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Newport rejects antenna request

NEWPORT BEACH — The City Council officially rebuffed a cell phone antenna company Tuesday night when it rejected its applications to install five antenna poles across town. NextG Networks, a San Jose-based company, would not comment in anticipation of the vote, but it has a record of challenging the legality of other municipal denials.

“I would not be surprised if we got a lawsuit,” Leonie Mulvihill, assistant city attorney, said before the meeting.

NextG had proposed to attach its antennas to city-owned streetlights and other city-owned poles, but changed its application when the city asked for $1,500 per month for each attachment.

Instead, the distributed antenna system company proposed to install five new poles in the public right-of-way, in places stretching from West Newport to Corona del Mar. It also applied to attach two antennas to Southern California Edison utility poles.


The City Council denied the five new poles but approved those two Edison permits on July 6; Tuesday night’s vote made it official.

In other council news:

•Dogs will be able to walk on the beach during all hours of the winter if the council adopts regulations made Tuesday. After five residents advocated for their pets, the City Council voted 5 to 2 to permit pets on public beaches during winter months.

Currently, dogs and other animals are prohibited from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the entire year. The new regulations would maintain those hours between May 15 and Sept. 15, but would allow dogs on the beach all other times.


•The Balboa Theater will have to meet restoration design and construction milestones if the council approves changes it discussed Tuesday to the theater’s lease agreement. The city, which owns the theater building, granted the theater foundation $175,000 in June to assist in completing its designs. At the time, at least one council member requested that the city add conditions to its 25-year lease to ensure the long-stalled project is completed.

“My philosophy behind putting road marks is not to penalize the theater, but to create a sense of urgency,” Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said.

The lease amendment would impose a timetable, beginning in March 2011 with the completion of construction drawing. Construction would be slated to be completed 18 months after the city issues building permits.

•To determine what the city should do with the current City Hall site, the council approved a contract to study the best use of the land and its surroundings. The city and two nearby landowners plan to each contribute $25,000 to develop alternative proposals for the area.

One of the proposals will include a public use of the City Hall land (such as a park) and the alternative would have a mix of private uses (residential, retail, etc.).

Once it has the two proposals, the city plans to elicit public comments. Tuesday night’s vote committed the city to the land-planning process.