Newport council affirms decision to revoke approval of Museum House

Newport council affirms decision to revoke approval of Museum House
The proposed 25-story Museum House condominium tower is in the rear center of this rendering depicting it at Newport Center. The Newport Beach City Council has rescinded the approval of the project that it granted last year. (File illustration)

The Newport Beach City Council made its decision to revoke approval for the Museum House condominium project official Tuesday night.

The council affirmed its Feb. 28 vote to rescind the entitlements for the 25-story, 100-unit tower rather than send it to an election. The council approved the development last year.

The council's vote Tuesday was 4-2, with Councilman Marshall "Duffy" Duffield absent and members Scott Peotter and Will O'Neill again dissenting.

The procedural second vote was the council's final one on the matter, and it drew no comments from the audience and no discussion among council members.

Museum House developer Related California declined to say earlier this month whether the company would abandon the project or submit another proposal to City Hall.

The council decided to revoke Museum House's entitlements following a petition effort organized by local activists who called for a public vote on the project. The petition, organized by the group Line in the Sand, collected close to 14,000 signatures and was certified by the Orange County registrar of voters office in January.

The project was proposed to replace the Orange County Museum of Art at 850 San Clemente Drive in Newport Center. The museum would move into a newly built facility at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.

An Orange County Superior Court judge last week cleared the way for Tuesday's final council vote on Museum House by denying a request from the art museum for a temporary restraining order that would have delayed the vote.

OCMA filed a lawsuit in January contending that Line in the Sand's petition should be voided because it didn't comply with state elections law. The suit argued that the petition didn't contain all necessary documents and that its font size was "virtually unreadable."

Committee to consider elections issues

Three City Council members will study potential local election reforms.

The council agreed Tuesday to form a committee composed of members Diane Dixon, Jeff Herdman and Scott Peotter to study possible reforms in response to concerns about fundraising limits, use of the city seal and other issues.

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