City Council passes several measures for Uptown Newport project

The Newport Beach City Council took a significant step to move forward with plans for a mixed-use development Tuesday night, passing a spate of measures laying regulatory groundwork for the the Uptown Newport project.

In a unanimous vote, members certified an environmental impact report for the project, approved a tentative tract map for the 25-acre site in the airport area, agreed to amend city zoning regulations to accommodate the project and approved a development agreement with the Irvine-based Shopoff Group.

The project, which will redevelop an industrial site near Jamboree Road and MacArthur Boulevard, is slated to include 1,244 residential units, 11,500 square feet of retail use and two acres of public park space. Construction, according to a staff presentation, will be broken into two phases, the first of which would start this year and continue until 2018. The second is anticipated to take place from 2017 to 2021.

The council also took a final step to overrule an Airport Land Use Commission for Orange County determination that the development was inconsistent with the Airport Environs Land Use Plan for the John Wayne Airport. Previously, the council had voted to indicate its intent to overrule the determination as part of a two-step process.

Tuesday, city staff said the California Department of Transportation — which, according to Councilwoman Leslie Daigle, essentially acts as the commission's "boss" — had indicated that it agreed with the city's overruling of the determination.

Council members commended city staff and the developer for pulling together a project that will bring new vitality to the area — a goal set in the city's general plan in 2006.

"I would like to applaud the applicant for bringing forward what I think is a very exciting project to the airport area," said Mayor Pro Tem Rush Hill. "I would also like to congratulate the Planning Commission."

Mayor Keith Curry added that development fees generated by the project will be a boon for the city.

Still, as Daigle noted, the vetting process for Uptown Newport is far from over.

Various aspects of the project, from landscaping to facade designs, will have to go before the planning commission.

And other matters, including whether the area will be annexed into Newport-Mesa Unified School District from Santa Ana Unified, have yet to be resolved.

The council also voted to repeal a number of city laws deemed to be outdated or redundant as part of a year-long review of Newport's municipal code.

Twitter: @jillcowan

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World