NEWPORT BEACH — Looking to jump-start revitalization on Mariner's Mile, the City Council on Tuesday approved the Mariner's Pointe commercial development, overturning a Planning Commission recommendation and setting aside neighbors' complaints.
"This building sets the theme for the quality of what we're looking for," said Councilman Rush Hill, who represents the area. "This is what we asked for and we're starting to get it."
But residents who live above the project at West Coast Highway and Dover Drive said they thought the project was too big for the narrow parcel, and that its patrons' car lights and noise would intrude on their lives.
The one neighbor on the bluff above who was satisfied with the proposal is former Mayor Tod Ridgeway, who clarified Tuesday that he is the project developer.
Others at the council meeting said they were disheartened by the long-vacant and decrepit building on the site today. Some of them were friends of the property owners, Glenn and Eva Verdult, and others were Newport residents who were just tired of seeing Christmas tree salesmen and homeless people who use the high-profile property.
"It's tragic to see that property. It looks like a dump," said resident Nancy Moran-Sanchez, 77, who liked the new plans because they looked like a "little village."
Council members and city staff members said they were satisfied with the architecture of the roughly 20,000-square-foot, two-story building and its three-story parking garage. They also thought the project's roof would shield the residents from noise and would have minimal glare.
Councilman Ed Selich proposed amendments to the plan to ensure the city is "getting what we buy into when looking at these pretty pictures."
Along West Coast Highway, the drawings show elaborate landscaping and some sort of fountain or other water feature. The plans allow for restaurants, shops, office space and possibly a bank.