Newport council vote allocates additional dredging funds

The Newport Beach City Council voted Tuesday to allocate an additional $3.9 million to dredging the harbor's shallowest spots, bringing the total project to $10.4 million, including federal funds.

Some of the remaining sediment is contaminated with chemicals that cannot be sunk in the open ocean. The city has been dumping some similar material at the Port of Long Beach, which is using the dirt for a construction project. But the port recently told the city that it is full at the moment.

Harbor Resources Manager Chris Miller said he believes the city and the port can work out a deal to accept the additional 15,000 cubic yards of contaminated muck. Otherwise, the city would be stuck with expensive inland disposal.


Proposed Marina Park lighthouse

In other matters, the council voted to change its land-use plan to allow a 73-foot-tall faux lighthouse at the planned Marina Park community sailing center.

Neighbors of the park on the Balboa Peninsula, and some members of the California Coastal Commission, have said that the lighthouse would set a bad precedent by exceeding the 35-foot height limit for waterside buildings.

"We feel a 73-foot tower is overkill," said Elliott Bonn, who lives across Balboa Boulevard from the proposed park.

The city narrowly tailored the change to allow the exception only at Marina Park. Officials also agreed to house some sort of communications or emergency equipment in the lighthouse, such as a tsunami warning siren.


Newport Center residences

The council voted unanimously to accept an Irvine Co. plan that would increase the number of residences allowed to be built in Newport Center, the area that includes and surrounds Fashion Island.

Newport's General Plan allows 430 residences in north Newport Center, and the Irvine Co. asked the city to permit an additional 94 units, for a total of 524 apartments or condominiums. Most of the additional development rights were transferred from the nearby Marriott Hotel's site, which had approval for more hotel rooms than were actually built.

All the residences would be built in the area surrounding the Orange County Museum of Art, land that is covered with parking lots and an office park.

In exchange for the added development rights, the Irvine Co. agreed to pay the city $5.9 million in general development fees, and $2.4 million specifically for parks.


Arts commissioner appointed

Also, the council voted to appoint a new member to the City Arts Commission. Caroline Logan has been a docent at both the Orange County Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She studied art in Paris and Los Angeles, and has lived in Newport Beach for more than 50 years.

Logan replaces Robyn Grant, who was appointed to the Library Board of Trustees in June. Grant is Councilman Steve Rosansky's sister.

Twitter: @mreicher

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