Fashioned from a slip of land set in Newport Bay, Lido Isle is surrounded by the city of Newport Beach and tethered to it by a short bridge. Besides the local yacht club, this small bedroom community of about 1,800 is strictly residential. There are no stores, hotels or even a gas station.
Along with several scattered settlements in the area, Lido Isle was incorporated as part of the city of Newport Beach in 1906. Then, Lido Isle was a sandbar — usually submerged during high tide. Low tide provided a glimmer of the isle.
In the 1920s, W.K. Parkinson, an oil millionaire, bought the land from the Pacific Electric Land Co. for $45,000 and spent more than a quarter-million dollars raising the isle about 11 feet above the high-tide line. Parkinson envisioned the space as a resort-type development similar to those in the Mediterranean and hired the Griffith Co. to build seawalls, a bridge, piers and roads.
As a master-planned resort development, Lido Isle was one of the earlier projects in Southern California to be constructed with underground utilities.
It was built to resemble a European resort, with streets named after several great resort cities, including Barcelona, Genoa, Nice and Ithaca. The names of two main streets, Via Lido Nord and Via Lido Sud, also reflect the European flair. Architecture ranges from modern to traditional Cape Cod, with most homes built in a Mediterranean style.
The Lido Isle Yacht Club, incorporated in 1928, is the social hub of the community, providing a clubhouse with year-round events and activities for all ages. Residents are club members, and property owners must pay annual dues.
Assessments are based on parcel size; for an average lot of about 3,500 square feet, dues are about $600 annually.
Weekly summer barbecue nights feature live music and an appetizer buffet, and residents bring their favorites for charring at the clubhouse dock. Holiday events include a tree-trimming party and a boat parade.
The junior sailing program has been a feature since 1946. The Men's Club, Women's Club and Tennis Club are active and reported on by the monthly Lido Islander, published by the Lido Isle Community Assn.
In 1948 the club was granted membership to the Southern California Yachting Assn., with admission to the Yacht Racing Union of Southern California creating a splash in 1965, a point of local pride.
Longtime resident and real estate agent Jon Flagg notes that with just one road off the isle, "families feel safe to let children play, with walking paths known as 'stradas' offering easy access to the amenities the isle has to offer."
A drive over the bridge provides access to Newport Beach's shops, restaurants, schools and surfing beaches, barely half a mile away.
Homeowners are part of the Lido Isle Community Assn., with required annual association dues providing funds for amenities, including two children's playgrounds, three boat storage rental areas, three tennis courts and a private security patrol.
Good news, bad news
Small lots and a desire for larger homes have fueled the need for the Lido Isle Architectural Committee. Before any building project can begin, the committee must review and approve all plans. From paint color to new trim to replacement of an entire home, plans must be submitted and approved by the committee. Fines are assessed for noncompliance.
Lido Isle, less than 2 miles across, has about 800 homes, including about 250 on the water. The majority of the homes are used as full-time residences, according to 2000 census data. In 2000, about 46% of the homes were valued under $1 million. As of October 2004, none were below the million-dollar mark.
On the market
Interior properties typically range in price from $1.2 million for a small bungalow to $3.5 million for a large home, according to Flagg, the real estate agent. Bayfront homes sell from about $2.75 million for an older home with no dock to the mid-$3-million range.
One of the largest homes with a dock recently sold for about $15 million. Currently, 16 homes are for sale, priced from $1,699,876 to $6,995,000.
Lido Isle residents can attend nearby schools, which are part of the Newport Mesa School District. Newport Elementary scored 858 out of 1,000 on the 2004 Academic Performance Index. Horace Ensign Middle School scored 718, and Newport Harbor High School, 739.
Historical values Residential resales for Lido Isle:
Year...Median Price 1990...$879,000
*Through November *
Sources: DataQuick Information Systems; Coast Newport Properties; http://www.lidoisle.org ; http://www.lidoisleyachtclub.org ; http://www.mapquest.com ; http://www.griffithcompany.net ; http://www.factfinder.census.gov ; api.cde.ca.gov.