city council district   v corona del mar & newport coast

Nancy Gardner 

councilwoman  v  newport beach, california


september UPDATE





On August 27, we held two meetings to discuss the potential relocation of the Corona del Mar branch to the Oasis Senior Center. This was prompted in part by a need  to enlarge the fire station which shares the site and also because library statistics show declining usage at the branch, particularly in childrenís programs.  Those attending were quite clear that they didnít want the branch closed, and they didnít want to relocate it to the Oasis if it meant losing the childrenís section which they felt could succeed with a little more effort. We are having a second meeting on Saturday, September 8, at 9 a.m., again at the CdM branch, where we will propose abandoning the plan to relocate the branch to the Oasis and discuss the ramifications of that as well as exploring what we can do to retain the branch at its current site by reinvigorating childrenís programming, fundraising, etc.



If you didnít stay up until 1:00 a.m. on August 14, then you donít know how this cliffhanger ended. This was a proposal to replace an aging, 16,000-square-foot two-story apartment building which sits on the bluff  with nine luxury condos which would cascade a good ways down that bluff and, with underground parking, total 72,000 square feet.  Council sent it back to the drawing board to adhere to a new predominant line of development which protects the bluff per the General Plan and the Local Coastal Plan and will result in a smaller development.



Mea culpa.  Back in January (can I claim freshman ignorance?) I agreed to let work on the PCH medians in Corona del Mar begin in late August.  This was in response to a request by the BID (Business Improvement District) to be sure that any work would be finished before the Christmas season began. However, summer traffic plus regular traffic plus construction . . . I was told by one constituent that I had obviously failed an IQ test.  It was hard to argue, but I want to thank staff for helping to move me up to dull normal by tailoring the construction hours to avoid the morning and evening commute and quickly fulfilling my request to have flashing signs installed at Newport Coast Drive to direct drive-through traffic on a temporary detour.  Even with summer over traffic will be slow through town for awhile.



The flower streets in CdM were designed when families had two cars which they kept in the garage and businesses were small with few employees.  With far more cars today,  the streets tend to be linear parking lots, narrowing the driving area to the point that two cars can have trouble passing. In response to queries,  I have asked staff to prepare a white paper on the advantages and disadvantages of one-way streets to see if thatís something we want to explore more seriously.



A thriving commercial area is good for the city, but in areas like CdM where there is virtually no buffer between residential and commercial, it leads to friction.  Businesses are chronically short of parking spaces for both customers and employees, and residents often complain about the noise and inconvenience of having both groups parking in front of their homes.  The Economic Development Committee is leading the effort to find a city-wide solution.  Ideas welcome.



During the long construction of The Resort at Pelican Hills, residents in surrounding communities became alarmed at several accidents involving construction vehicles at the intersection of Pelican Hills Road North and Newport Coast Drive  With Councilman Keith Curry spearheading the effort, the City studied the intersection and  found a number of engineering problems which apparently the County did not recognize at the time it was constructed.  A re-design has just been submitted to the homeownersí associations for their approval as a first step to making the needed improvements.



I urge you all to make a visit to the Newport Coast Community Center which will be opening in September and sets a new standard for community centers in Newport Beach.  The Center has a great gym, an indoor-outdoor stage, multipurpose rooms for art, dancing, meetings.  Newport Coast residents have first dibs on reserving the rooms, but there will be ample time slots available to the city at large.  The center is offering a full slate of classes through the Cityís Recreation and Senior Services Department starting this fall.



I am headed up to Humboldt with Mary Lonich, Executive Director of the Balboa Performing Arts Theater Foundation; Assistant City Manager Sharon Wood; and Carol McDermott of Government Solutions (who is donating her time) to try and persuade the Coastal Commission to give the okay to the theater.  Coastal Commission staff is concerned that the theater will impinge upon parking for beachgoers although City studies suggest that parking is adequate.  The theater has offered to forego weekend matinees during the summer months to allay staff concerns, but nothing is settled at this point.  Recently, the Commission demanded a $5 million mitigation for the conversion of the tennis courts to condos at the Marriott on the grounds that we were removing a coastal visitor-serving use. If the tennis courtsĖa long way from the beach and open only to hotel guests and members of the private clubĖwere deemed visitor-serving Iím not sure why the theater, which is practically on the beach and open to every one, isnít, but these are the vagaries of the Coastal Commission, which can be frustrating to those of us who support its mission.





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This is a two-way process, so please donít hesitate to contact me with your ideas and opinions.




Councilwoman Nancy Gardner



City of Newport Beach - 3300 Newport Blvd - Newport Beach, CA  92663

Phone:  949.644.3004    -    EMAIL:

Copyright  2007   v  Nancy Gardner    v   All Rights Reserved

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