On Veterans Day, the applicant for the Newport Village Project, (MX3 Ventures- MSM Global), presented the proposed project on several small and hard to see foam boards to concerned residents. Many in attendance were discouraged to learn that our iconic Mariners’ Mile neighborhood is going to be drastically transformed in the coming years.
Most people who attended the meeting were not happy with the proposed development. One would have thought that the magnitude of this project would have been professionally presented with visuals, view simulations and audio that would have fully illustrated the projects and its impacts to the surrounding communities of Bayshores, Lido Isle, Cliff Haven and Newport Heights.
There was a direct disconnect with the developer’s project that disturbed many residents in the room. For example, there is only one entrance and exit on the north parcel of Mariners’ Mile for the ingress and egress of 108 apartments, 128,640 square feet of non-residential floor area. This same entrance would be used for residents, employees, offices, retail and restaurants, not to mention service, trash and emergency vehicles. Also, this same entry will include an exotic racecar dealership and a boat showroom. This enormous project will only be 30 feet from the abutting residential neighborhoods. Furthermore, (as mandated by the state of California), solar panels are required to be installed on each of the residential units and this additional height is outside of the actual height of the residential high-rise units.
The developer and his team stated on a presentation board that they have conducted “unprecedented community outreach” and “improved view corridors from John Wayne Park.” According to Webster’s dictionary, the word “unprecedented” means “extraordinary” and according to the California Coastal Commission, views from public parks cannot be blocked. These two statements were disingenuous to the community. The architecture was defined as “Newport specific,” in particular, which seemed vague and unclear.
When asked about the grading on the north parcel, the applicant’s land-use attorney, stated, “Grades are hard to measure and difficult to explain.” The residents deserve an explanation to fully understand the scope and impact of this massive project.
Another concern is that this stretch of Mariners’ Mile is part of California’s Corridor Protection Program, which regulates land use and density and development, detailed land, and site-planning, careful control of earthmoving, landscaping and the design and appearance of structures. The benefits make development more compatible with the environment and in harmony with the surroundings. It preserves views of hillsides by minimizing development on steep slopes and along ridgelines. It also prevents the need for noise barriers by requiring a minimum setback for residential development adjacent to a scenic highway.
There is also a need to address the historical significance of the historical Ladd & Kelsey building, also known as A’maree’s, (formerly the Stuft Shirt). The Stuft Shirt is an excellent example of Southern California modern architecture; the proposed parking structure would obscure a significant portion of its street-facing façade.
The city is conducting a scoping meeting for the public on Nov. 20 at the Community Room located at 100 Civic Center Dr., at 6 p.m. All concerned residents need to attend this extremely important meeting.
Who knows, perhaps our local champions of preservation, Mr. and Mrs. Frank Randall will attend. The Randalls clearly recognize the need to protect our community’s quality of life and do no harm, as they recently donated $50 million dollars for the preservation of open-land on Banning Ranch.
The Coalition to Protect Mariners’ Mile