The Newport Beach Planning Commission approved changes to former Mayor Tod Ridgeway's under-construction commercial development last week, increasing the height of some buildings that would already exceed the area's limits.
Mariner's Pointe, at West Coast Highway and Dover Drive, can now have a higher roof in some areas. In one instance, the plans are about 4 feet higher, but they would still be under the project's 40-foot limit approved by the City Council. The city's general plan limits buildings there at 31 feet.
The commission voted 4 to 1, with Commissioner Michael Toerge dissenting. Commissioners Tim Brown and Jay Myers were absent.
Residents living on the bluff behind the development complained that the council set a bad precedent for Mariner's Mile when the original height exception was made. Some said that the council was giving Ridgeway special treatment because of his political ties.
"I think that the whole thing is pretty well-greased before it gets going," said resident Jack Geerlings on Monday. "We should have had something much smaller."
A city staff report stated that the changes would fall within the limits set by the council. The revised plans also call for seven fewer parking spaces.
— Mike Reicher