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Mariners Mile development heads to Newport Beach City Council

A view of Mariner's Mile looking south along Pacific Coast Highway.
A view of Mariner’s Mile looking south along Pacific Coast Highway.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

A mixed-use project on Mariners Mile took one step forward with approvals from the Newport Beach Planning Commission, but will be taking one step back to council chambers this upcoming Tuesday.

The proposed project, which will replace an existing marine sales facility at 2510 and 2530 W. Coast Highway with a development that is slated to include three stories of 35 residential units and a one-story 11,266-square-foot boutique auto showroom, was approved by the Planning Commission in February.

But the project is being pulled for additional review by Mayor Brad Avery, who said residents reached out to him, raising concerns about the obstruction of views and the potential for increasing traffic in residential neighborhoods.

Avery said Thursday many residents have told him that they didn’t believe the renderings were accurate to the proposal.

“The reason I pulled it was so [the City] Council could once again review this project, but also I would like to help the residents feel more comfortable and help them determine exactly what the impacts might be,” said Avery, adding that he’d like to see the applicant put up story poles to help people get a sense of the project’s physical height.

The project — also referred to by its location by residents — is one of several developments expected to come down the pipeline for Mariners Mile, which is a 1.3-mile-long stretch of Pacific Coast Highway that stretches between Newport Boulevard and Dover Drive. The Newport Village project is another mixed-use development that is expected to take up roughly a third of it.

Efforts to revitalize the area began in 2011 with the Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Master Plan, but stalled in 2017 in response to community pushback. Peggy Palmer, a treasurer for the Coalition to Protect Mariners Mile, noted the 2510 W. Coast Highway project is the first mixed-use development to come to the area since the city’s last general plan update, a document that guides long-term local planning and zoning decisions, in 2006.

Newport Beach is currently undergoing the process to update its general plan and the item could return upon its completion.

“It’s a harbinger of things to come and for many years, that particular area of Mariners Mile — we call it the Ardell property,” said Avery, in reference to Ardell Investment Co. which owned about eight acres of Mariners Mile until Manouch and Mark Moshayedi purchased the property holdings in 2016. Mark Moshayedi is also the applicant for the 2510 W. Coast Highway project.

“The whole area’s been underdeveloped for many years. That’s created a zone where there’s open space and unconstrained views of the harbor,” said Avery. “So, eventually as development goes forward in this area, these spaces are going to fill up and there’ll be more traffic, some view loss and that’s the issue here.”

“People are concerned about it and it’s a change for the community and so any time you have a change on this scale which is fairly large for this small area, people are concerned,” he added.

Avery said he pulled the project in March for review. Residents would have had to spend money to appeal the decision by the Planning Commission, but Avery said he decided to pull it on their behalf.

“I’m not judging the development here and the owners of the properties in Mariners Mile have development rights and so I understand that. The community understands that, but they just want to be sure that there is minimum disruption to the views,” said Avery. “This is about ... knowing [residents have] done everything they can to protect what they should rightfully have access to.”

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