city council district   v corona del mar & newport coast

Nancy Gardner 

councilwoman  v  newport beach, california







“It doesn’t matter what they say as long as they spell your name right.” I got that absolutely backward last month, saying nice things but spelling Alan Mansoor’s name wrong. Apologies.

The new General Plan states that public views are to be protected and enhanced and designates Begonia Park as a public view. There is a small (very small) lot at the corner of Pacific Drive and Begonia that many people assumed was part of the park but which is actually a privately-owned lot. Now the owners wish to build on that lot. In their first pass they sought height and other variances which would have eliminated the view from many perspectives. The Planning Commission suggested they try again, but it is difficult to imagine how the owners can create the house they want and still protect let alone enhance the view. This will be an interesting test for General Plan policies.

Another General Plan policy seeks to increase energy efficiency throughout the city by promoting energy-efficient design features. I am chairing a new task force made up of three members from the Environmental Quality Affairs Committee and three members from the General Plan Implementation Committee (two architects and a planning commissioner) which will be presenting a range of proposals on green buildings and other energy conservation measures in the coming months.

We are having a design competition for the new City Hall. The Council’s building committee and a group of local architects have done a great job (I can say that because I’m not on the committee) laying out design parameters that reflect community concerns but are general enough to allow for design creativity. Instead of plopping one more building down, one of the mandates is for the participating architects to look at the area as a whole–Corona del Mar Plaza, the central library, the park/city hall site and the three acres on the other side of San Miguel–in terms of circulation and cohesion while protecting view planes and the natural habitat area. Architects from around the world have expressed interest in the project, and it will be exciting to see what the four or five competitors come up with.

Took a meeting with staff from the National Marine Fisheries Service. This is the entity that has promulgated the eel grass policy which has made it virtually impossible for dock owners to dredge their slips. Always interesting dealing with an agency. At one point I finally said, “Are you saying that because there is eel grass in the harbor we’re supposed to tell people that their boats can just sit on the bottom?” “Oh no no no no. We’re just saying–“ Well, that seemed to be what I heard, but anyway, we did make some headway. Instead of dealing with it on a slip-by-slip basis, they would like to see a comprehensive approach, something I’m sure boat owners would also like, so at our next meeting the City will present just such a program, based on sound science provided by our consultants. There will be a lot of arm wrestling, but hopefully we will end up with a policy that will provide for this important habitat and at the same time allow the harbor to function for boats.

The consultants who are doing the city’s parking study will tackle Corona del Mar first. They held a meeting recently that was a combination of Parking 101, an explanation of their methodology, and Q and A with residents and business owners. Although not ruling them out, they expressed a wariness of parking structures as expensive and often disruptive to the ambience of an area. To the surprise of their clients, they find that often cities have a sufficient number of parking spaces but not a good parking management system which makes it seem like lots or structures are needed. A steering committee of residents and businesses will act as a sounding board as they begin their study of the village. The consultants expect an analysis in a couple of months.




This is a two-way process, so please don’t 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  2008   v  Nancy Gardner    v   All Rights Reserved

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