Commentary: Museum House is out of character with Newport Beach

My name is Jim Place and my wife, Pat, and I have lived in Newport Beach since the '70s. We are appalled at the arrogance of the City Council voting for the Museum House this past Tuesday.

If you will recall, Team Newport dominates the current council and was elected over issues with boat dock fees and concrete bunnies at the new City Hall.


Its members totally ignored the general plan, approved by voters in 2006, which mandated slow growth to keep us a beach community where spectacular ocean views, height restrictions and casual living were the order of the day.

Instead they approved the development rather than calling for a vote of the citizens who elected them. [For The Record: An earlier version of this article said that the Museum House project was approved with spot zoning. It was not.]


If the vote is not overturned, look for more high-density projects that will create more traffic, which is already a problem on MacArthur Boulevard and Coast Highway.

Car uses per day will go up with the Museum House. Water usage will also rise.

Doesn't the City Council know we are living in a desert with water restrictions, which they choose to ignore?

Finally, the notion of mixed residential/commercial use, where people can walk to work, is ridiculous.

Does anyone walk to work in Newport Beach? They drive to work.

And I can just see a woman with two grocery bags walking to the Museum House from Whole Foods in Newport Center.

The real reason they approved it is the money.

The City Council forgot that Newport Beach, with about 90,000 residents, is known as a destination city around the world, just as Paris, London and New York are with their distinctive characters that set them apart as places people want to visit.

Now if their decision stands, and the referendum fails, we will become another Miami Beach with more tall condos and hotels spread around the city. I can just see a tall condo near the Crab Cooker on Balboa Peninsula.

I believe that is called hodgepodge development, and even the Irvine Co. is against the project.

My wife and I recommend that people sign the Line in the Sand petition to overturn the poorly thought out vote on the Museum House by the Newport Beach City Council.

You will see tables set up for you to do this in shopping centers, grocery stores and in some homes.

JIM PLACE lives in Newport Beach.