Op-Ed: Why I Support the Museum House

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By Scott Peotter

They Want to Change the Rules After They Lost in Order to Win

Donald Trump works his butt off in Ohio, Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania. Trump wins the electoral College vote and beats Hillary. Afterwards Hillary claims that it is really the popular vote that is important and she wins.

That is what the SPON (Stop Polluting Our Newport) people wanted to happen at the council meeting last Tuesday when the council approved the Museum House Project on a 6-1 vote. To explain, I will need to give a little background.

What Exactly is “Greenlight”?

The zoning in Newport Beach is governed by a citizens’ initiative that called itself “Greenlight.” Their theory, back in 2000, was that all the development that was being approved was creating all this traffic; and we like our sleepy little seaside town the way it is (in the middle of a 3.1 million resident urban county).

They wanted “Green Lights” when they drove around town, or so the story goes. In effect this ballot box planning limits each planning area of the city to a maximum of 100 Dwelling Units (DUs) or 40,000 SF of non-residential space every 10 years, unless you go to the voters for voter approval of your project. Basically, STOPPING all Growth.

In fact, if you wanted to add on 200 SF to your restaurant, because you were so successful, and there were no SF left in your area, you would have to go to the voters for approval. It is a very complicated zoning law. It is unlikely that the restaurant would ever expand. That is not just “SLOW Growth,” that is rolling up the drawbridge and telling the world that I have got mine and you are not getting yours (which is how the rest of the county looks at us from Newport).

What is Museum House?

Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) wants to sell its 2 acre parcel in Newport Center and relocate to a parcel given to OCMA by Segerstrom over by the Performing Arts Center.

OCMA is selling to a company called Related, who is proposing to build a residential building for a 100 DUs. It will be a high end residential condo tower designed by renowned architect Robert Stern. The height is in line with the other towers of Fashion island and below the predominant line of development, unlike the Pimco Tower or The Irvine Company (TIC)Tower which are boring buildings and exceed that line.

Related has spent over a million dollars coming up with a design that complies with all the complicated rules of Greenlight and it passed the Planning Commission 7-0.

SPAWN (Still Pouting And Whining in Newport)

SPON is lying. SPON, although I like to spell it SPAWN (Still Pouting And Whining in Newport) is entitled to their opinion, but they are not entitled to their own facts (an old Reaganism).


A GPA is needed therefore we are ruining Newport. Greenlight was designed to require a GPA Any residential project of any size requires a GPA
It exceeds the height limits. 25 stories is too much! It has the same limitations as the rest of the high rises, but residential can get more stories in the same height. It is on a lower piece of ground so it actually appears less
It Increases Traffic, How can you add 100 DUs and not increase traffic. When is enough enough? It has about the same amount of traffic as the current run down OCMA currently uses, and if OCMA was successful it would be less traffic than existing.


One resident opined that the traffic generated by this project is less than a single Starbucks
TIC built the San Joaquin Apartments and therefore the 100 units are not available The TIC San Joaquin Apartments under construction now were part of the 2006 GPA that the voters approved These apartments create less traffic than the office buildings that they replaced, and the traffic is in a different direction

 SPAWN Threatened to Start a Referendum That Night

Since SPAWN has shown its tendencies to lie, the City Council made sure that the resolution had all the supporting documents attached to it so that the petitions have to include all 1500 pages or more. So even though we cannot stop a petitioner from lying about the project, at least the facts will be there for a signor to review, should they decide to.

I Recommend that you say NO to SPAWN if they approach you at a shopping center to sign their petition – tell them you like the electoral college.

Scott Peotter is a Newport Beach Councilman.

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