Judge Denies OCMA’s Museum House-Related Request

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A judge this week turned down a request for a temporary restraining order that would have prevented the Newport Beach City Council from the second reading of their vote to rescind the 2016 approval of Museum House.

Orange County Superior Court judge Geoffrey Glass heard Orange County Museum of Art’s request on Wednesday, but held off on a ruling until Thursday.

Second readings of items previously approved are routine and are typically placed on the consent calendar for the Council.

Council voted 5-2 Feb. 28 to rescind its prior approval of the 25-story, 100-unit condominium tower in Newport Center. Councilmen Will O’Neill and Scott Peotter dissented.

In November, a different council voted 6-1 to approve Related California’s Museum House project. It was slated to replace the single-story Orange County Museum of Art currently at the location at 850 San Clemente Drive.

The referendum petition, headed up by community group Line in the Sand Political Action Committee, included more than 13,000 signatures and was validated by the OC Registrar of Voters in January. The petition required the project go to a vote, the Council instead decided to go with the “voice of the people” and repeal the approval, minus the Environmental Impact Report, which is still effective for future projects.

In a lawsuit filed earlier this year, OCMA claims the petition should be found “deficient and voided,” because the text was too small, it was missing a few pages, and it “visually altered required documents.”

Line in the Sand is appreciative of Glass’ denial of the restraining order and for allowing the City Council to finalize their rescind action, Tim Stoaks, spokesman for LITS, wrote in a statement on Thursday.

“We are hopeful that Judge Glass will ultimately rule in favor of the 14,000 signature Newport Beach residents petition,” Stoaks wrote. “It’s about time to start a new conversation about a general plan update for our city.”

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