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Newport construction parking plan takes a detour amid council concerns

Newport construction parking plan takes a detour amid council concerns
One-off home construction in Newport Beach, like this project on the Balboa Peninsula, can squeeze limited neighborhood parking. The city proposed more rules, including for when builders could work and for how long. (File Photo)

A plan to control neighborhood parking crunches resulting from home rebuilding and remodeling is going back to the drawing board in Newport Beach.

The City Council considered proposed rule additions Tuesday night that would tighten when and how long builders could work and require builders to make more project information available. The plan was intended to address problems resulting from construction workers filling on-street parking spaces at the expense of residents.

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But Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill suggested the plan was too one-size-fits-all and that although some protocols would be welcome in dense, older neighborhoods closest to the ocean — such as Balboa Island, the Balboa Peninsula and Corona del Mar — streets further inland, where lots are larger, may not need the same amount of regulation.

The city had 2,467 active building permits of all types as of Wednesday, with a total valuation of $645.6 million. Corona del Mar had the most, followed closely by the Balboa Peninsula and Lido Isle.

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With those projects come workers — contractors and subcontractors in fleets of trucks, plus large bins to hold construction waste — who often park on the street, crowding out neighbors.

One-off home construction is particularly common in Newport. A city-maintained map of the permits shows them clustered on residential streets, and neighbors have long been aware of the effects.

Mayor Diane Dixon lives on the densely populated Lido Isle, where multiple projects are hammering away simultaneously, she said.

“I can see from my front door five different projects — demo projects, not just remodeling,” she said. “In fact, I want to make that clear. We’re not talking remodeling.”

But in neighborhoods like Newport Coast, which is in O’Neill’s district, the lots are bigger, existing homeowners association rules on parking can be strict enough and problems seem fewer, he said.

The city’s four-pronged proposal, which staff will tweak and return to the council this spring, included:

  • Requiring projects to be completed within five years. The city currently doesn’t have a time limit for finishing construction.

  • Barring “loud noise construction activity” on Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This is when parking is most congested citywide as visitors flock to the beach and harbor and cars spill from parking lots and metered spaces onto residential streets. The city already bars construction on Sundays year-round.

  • Requiring builders to develop a construction parking management plan — including the number of vehicles expected at the site, additional off-street parking locations and material delivery schedules — before receiving a building permit. Only new construction — scraping a plot to rebuild — would require the plan. Remodels would not.

  • Requiring that signage listing contact information be posted on fencing at the site.

The council agreed that construction needs a time limit, and Councilman Marshall “Duffy” Duffield suggested something tighter.

“Five years to build a house — that’s a long, long time,” he said. “Three years is a long time.”

Steering committee applications reopen

Two more seats are now available on the citizen steering committee for the city’s update to its general plan, its long-term planning and development guideline.

The City Council agreed this month to expand the committee from five members to seven after criticism that the group didn’t reflect local sentiments about development.

The steering committee is tasked with giving input on a request for proposals from consultants that would prepare the updated general plan. The consultant is expected to be in place this summer.

The committee will disband after the council selects a consultant and will not directly guide the plan’s content. That task will fall to another committee that will be appointed later this year and is expected to have at least 25 members.

The full general plan update process is expected to take about three years.

For more information about the steering committee, visit bit.ly/2tECsWH.

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