Newport council to make appointments

City officials are shaking up the Newport Beach Aviation Committee and other citizens groups with long-standing community members.

Beginning at its regular meeting Tuesday, City Council members will begin replacing appointees, some of whom have served for more than 10 years.

The Aviation and Special Events Advisory committees and other such groups advise the council on specialized issues. Officials apparently established some of them without specifying terms for members, or made terms indefinite.

"We want to clean that up," said City Clerk Leilani Brown.

The Coastal/Bay Water Quality Citizens Advisory Committee, for instance, "has no specific date of termination," according to city records. Some of the members have been serving since 2003 without being reappointed.

On the Aviation Committee, four members resigned "in order to allow other residents an opportunity to serve," according to a staff report.

One had been on the committee since 1999. Another member was found to be living on the west side of the Back Bay, when her seat was reserved for the east side.

John Wayne Airport's flight path splits the Back Bay.


West Coast Highway acquisition

City administrators may give up trying to acquire West Coast Highway from the state. Already, the city controls the portion of East Coast Highway that runs through Corona del Mar, but the California Department of Transportation owns the stretch from the Santa Ana River to Jamboree Road.

Controlling the road would allow the city to more easily install custom landscaping, undertake construction projects, hold special events and synchronize traffic signals.

But buying the stretch of West Coast Highway would require too much maintenance and would expose the city to high liability from traffic accidents, according to a staff report. It would cost about $100,000. Public Works officials are recommending against taking over the stretch.

By contrast, they support the city's move to acquire a portion of Newport Boulevard from the state. The stretch from Finley Avenue to the north side of the Newport Channel Bridge would be worth its $20,000 cost, Public Works officials say, because they could lessen the severe bottleneck that forms in that area and projected maintenance and liability costs are not as steep.


Affordable-housing fee

A condominium developer has applied to pay a fee to satisfy the city's affordable-housing requirements.

The New Home Co. Southern California LLC plans to build 79 condominiums in Newport Center, on the site of the current Marriott tennis courts along Santa Barbara Drive. It bought the property from homebuilder Lennar, which in 2006 won approval for the development called the Santa Barbara Condominiums.

To fulfill its affordable-housing requirement, Lennar agreed to buy a 12-unit apartment complex near Westcliff Drive and lease the units to low-income residents, but the New Home Co. was unable to buy the complex, according to the staff report.

Instead, the company will pay the city about $1.6 million into an affordable-housing fund, and make another payment of $5 million, which can be used at the city's discretion.


Chickens are back

The council will also be discussing chickens in residential neighborhoods. A Corona del Mar man was found to be keeping hens in his yard in violation of city codes, and Mayor Nancy Gardner requested that the city consider changing its laws regarding poultry.

That discussion is planned for a 3:30 p.m. study session, before the regular 7 p.m. meeting.

Twitter: @mreicher

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