Zoning changes possible

Daily Pilot

Newport Beach planning officials will hold an informal public meeting at 6:30 p.m. tonight to address homeowners' questions about proposed zoning changes that could affect the size and shape of homes citywide.

The changes would affect existing dwellings and the dimensions of future dwellings, according to a city press release.

"As a practical matter, it's not going to make much difference in giving more volume or less volume," City Planning Director David Lepo said. "But we know that when you're building your home and you're worried about your $2 million investment, every foot counts."

The current zoning code sets limits based on the building volume and square footage of a property, or by what's called the floor-area-ratio.

The new code would require that additional measurements be considered, Lepo said.

These new measurements would include what his department has loosely termed "open space." This area includes the space around and above the home and up to the property's boundary lines.

Lepo suggested that the best way to define "open space" is to think of a home as a shoe box inside a larger packing box.

All the space that is not used by the shoe box within the packing box is considered "open."

However, the boundary lines as well as height limitations above the property vary by neighborhood. That's where things get tricky, Lepo said.

The Planning Department invites anyone with questions or concerns to come to the meeting on Thursday.

Lepo said he wants residents to feel comfortable and able to share their thoughts and concerns with the department.

"Ninety-nine percent of these calculations and technical jargon are new to people; you don't learn it unless your planning your home," Lepo said. "We expect to get real specific as to what, as a homeowner, this means to you."

Homeowners can read the proposed changes on the city's website.

A public hearing on this issue and other components of the zoning code is scheduled for June 15.

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