Zoning code topic of Tuesday meeting

After several years of redrafting and public meetings, a final version of a citywide update to the Newport Beach zoning code will be the subject of a public hearing Tuesday.

The latest version of the overhaul to the 2006 General Plan will keep existing floor plan limits for homes, but also include a modified version of a controversial "open space" provision.

This change is an adaptation from a July draft that had a larger requirement for "open volume," but had eliminated the floor area limits, said Jim Campbell, acting planning director.

The previous draft had not been approved by the commission, which voted 4 to 3 against it July 15.

Of those who voted against it, Commissioner Brad Hillgren said, "I think that we missed an opportunity to be creative," according to a Daily Pilot report.

A chief concern of residents was that the changes would make homes too large, while others thought the result would be homes that were too small, Campbell said.

To quell the confusion, planning commissioners have been working closely with residents, the City Council and other city staff, he said.

"The public process, in my opinion, has worked quite well," Campbell said of a two-year process of public feedback, open meetings and draft revisions. "That discussion and debate has led to changes and better understanding of the code."

Other changes in the zoning code would allow for mixed-use developments, new parking provisions and revised landscaping and noise standards.

Residents in planned communities — which make up most of the residential units in the city — will remain unaffected by residential changes, Campbell said.

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