Newport Beach city officials presented a meeting at the Central Library on Wednesday that allowed the public to weigh in on environmental concerns regarding a proposed 260-unit residential project near John Wayne Airport.
Of the approximately 20 people who attended, two spoke, expressing worry about the Koll Center Residences' potential to adversely affect the area's traffic and business community.
The Koll Center project, proposed for 4400 Von Karman Ave., is composed of three 13-story condominium towers, each with its own underground parking area, on about 12.5 acres. The towers would be placed on an existing office park's surface parking lots and landscaped areas.
The developer, a division of Irvine-based Shopoff Realty Investments, wants to build a 490-space parking structure to make up for the loss of parking. The existing office buildings would not be affected by the project.
Shopoff representatives attended Wednesday's meeting and privately answered questions from audience members, some of whom were associated with the activist group Still Protecting Our Newport.
SPON's political arm, Line in the Sand, recently sponsored a petition drive intended to force a referendum on Museum House, a 25-story, 100-unit condominium tower planned for Newport Center that was approved by the Newport Beach City Council.
One of the two public speakers was Adriana Fourcher, who, with her husband, Fred, has an ownership stake in an office building near 4400 Von Karman.
"We're not sure that the mix, the feel of residential being inserted right in the middle of a business park, is actually going to be symbiotic," Fourcher said. "We're a commercial park one day and the next thing you know, we're residential."
Newport resident Jim Mosher, a frequent critic of the City Council, was unhappy that city documents advertising Wednesday's meeting did not contain the developer's name.
Shopoff also is developing Uptown Newport Village, a residential project planned nearby off Jamboree Road. The village is approved for as many as 1,244 units.
The Daily Pilot first learned of Shopoff's involvement in the Koll Center Residences after inquiring with city staff.
Comments from Fourcher, Mosher and others that were submitted in writing to the city will be incorporated and addressed in the project's environmental impact report, a draft of which is expected to be made public this summer.
The Koll Center condos, ranging from 1,240 to 3,160 square feet, would have one to three bedrooms. The project also would contain a 1-acre park, along with 3,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floors of the towers.
The property has a general plan designation of mixed-use horizontal, which paves the way for residential and commercial uses in high-rise buildings. The site is within the Koll Center community that was first approved in 1972.
According to Kim Brandt, the city's community development director, the project would not trigger a citywide vote under the Greenlight Initiative, a growth-control measure passed by local voters in 2000, because it does not require an amendment to Newport's general plan.
Koll Center Residences is scheduled to face review from the Planning Commission this summer and the City Council in the fall. Because of the project's proximity to John Wayne Airport, the Orange County Airport Land Use Commission and the Federal Aviation Administration also will evaluate it.
If the development is approved, construction could start in 2018 and last until 2022, city officials said.
Rosalinh Ung, an associate planner with the city, is accepting emailed comments about Koll Center Residences until Feb. 2 at email@example.com. Comments also can be mailed to Ung at the Community Development Department at City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660.