Letter to the Editor: The Future of Mariners’ Mile

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Mariner’s Mile is an indispensable seaside center linking the Peninsula, Lido Island, Lido Marina Village, Mariners’ Mile, Balboa Island, and Corona del Mar villages and neighborhoods. Its significance and impact must not be undervalued.

Scenic corridor views along Mariner’s Mile cannot be taken for granted. The full scope of all foreseeable development project proposals along Mariner’s Mile must meet Coastal Commission, community and environmental requirements before approval. Working together, let’s get it right—the city, the developers, and the stakeholders.

The Future of Mariners’ Mile will be determined within the framework of the interdependent actions 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 to support each other based upon a common consensus, understanding, and purpose.

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

The February 18 Planning Commission Hearing should be postponed until the City’s Community Development Department holds a public outreach workshop meeting to inform and educate community stakeholders about 2510 W. Coast Hwy (PA2019-249). This will allow stakeholders to provide their informed perspectives to the Planning Commission.

Mariners’ Mile property owners, business owners and the abutting residential communities of Newport Heights/Cliff Haven, Bayshores and Lido Island desire to learn and be informed about the scope, design, benefits and impacts pertaining to this and all the foreseeable development projects along Mariners’ Mile.

Community stakeholders have asked the City to explain land use controls, staff’s findings, and answer stakeholder’s questions prior to the February 18 Planning Commission Hearing. The community is asking the City to lay out the project so we can study and understand how everything proposed ties together.

However, the City’s Community Development Department has denied residents’ request to outreach to community stakeholders in a public meeting to provide the details of their analysis and impending recommendation to the Planning Commission.

The February 2, 2021, community outreach Zoom meeting with the applicant team to discuss proposed mixed use development at 2510 W. Coast Hwy (PA2019-249) was a positive step and provided an the project’s scope and design.

Yet, too many stakeholders on the Zoom meeting were disappointed. They requested information pertaining to traffic and safety concerns regarding Avon and Tustin Avenues, and the property’s access when entering and leaving the premises on West Pacific Coast Highway. Also, insights into the nearby foreseeable development projects along Marines’ Mile were not presented.

This piecemeal approach to the rollout of the projects does not address substantial community concerns expressed during this Zoom meeting. Nor did the Zoom meeting present a Vision for Mariners’ Mile.

In addition to 2510 W. Coast Hwy (PA2019-249,) there are several proposed or pending nearby family related development companies proposing projects. These include Newport Village and Back Bay Landing. The cumulative land use for all these developments represents over one-third of Mariners’ Mile and will forever determine the future destiny of this scenic corridor.

Accordingly, all community stakeholders desire to learn and understand the full scope, size, significance, accumulated impacts and mitigation associated with all nearby foreseeable projects. This will also assure that the intent of the Greenlight Initiative and City’s General Plan vision, goals and objectives will be achieved and will hopefully prevent a long-lasting adverse impact.

Several unanswered questions that must be addressed for the 2510 W. Coast Hwy (PA2019-249) project, as well all nearby proposed and pending projects along Mariners’ Mile are below:

  • How will the proposed and pending projects change the character and charm of Mariners’ Mile and Newport Beach?
  • Are we at risk of losing our scenic corridor, the key element that connects Newport Beach’s iconic villages? Will it forever disallow the majority of residents and tourists to enjoy this scenic coastal location due to the desires of a few people who are invested in high density development projects?
  • What are the benefits and impacts on the Mariners’ Mile Ecosystem, including quality of life, health, safety, and traffic? What will be the cost to the residents in order to provide City services? How will police and fire be impacted?
  • Are the variances and allowances given to the developer too high a consideration when comparing the full benefits and full impact of 2510 W. Coast Hwy (PA2019-249)? Is the 2510 W. Coast Hwy (PA2019-249) project including three low rent apartments too high a price to pay?

The Collation to Protect Mariners’ Mile (PMM) represents approximately 1,200 Newport Beach residents and stakeholders. We are involved with Mariners’ Mile and the protection of this 1.3 stretch road along West Pacific Coast Highway.

We envision transforming Mariners’ Mile into a thriving and sustainable coastal gateway destination in the City of Newport where residents and visitors can work, play, dine, and shop in a relaxing and friendly environment.

Our guiding principle is “Enhance Our Community’s Quality of Life and Do No Harm.” PMM is pro-development and supports projects that are compatible with the abutting residential communities of Newport Heights/Cliff Haven, Bayshores, and Lido Island. Lido Marina Village is an excellent example of what is possible.

James F Carlson, President – Collation to Protect Mariners’ Mile

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