Referendum petitions against the Irvine Co.'s plan to expand Newport Center breezed through a check of signatures, and the Newport Beach City Council set a referendum election for Nov. 25.
Gridlock, the no-growth group opposed to the company’s plans to build office buildings, stores and homes on 518 acres beside Newport Center, had gathered more than 6,000 signatures against the plan.
The county registrar of voters confirmed that 5,856 signatures were valid, far more than the 4,543 required to force council members to either rescind their approval of the plan or call a citywide election.
“It’s a better percentage than I thought,” said Gridlock organizer Alan Beek. Now, he said, “we’re just going to campaign hard.”
The Irvine Co. served notice it was not going to throw in the towel.
“We will continue our vigorous efforts to communicate the merits of the Newport Center plan,” said Thomas Nielsen, Irvine Co. president. " . . . We believe the plan’s balance and benefits are compelling.”