Letter to the Editor: Newport Village Project Brings Anxiety to Locals

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As pointed out in a recent poll in the local newspaper, The Newport Beach Indy, only one third of the respondents were happy with the Newport Village Concept for Mariners’ Mile, one third wanted some changes (but not those proposed by the Newport Village concept,) while one third wanted no changes at all.

Granted this survey represented only a small microcosm of residents, but if experience is any indicator, I would say that the survey represents reality. The unpopularity of the project was pretty clear among those attending its Veteran’s Day roll-out. The audience asked numerous anxious questions but for the most part, did not seem satisfied with the answers. In fact, many people left that evening feeling that there were many more questions than answers.

A major concern of a big majority of residents in Cliffhaven and Newport Heights is the widening of Pacific Coast Highway. Though Cliffhaven and Newport Height’s residents have been trying to communicate the last two years with the city about their objections to this happening, the city has been silent. Now there are rumors that they intend to have the development of Newport Village accompanied by the expansion of Pacific Coast Highway to six lanes.

An expansion of PCH in the proposed Newport Village area would certainly render it a failure. Cars do not roll through villages at 50 miles per hour. A more creative answer must be provided for the traffic problems, such as an additional traffic lights, or more crosswalks to slow traffic down, not speed it up. A village is understood as a destination where the pace slows to allow pedestrians, cyclists and automobiles to intermingle safely and leisurely.

The impact of an expanded six lane highway through Mariners’ Mile will permanently limit the city’s opportunity to establish a walkable village, connecting both sides of Coast Highway. The idea of an expanded Pacific Coast Highway through Mariner’s Mile has been considered over and over for at least 35 years and has never garnered much favor among residents. It is a very bad idea and needs to be abandoned permanently.

There are many other problems with the “Village” that need to be seriously considered.

The fact that the community has only seen concepts and not many details of the development has the residents of the Heights and Cliffhaven very concerned.

For instance, in one place next to the apartment structures, there are only 30 feet which separate the large apartment complex from neighbors who have lived there for many years. They have no idea what that 30-foot separation will look like.

In addition, there are methane gas problems to consider, public views from city parks which will be obstructed, a large expected increase in noise pollution, the concern over how historical buildings will be protected, and the gigantic size of the development itself which again, has only been presented in a very sketchy way.

Lynn Lorenz
Newport Beach

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