Newport Beach City Council amended the general plan this week to allow senior living facility to be constructed.
Council voted 5-1, with Councilman Brad Avery dissenting and Marshall “Duffy” Duffield absent, to allow the change for Harbor Pointe Senior Living facility at 101 Bayview Place, on the corner of Bristol Street and Bayview Place. The proposed project includes demolition of the existing Kitayama restaurant building.
The proposed project is a three-story, 84,517-square-foot, 120-bed combined senior assisted living and memory facility. The plan calls for 81 assisted living units and 20 memory care units.
The voluntary development agreement of a $1 million “public benefit fee,” of which a portion will go toward providing a new ambulance unit at station #7 in Santa Ana Heights.
Councilwoman Joy Brenner said her mother lived in Crown Cove in Corona del Mar, which was also previously a restaurant that was replaced with a senior facility. It’s a great enhancement to the neighborhood, she said.
“I was so grateful, as a resident, to have a place like that that I could take my mother,” Brenner said.
It’s a quiet, comfortable, and calm place, she added.
“I hope we come up with something that exceeds your expectations,” Brenner said.
Proponents have pointed out that there is a need for this type of facility in Newport Beach, something some Council members agreed with on Tuesday.
“As our community gets older, we need senior facilities,” said Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill.
Supporters also argue that other potential projects, like an office building, would increase traffic in the area. A city consultant found that it would be a net decrease of 426 average daily trips based on land use categories.
The senior living project, which was first proposed and heavily criticized by locals in 2016, returned to the Planning Commission late last year with some notable differences, like the height reduction. Although neighbors have raised a number of concerns at recent meetings.
Opponents have argued that the planning and zoning changes the projects needs are not appropriate.
The application includes requests for amendments to the general plan and planned community development zoning, which opponents have argued are not appropriate for the area.
The project would need to change the land-use designation of the site from its current CO-G (general commercial) purpose of use to PI (private institution). It would also need to amend a rule to replace the existing development limits of 8,000 square feet for a restaurant or 70,000 square feet for offices, to 85,000 square feet for a residential care facility for the elderly.
The city doesn’t have the right to change the zoning of the property, commented Kirk Snyder president of the Bayview and Baycrest Court HOA. It’s a dramatic change, he said.
“It violates our property rights and expectations for the community we all bought into,” Snyder commented.
It’s not compatible with the fabric of the neighborhood, he added, and it’s not consistent with the Bayview planned community.
Many local residents spoke on Tuesday, raising several concerns in opposition of the project. There are a number of other project options for that location, several pointed out.
Other raised concerns about parking, traffic being misled by the developer, and that the environment is not appropriate for seniors, and more.
But not all speakers opposed the project, noting that there is a need for this type of facility in the Newport Beach.
The developer has done a tremendous job in scaling down the project, said Dave O’Keefe, who lives near the proposed project. He also complimented the landscaping plan.
On a personal note, O’Keefe said his uncle, who suffered from Alzheimer’s and recently passed away, could not find an accommodating facility in Newport Beach. He previously lived on Bayside Drive and his family had to travel just to go visit him, O’Keefe said.
“I’m completely supportive of this project and think we need more assisted living facilities in Newport Beach,” O’Keefe said.
Carol McDermott, representative for the applicant, CenterPointe Senior Living, LLC, pointed out that the project site is part of a larger mixed-use planned community. The original planning included institutional zoning, she added.
There have been no new full-service assisted living/memory care senior facilities built in the city in nearly 20 years.
About 25 percent of NB residents are over the age of 65, McDermott noted.
Council asked about deliveries, trash pick-up, access, and more.
McDermott confirmed that they could add a gate and provide access for the trash service truck, to avoid confusion by other drivers and mitigate noise concerns by neighbors.
Residents are heavily impacted in her area by the beeping and picking up at all hours of the day, Brenner said, so that was a big concern for her regarding this project as well.