Letter to the Editor: Postpone the Feb. 18 Planning Commission Hearing

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The Future of Mariners’ Mile will be determined within the framework of the interaction of the Developers, City Staff, Planning Commission, City Council, Caltrans, business and property owners, local merchants, and residents.

Our community is stronger together, especially when Stakeholders, Developers, and the City work together and support each other based upon a common consensus, understanding, and purpose.

Community stakeholders are asking the City to lay out all the Mariner’s Mile proposed and pending development projects together so we can study and understand how everything ties together.

The February 18, 2021, Planning Commission Hearing should be postponed until the City’s Community Development Department holds a public outreach workshop to inform and educate community stakeholders about 2510 West Pacific Coast Highway.

On January 21, the City’s Planning Commission was going to hear what is being referred to as 2510 W. Coast Hwy (PA2019-249) which consists of 35 apartments (three low income) and a luxury car showroom. In response to an impressive community outcry because the City Staff was going to make a recommendation for approval without any public or community input, the Planning Commission postponed the hearing until February 18, 2021.

On February 2, the developer conducted a public workshop via Zoom to explain the project and to answer questions from the public. The February 2 community outreach zoom meeting with the applicant team was a positive step and provided an understanding of the project’s scope and design.

Yet, too many stakeholders on the Zoom meeting were disappointed. They requested desired information about traffic and safety concerns on Avon and Tustin Avenues, as well as the property’s access to the highway. Also, community stakeholders inquired about the piecemeal rollout of nearby family related development companies’ projects, and that the City is not addressing substantial community concerns pertaining to the cumulative impact of proposed and pending developments planned for Mariner’s Mile.

Considering the scope and significance of this proposed high density project, a request was made to the City’s Community Development Department to host a public outreach workshop prior to the February 18 Planning Commission Meeting. The purpose of the meeting would be to explain land use controls, staff’s findings and recommendations, and to answer questions from the public. The City denied the request for a public outreach meeting.

Before significant investments are made by Developers and the Newport Beach community, the City’s inherent stewardship and responsibility is to build a community consensus among stakeholders and a clear vision to guide the transformation of Mariner’s Mile.

An analysis of the total land use and scope of all the proposed development projects on Mariner’s Mile must be done as a prerequisite to the approval of any one piece of all proposed and pending development. The Mariner’s Mile Vision must enhance the waterfront and our community’s quality of life.

West Pacific Coast Highway must remain as it is now, adding no new lanes and retaining street parking, in order to transform Mariner’s Mile into a friendly village that attracts pedestrians and bicyclists. The City, Developers, and Stakeholders can facilitate making such a vision a reality by working within the community.

The Greenlight Initiative and the General Plan were the result of community consensus. The intent of both must be adhered to along Mariner’s Mile and applied to the combined scope and density of all proposed and future development projects before a single project is approved.

Patrick Gormley, Former President / Bayshores Community Association

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