Newport Beach City Council may override O.C. Airport Land Use Commission for residential projects

A rendering of the Residences at 1400 Bristol Street project.
A rendering of the Residences at 1400 Bristol Street project, which is proposed to be located at the northwest corner of Bristol and Spruce streets.
(Courtesy of the city of Newport Beach)

The Newport Beach City Council this week unanimously approved resolutions announcing its intent to override Orange County Airport Land Use Commission determinations for two residential projects.

The two projects — Residences at 1400 Bristol Street and Residences at 1401 Quail Street — were approved in December by the city’s Planning Commission. Both projects require demolition of existing office buildings at their sites, which are located in the “airport area,” which encompasses properties near John Wayne Airport and close to the Irvine Business Complex and UC Irvine.

According to staff reports prepared for the December Planning Commission meetings, the Residences at 1400 Bristol Street project is proposed by the Picerne Group to have 229 apartment units on top of a 422-space parking structure. There will also be a pedestrian bridge to connect it to nearby 1300 Bristol Street, another project proposed by the same applicant.


The Quail Street project will have 67 condominium units and a 146-space parking structure, according to applicant Intracorp Homes.

Both projects would add much-needed housing units in the city, which is on the hook to plan and accommodate for 4,834 housing units within the next decade by the Southern California Assn. of Governments.

The city overrode a previous determination by the county Airport Land Use Commission in September on amendments to edit the city’s land use, noise elements and zoning codes to allow for housing in the area last September — a move that residents criticized as short-sighted, but city staff and the City Council at the time agreed was necessary. The airport zone is one of five places where housing could potentially be built to meet the city’s needs.

Resident and city watchdog Jim Mosher cautioned against the resolution, pointing out the possibility for city liability in the event that something should impact future residents in the airport’s footprint. Mayor Will O’Neill said that the city and commission sometimes had “different priorities.”

The intent to override will now be filed with the O.C. Airport Land Use Commission and a public hearing is tentatively scheduled for April. City spokesman John Pope confirmed that the project approvals will go hand in hand with that hearing.

Neither developer was available for immediate comment Thursday.