Council explores Sunset Ridge parking

As construction of Sunset Ridge Park gets underway, one question has been worrying city staff: Where will visitors park?

A possible solution emerged Tuesday, when staff explained during a Newport Beach City Council study session that a 64-space pay parking lot across the street from the park could become the location for a new West Newport Community Center, complete with a gym, pool and 300-space parking structure.

The center could link to the Sunset Ride Park via a sky bridge.

"It seems like there might be some really great synergy there," Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said.

Councilman Mike Henn suggested exploring the idea of creating a tram to and from Balboa Peninsula.

Residents expressed excitement about a new community center, but they cautioned that traffic could become a problem if too many amenities were jammed into one location.

"I don't think as a senior citizen I would have much luck fighting for a parking spot," Kenny Jo Rizzo said.

Others noted that beachgoers would probably use the garage as well.

George Schroeder cautioned council members to base their decision about the community center not on the temptation of a parking garage but on the location's own merits.

"Just build that bridge," George Schroeder said, "but don't use that enticement to sell you on this site."

Council members are considering space at the 16th street municipal yard as another option.


Newport Beach TV

City Council members asked for another look at a contract that would hand over the management of the city's cable television channel, Newport Beach TV, to Newport Beach and Co., an organization that markets the city.

The $150,000 agreement with the marketing group, approved in concept unanimously, would be an increase from the roughly $126,000 a year that the city currently spends on the station, according to a staff report. The city would retain ownership of the footage.

Founded in April 2007, the channel largely airs programming produced by the city, such as council meetings and local events. An average of 100 to 150 people tune in for the meetings, according to the report, making them the most watched NBTV program category.

Gardner questioned how the vast amount of footage would be reviewed by staff. She also cautioned against the idea of airing edited versions of council meetings.


Construction-related fees waived

Council members voted to waive fees related to home remodelings, including fees for plan reviews, building permits, planning, encroachment permits and Fire Department reviews.

Eligible projects include reroofing, new fences and pool installations, according to the city website. The fees will be waived on existing single-family and duplex homes for projects up to $1 million.

For a $42,000 residential remodel — the average value in Newport Beach — a property owner would save about $1,200 on building permit fees, according to the staff report.

Gardner and Councilwoman Leslie Daigle voted against the action, describing it as too narrow a benefit.

"I don't really see where the common good is," Daigle said.

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