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Senior-living project at former art museum site advances after Newport council approvals

Vivante Newport
A rendering depicts a Vivante Senior Living project that would reach six stories on the former site of the Orange County Museum of Art in Newport Beach.
(Courtesy of city of Newport Beach)

The Newport Beach Council on Tuesday unanimously gave several permissions for a senior-living facility planned for the former site of the Orange County Museum of Art.

Vivante Senior Living is looking to build the luxury complex at 850-856 San Clemente Drive in Newport Center. The city Planning Commission approved the project in July.

The six-story development would replace the former OCMA structures with 90 assisted-living dwellings and a 27-bed memory care unit. Proposed amenities include a dog park, dining rooms, a full-service bar, yoga and fitness rooms, an indoor pool, a two-lane bowling alley and lounge, a golf simulator, a salon, an art room, a theater and a library.

The council’s votes included allowing a general plan amendment to change the land-use category for the property from “private institutions” to “mixed-use horizontal” and accepting an environmental impact report for the development.


It also gave initial OK to development plans, which will need to be affirmed at the council’s Sept. 10 meeting to become final.

OCMA plans to build a new home at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa.

8-unit townhouse development approved

Mesa Drive Townhouses
A rendering shows an eight-unit townhouse development proposed for the corner of Mesa Drive and Santa Ana Avenue in Newport Beach.
(Courtesy of city of Newport Beach)

Santa Ana Heights is getting more townhouses.


The City Council gave its approval Tuesday to an eight-unit development at the corner of Mesa Drive and Santa Ana Avenue. The proposed homes will be in two buildings of four units each. The buildings will stand three stories tall with rooftop decks.

The city Planning Commission approved the cluster of homes in March over some neighbors’ concerns about compatibility and traffic intensity and safety.

The intersection forms a border between Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. According to Newport city staff, the worries about whether the project would blend with its surroundings came from residents on the Costa Mesa side, where single-family homes are more common.

Newport’s zoning in the area, however, is for medium-density residential, and multifamily complexes predominate near the corner.

According to a city staff report, the townhomes would improve motorists’ sight lines because the development would reconfigure the driveways and require removal of fencing and landscaping currently on the plot where the homes are proposed.

The council approved the development on a 5-1 vote, with Councilman Kevin Muldoon dissenting without comment and Councilman Marshall “Duffy” Duffield recusing himself because of his property interest in the neighboring Santa Ana Country Club.

Newport supports Boise

The council also unanimously agreed to join a court brief supporting Boise, Idaho, in its bid to have a landmark homelessness case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Last year the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a ruling restricting cities from prosecuting people for sleeping on public property if no shelter beds are available. The ruling overturned a district court decision favoring Boise after homeless people challenged two city ordinances that barred them from staying overnight on public property.


The 9th Circuit’s decision also constrained how Newport Beach and other municipalities throughout California and other Western states can clear homeless people from the streets.

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