Banning Ranch Project has Severe Impacts

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Dorothy Kraus’s commentary (“Newport Banning Ranch: What We’re Not Being Told,” 12-26-14) is a must-read if you value the privacy, peace, quiet and livability of our neighborhoods in the Newport-Mesa area.

Her points about the severe impacts of the Newport Banning Ranch (NBR) project on our communities, including the increased traffic, the size and scope of the project and the massive excavation of toxic dirt during the ten-plus year construction period, are all supported by the City of Newport Beach’s Environmental Impact Report on the project.

Compared to other large developments on the Orange County coast, NBR will be huge. Based on the number of units per acres, the density of the NBR project is 3.38 percent, which is larger than the last five large coastal developments since 1990 combined (average density = 0.45 units/acre). The entire region will be affected by the traffic, increasing congestion on our freeways, as well as our streets. Intersections in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa will be even more snarled than they are now, increasing commute times and making local driving a nightmare. The resulting air pollution will create regional health concerns.

Another grave concern is the strain such a large project will put on already scarce resources, such as water and open space. The entire state of California is enduring an unprecedented drought. We should be looking for ways to conserve water and protect what remains of our open space. That can’t be achieved by adding thousands more homes, cars and residents to an already over-saturated beach area.

Imagine Pacific Coast Highway in West Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and everything in between, clogged by a minimum of 15,000 more average daily car trips. Imagine Costa Mesa paralyzed by all the cut-through traffic headed for the beach, especially in the peak traffic months of summer.

Newport Beach voters recently said “No!” to big development and traffic in Newport Beach by defeating Measure Y by a resounding majority. Now, if we want to preserve our quality of life, along with our health and wellbeing, we should say no to the Newport Banning Ranch project.

If you’d like to make your voices heard on this issue, please consider attending the California Coastal Commission hearing in San Diego March 11-13, where an Enforcement Hearing on the Banning Ranch project will be heard.

A large turnout will tell the coastal commissioners that the public does not want massive development on Banning Ranch.

For more information about the hearing and available transportation, email [email protected] Visit our website at www.banningranchconservancy.org for more information. We’ll post the exact date of the hearing on Banning Ranch as soon as we have confirmation.

Suzanne Forster, Newport Beach / Banning Ranch Conservancy Vice President

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