South County : Revised Plan to Expand Park to Be Presented

A revised plan to expand Crystal Cove State Park with the construction of several buildings and parking lots is expected to be adopted Tuesday by the California Coastal Commission.

At its last meeting, the commission approved the plan, but requested revisions--to reduce Pelican Hill Road, an entrance roadway, from four lanes to three, and to provide for additional landscaping and erosion control measures.

The commission rejected a staff proposal to reduce the width of a bicycle and jogging trail from 12 to 10 feet, said Liz Fuchs, coastal analyst for the commission.

"The Department of Parks and Recreation has had experience with the high use of trails in other parks. To minimize user conflicts, the commission felt a 12-foot paved width is necessary," Fuchs said.

Of the additional erosion control measures requested, Alan Tang, landscape architect for the Parks and Recreation Department, said, "There was concern about additional runoff from the paved areas, increasing drainage in existing draining gullies. We are now preparing drainage calculations, (and) we will be providing them to the commission. If those calculations indicate we are increasing substantially the (runoff) amounts in the gully, then we will make whatever necessary mitigation measures," he said.

Friends of the Irvine Coast, an environmentalist group, had requested drainage pipes be used to funnel parking lot runoff offshore into the ocean and that the pipes be fitted with grease traps. Those suggestions will be considered in the drainage calculations.

Construction of the $3.24-million project, on parkland just south of Newport Beach, is scheduled to begin next Monday, with completion expected a year later, Tang said.

The additions include three 60-space parking lots, day-use picnic areas, a paved bicycle and jogging path and 8 restroom stations. The park now has three parking lots, with a total of 810 spaces.

Other buildings to be constructed are a 3,000-square-foot administration building, two storage buildings, and a fuel island and vehicle storage area.

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