NEWPORT BEACH : Park Endorsed for Upper Castaways

The City Council has unanimously upheld a Planning Commission recommendation to locate a park instead of senior citizen housing on a parcel of Irvine Co. land known as Upper Castaways.

The council on Monday rejected a plan that would have allowed the senior housing on the Upper Castaways site and placed the five-acre park on a separate parcel known as the Bayview Landing parcel.

Now, the senior housing may be built on the Bayview Landing site. Council members voted that the Bayview Landing property can either be used for a 10,000-square-foot restaurant, a 40,000-square-foot health club or 120 units of affordable housing for seniors.

The council's move completed a comprehensive agreement with the Irvine Co. that allows the firm to eventually build about 950 homes and 124,000 square feet of offices and commercial space on most of the undeveloped land left in the city.

Supporters of placing the park on the Castaways site were surprised by the council's action. Some said they were ready to plead with council members but found no need to speak.

"I can't believe it," Lois Brockmeyer said. "It's like a miracle."

"I'm so shocked," said Carol Kerfoot, another resident at the meeting. "I'm thrilled."

No one spoke against the park's being located on the Upper Castaways during the public hearing. The site is directly across from the Newport Harbor Lutheran Church on Dover Drive.

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