character, charm and Newport style development by assuring Mariner’s Mile becomes a “village” or will our community’s foundational core values be eroded by high density development that is out of character and not in harmony with the surrounding villages on Newport Bay? 

Opportunity: What would it take for the city to promote marine oriented businesses and appropriate Newport style designs in order for Mariner’s Mile to become a friendly village and a gathering place which fosters the flow of pedestrians and bicyclists? This consideration should have priority over the suggested expansion of the highway that would increase the speed and flow of traffic. 

The attached letter dated April 21, 2021, to the City Council presents a vision, a course of action and a proven path forward for developing a Newport style Mariner’s Mile “village.” Lido Marina Village and Lido Village are excellent examples of what is possible when the city, developers and stakeholders work together. The process followed by the city in the development of Lido Marina Village where formal community outreach workshops presented the Lido Marina Village design guidelines to all stakeholders is what must be adhered to in developing Mariner’s Mile as a “village.” It is a City of Newport Beach proven process for development of a “village” (Best Practices) that has been successfully done before and can be achieved for Mariner’s Mile. It can be the framework for Mariner’s Mile to be developed into a “village” that enhances the character and charm of the surrounding villages on Newport Beach Bay. 

Strength of Community: The future of Mariner’s Mile will be determined within the framework of the interaction of the State’s impossible affordable housing requirements, 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 and pending development projects together so we can study and understand how everything ties together. 

Planning Commission: On February 18, 2021, during the hearing for 2510 West Coast Highway, the Planning Commission recognized the need for a Mariner’s Mile Master Plan.   

Recommendations: 

–A decision on 2510 W. Coast Highway be postponed until the aggregate of all property development proposals including road safety, road widening and infrastructure projects along West Coast Highway are pulled together and evaluated before a single project is approved. 

–A Mariner’s Mile Steering Committee be created that is composed of stakeholders to shape the future of Mariner’s Mile as a Newport style “village” (Caltrans, property owners, local merchants and residents). 

–The City Council, Planning Commission and city staff assure that the proposed use of 2510 West Coast Highway and all Mariner’s Mile property development projects be Newport style “village” design in harmony with our community’s character, community norms and core values without adversely impacting the surrounding area. 

Patrick Gormley

Newport Beach

 

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