The latest Mariners’ Mile Public Workshop that was held on January 26 at Marina Park was intended to provide the residents with a clear vision of what the City and the Consultant, Placeworks, have been working on since their last community meeting.
It was clear that the City and the Consultant have their vision, and this vision was not shared with the community last Thursday.
The same visual presentation was shown with the same conceptual sketches, only this time the discussion shifted to phrases such as “Building Mass,” “Harbor Frontage,” “Commercial Corridors,” and “Master Opportunities.”
The “Master Opportunities” were specifically directed at the property owners along Pacific Coast Highway. This term was further defined as “discretionary actions,” “dedications” and “land offers,” language that is generally used to describe eminent domain. This would allow the City to work with Cal Trans to increase the lanes on PCH to six lanes. This would encroach and impact many private properties along Mariners’ Mile.
The proposed “Avon Village,” which would be located between the streets of Riverside and Tustin, are some of the most narrow and compacted streets in Newport Beach. The mobility of this particular area is impractical and ill considered, as these streets are within feet of the residential community of Newport Heights.
This area is also home to three schools, Newport Heights Elementary, Horace Ensign Middle School and Newport Harbor High School. This critical area should not be used as focal point for development.
Furthermore, increasing PCH to six lanes and to include Avon Street’s two lanes could potentially make this small area of town an eight-lane artery. This would not be a harmonious merger for the families or the school children, and for the general quality of life in this residential community.
The ‘nautical theme’ that was to contribute to the Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Plan disintegrated without explanation. The proposed hotels and heights were never discussed, and the high-density roof top residences were glossed over.
The Master Plan was never presented with the updated conceptual drawings, yet this project will be “revealed” to the City in the near future.
It seems that transparency is antiquated in the City of Newport Beach, and that listening to the taxpayer’s concerns is not necessary anymore, but listening to the guy in town with the most money is the name of the game.
The citizens of Newport Beach have a vision that is clear. After six months of Mariners’ Mile workshops, it is apparent that the City’s vision remains foggy.