People packed into the Yacht Room at Newport Sea Base on Pacific Coast Highway Monday night, all concerned with the future of Mariners’ Mile.
Newport Beach hosted its first community workshop about the Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Master Plan, part of the city’s effort to improve the stretch of PCH between Newport Boulevard and Dover Drive.
“It was a very lively discussion,” Newport Beach Associate Planner Makana Nova said after the meeting. “The crowd was spirited.”
The room was full with about 70 attendees, including residents, developers, and local business owners.
The large crowd split into smaller groups to brainstorm opportunities, challenges and dreams for the Mariners’ Mile area.
Each group presented a list at the end of the breakout session.
The primary concern was how to address parking. Below grade parking was suggested as a possible solution.
Many residents were strongly against new development in the area, particularly any that would exceed the current height limits and possibly block their views.
A consistent boardwalk along the waterfront was also mentioned by many to help improve the area and draw pedestrians.
A “pop quiz” of the audience also answered a few interesting questions, including that the proper spelling of the project area’s name is Mariners’ Mile and that it’s actually 1.5 miles long.
Overall, it was a very good workshop, Nova said. They plan to hold several meetings with various stakeholders in the next few weeks and the next community workshop will probably be in mid-September.
“We’re working on nailing a date down,” Nova said.
The public workshop will likely be held at city hall to accommodate the large group.
The preliminary plan is to head to the Planning Commission and then City Council by end of year, Nova said. It’s a pretty aggressive plan, she admitted, and it may be extended a bit longer.
They are looking forward to moving ahead with master plan and working with each of the stakeholders in the process, she said.
The vision for the master plan is to enhance vitality for residents and visitors, create distinct centers, mix of visitor-serving, retail and marine-related businesses with limited housing and mixed-use on the harbor front, streetscape amenities, pedestrian-oriented, enhanced view corridor, and more.
To start the process, the city has noted that residents and travelers want traffic congestion relief, cyclists want clear on-street bike lanes, and businesses want revitalization of the area.
“There have been a lot of studies done on this area in the past,” Nova said. “Now we’re really looking to get community input, developing a plan from that, and move forward.”
The city presentation, you tube video of the meeting, and comments from the meeting are available on the city’s website.