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Proposed office building and parking garage draw neighbors’ concerns in Newport Beach

Garden Office
A rendering shows a proposed office building with an adjoining parking garage on Riverside Avenue in Newport Beach.
(Courtesy of city of Newport Beach)

The Newport Beach Planning Commission put off a decision Thursday on a proposed office building and parking garage off the Mariner’s Mile corridor because of neighbors’ concerns about traffic, noise and light.

A 2,830-square-foot, two-story office building with suites for one or two tenants, plus a 47-space, two-level parking garage would replace a larger, circa-1962 office building and small surface lot at 215 Riverside Ave., about a block off West Coast Highway at Avon Street.

The project also is designed to provide additional parking for a shopping center under the same ownership just across Avon. According to city code, the office building needs only 12 parking spaces, giving it a 35-space surplus if the garage doesn’t serve other buildings — though the builder’s representatives say it can operate independently.

But Charles Klobe, speaking for residents of the neighboring Newport Heights Improvement Assn., said the commission’s decision needs to be made in tandem with a potential new restaurant in the shopping center across Avon. The restaurant is under separate city consideration and wasn’t on Thursday’s agenda.

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Not considering the office/garage project and the restaurant together could lead to a neighbors’ challenge of any city-issued development and use permits, based on cumulative traffic, noise or light effects on the adjacent residential area, Klobe said.

City staff has determined that the office/garage project, by itself, would not have a significant impact.

On city staff’s suggestion, the commission agreed to take up the office project again at its Sept. 19 meeting, after staff has further analyzed potential neighborhood impacts.

Susan Hori, an attorney for the landowner, 215 Riverside LLC, said neighbors who responded to an open house about the plan were supportive of the project’s aesthetics and infusion of what they believe is needed parking.

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