Preserve our quality of life

Should Newport Beach remain a residential and beach community with a

high quality of life or become a high-density, congested city like

Santa Monica?

The latest proposed update to the city's general plan calls for

extensive developments and density increases that will turn us into

another Santa Monica. The current plan will create more than 20

unsatisfactory intersections in the city. Your trips to the

supermarket or to visit friends in the city will become increasingly


The city's actions appear to violate the intent of state law and

court rulings, including Concerned Citizens of Calaveras County vs.

the Board of Supervisors of Calaveras County (166 Cal App 3rd 90,

1985). The court ruled that Calaveras County could not proceed with

proposed new developments because its street system couldn't support


Why doesn't Newport Beach follow the court's ruling?

The city's approach to high density and traffic congestion in the

city also runs counter to a poll of 1,000 residents and 150

businesses. Those surveyed overwhelmingly desired to preserve the

city as a high-quality-of-life residential and beach community. Poll

respondents were opposed to enlarging the street system by creating

overpasses and wider, high-speed roads. Unfortunately, the city's

general plan update has taken no account of residents' wishes and in

fact is doing just the opposite of what is desired by the people.

In the year 2000, the Greenlight law was passed to stop 40,000

additional car trips per day from congesting our streets. The

Greenlight law has worked. The developments proposed at that time

were not needed and did not benefit the city. None of them have been

built, and you can still go to the supermarket or drive your children

to school in the city without being subjected to undue traffic


According to a traffic study prepared by city-retained traffic

engineers, the general-plan update projected by the city would add

approximately 190,000 average daily auto trips -- a 24% increase to

our already congested streets. That makes the proposed general plan

update five times worse than the previously proposed developments

rejected by voters.

Recently the city government was caught trying to avoid the

Greenlight law and bypass your right to vote on major projects

requiring a general-plan amendment. It took a lawsuit financed by

residents' contributions to stop them.

Now the city is trying a different way of bypassing this

growth-control law. The city is claiming that the current general

plan's authorized auto daily trips are reduced by 3.5% by their plan.

This is not a valid comparison because the authorized auto trips

under the current general plan are primarily in outlying or

uneconomical areas.

For example, the Banning Ranch has 2,735 dwelling units

authorized. This area on the far edge of the city has inadequate road

service, and because of pollution, environmental and other factors,

it will not be fully developed. The general-plan update proposes to

transfer hundreds of authorized Banning Ranch dwelling units to areas

such as Mariners Mile and Newport Center. The brunt of the additional

traffic would fall on already congested Pacific Coast Highway and

Newport Boulevard, as well as on MacArthur Boulevard and Jamboree

Road. We will all be subjected to that additional traffic congestion.

Transferring unused allowances under the present general plan to

already congested areas of the city is the basis for claims by the

city that it is actually reducing traffic. This is not a valid


What is needed is for the general plan update to zero out the

unused entitlements in the current general plan and then add a few

developments that are beneficial to the city -- for example, medical

offices for Hoag Hospital.

We in Newport Beach have a precious environmental jewel that we

should be preserving for our children and grandchildren, not turning

into another Santa Monica to benefit developers. Your actions to

oppose the general plan update and inform your neighbors of your

concerns are needed.

* PHILIP ARST is the spokesman for the Greenlight Residents'

Group. Further information may be obtained from


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