Responding to noise complaints from residents, the Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday is expected to review the Planning Commission's approval of a permit allowing Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort to host more than 500 outdoor events each year.
In February, Newport Dunes, on 100 acres in Upper Newport Bay, requested a conditional use permit that would allow it to host 500 events with amplified music for fewer than 1,000 people and 14 larger events without having to approach the city for an individual permit each time.
The commission approved the request with conditions intended to minimize noise, such as special sound equipment, acoustic plastic walls and heavy theatrical curtains.
"It helps streamline the review process for special events in the future," said Community Development Director Kim Brandt. "It also helps the community better understand what's going on at the Dunes."
Dover Shores residents spoke against the permit, saying noise from the Dunes has increased over the years. They suggested each event should have a specific permit, allowing the city to more closely monitor effects on homeowners.
City staff, Newport Dunes officials and Dover Shores residents have held meetings to try to reach a compromise on the number of events at the resort.
In response to residents' concerns, Councilman Marshall "Duffy" Duffield requested that the City Council review the Planning Commission's decision.
"The Planning Commission kind of jumped the gun on it in terms of how many events they were going to approve," Duffield said. "There were a few parameters that the community across the bay wasn't happy with, but they went back to the barn and discussed it all. The owners of the Dunes have been … working tremendously hard to satisfy the homeowners."
For the rest of the year, Newport Dunes has agreed to reduce to 250 the number of events with fewer than 1,000 people. The Dunes would be able to host 500 events the following year, according to a city staff report. Newport Dunes also agreed to have a professional sound monitor present at all events with amplification to ensure that noise doesn't spill into surrounding neighborhoods.
For years, Newport Dunes has been a site for public gatherings such as festivals, concerts, weddings and parties.
Previously, the resort would approach the city to receive permits for each outdoor event on the property. In 2015, it applied for 155 permits for special events, according to city records. If the conditional use permit is approved by the City Council, the Planning Commission will review it within a year.