By Daniel Langhorne | NB Indy
Linda Isle residents are reeling from the City Council’s approval for the construction of a 14,252-square-foot restaurant to be built near the site where the Reuben E. Lee riverboat restaurant once stood.
The council on Tuesday upheld an earlier Planning Commission decision to allow Balboa Marina West Restaurant, finding the Irvine Company had adequately studied and mitigated the impact of late night music.
“This area had the riverboat there for 40 years,” Councilman Ed Selich said. “It didn’t have any mitigation while the riverboat was there.”
The homeowners argued that the Irvine Company’s acoustical consultant failed to take measurements on the island and therefore the project violates the California Environmental Quality Act.
Patrick Alford, planning program manager for Newport Beach, said the consultant used data to estimate the noise level that neighbors would experience if the restaurant was built.
Another major concern voiced by neighbors like Margo O’Conner is that the restaurant will remain open until 2 a.m.
“Homeowners should have a reasonable expectation of going to sleep, sleep through the night and not having wait until 2 a.m.,” she said.
O’Conner also pointed out that restaurants typically don’t offer fine dining until into the early morning hours, which led her to believe the restaurant will actually be a night club.
Daniel Miller, senior vice president of entitlement and public affair for the Irvine Company, said dancing will be prohibited at the proposed restaurant.
“We want to be treated like any other restaurant in the city in terms of hours,” he said.
When asked by Councilman Scott Peotter what time neighboring restaurants Miller replied that he believes they stay open until 2 a.m. Sol Cocina’s bar stays open as late as midnight and 3-thirty-3 is open until 2 a.m. four nights a week, according to the restaurants’ websites.
Despite the Irvine Company’s unwillingness to compromise on the restaurant’s operating hours, it voluntarily agreed to some construction changes after hearing from neighbors. Among these are triple glazed rather than double glazed windows, a pre and post construction inspection of seawalls and locks for windows on the restaurant’s southwest corner.
“I applaud the Irvine company for their outreach to the residents of Linda Isle,” Mayor Diane Dixon said.
Attorney Paige Gosney with Jackson Tidus, representing the Linda Isle Homeowners Association, told the Independent on Wednesday that he had not yet spoken with his clients about possible next steps.