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Newport council OKs plan to remove some Balboa Island trees and test others

Balboa Island trees
Eucalyptus trees shade Marine Avenue on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.
(File Photo)

The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday accepted the parks commission’s recent decision on Marine Avenue tree removal plans with little discussion.

The commission voted last week to remove four eucalyptus trees that arborists on both sides of a heated debate agreed are in the worst condition, test the stability and health of six additional trees that appear distressed, and uproot three mismatching non-eucalyptus trees along the cozy boulevard of mom-and-pop shops and cafes on Balboa Island.

All the empty tree spaces will be refilled with young eucalyptuses.

“I would like to thank the Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission for listening to the residents of Balboa Island especially,” said Councilman Kevin Muldoon, a strong supporter of residents seeking to preserve the iconic eucalyptus trees on the island’s main street. He also was critical of city staff’s handling of the matter.

Memorial benches to come without plaques

Memorial bench
Two benches with names inscribed on tribute plaques sit on a bluff in Corona del Mar.
(Hillary Davis)
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City-maintained memorial benches, trees and other park, beach and street fixtures in Newport Beach will now come without plaques bearing names and dedication messages.

The council on Tuesday unanimously approved a revised policy to discontinue plaques, increase the maintenance fee for donated items to half the estimated cost of upkeep over 10 years and give the city the option to remove or replace items after a decade, especially if they’ve become worn.

The council approved the changes with no discussion.

The new rules came about after city staff realized that donated amenities required a significant and unanticipated amount of time and money to install and maintain, and some areas were becoming crowded with placements.

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Donors typically underwrite trees or benches with dedication plaques in honor of friends and family members at parks, beaches, trails and streets. Other amenities can include drinking fountains, picnic tables and barbecue grills.

The council suspended the donation program last year so the Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission could work with staff to update regulations.

Vivante Senior Living

A senior-living facility planned for the former site of the Orange County Museum of Art unanimously got the final approvals it needs to build.

The six-story Vivante Senior Living development will replace the former OCMA structures at 850-856 San Clemente Drive 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.

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