Commission Approves Newport Crossings Park

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An artist’s rendering of the planned park at the proposed Newport Crossings mixed use project in the airport area. (click to enlarge)
— Art courtesy the city of Newport Beach

A city board approved a public park connected to a mixed-use development project near the airport this week.

Newport Beach Parks, Beaches, and Recreation Commission voted 6-1 Tuesday in support of the park being created along with the Newport Crossings project. Commissioner Roy Englebrecht dissented.

Newport Crossings is on a 5.69‐acre site known as MacArthur Square. It’s located one block west of MacArthur Boulevard and is bounded by Corinthian Way, Scott Drive, Dove Street, and Martingale Way.

Currently a shopping center, the project is planned to house 350 apartment units, 2,000 square feet of “casual‐dining” restaurant space, and 5,500 square feet of retail space.

The city’s General Plan requires new residential development projects in the airport area to dedicate a park of at least eight percent of the total project land area or half an acre.

The park would include a play lawn featuring playground equipment, shade structures, benches, and synthetic turf. Also planned for the park: Off-leash, fenced in dog park; fitness terrace; bocce ball court; pickleball court; and more.

Englebrecht explained his no vote, saying there are too many amenities and not enough space.

“I hate to cram all this stuff in just half an acre,” Englebrecht said. “Why do we need all of this?”

He suggested a simpler park with grass and tables and basic amenities.

The applicant is not pushing any specific features, city staff confirmed.

The amenities included are appropriate in scale and size, confirmed MJS Landscape Architecture Vice President Matt Jackson.

“I think we have a highly activated park to be proud of,” Jackson said.

They expect it to be highly used by the nearby residents, he added.

The park’s included amenities are highly sought after by residents, Laura Detweiler Recreation and Senior Services Director noted, particularly the pickleball court and dog park, which will make it a “destination” park.

Pickleball courts are “hugely popular,” Detweiler said. A lot of people are excited about the sport, she added.

The idea of having a privately funded and maintained public park is “fantastic,” noted Commissioner Heather Ignatin.

“I support that whole heartedly,” she said. “It will add a lot of value to our city.”

Other concerns raised include parking and signage.

Parking will include four designated spots, including one handicap space, plus street parking.

There will be signage to let people know about the public park there, the applicant confirmed. Also, signage within the park to direct people to the restrooms.

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