Construction on Newport Harbor’s long-awaited Marina Park project is about to begin, bringing the city a brand-new public marina, a guest dock, a sailing center and a waterfront park with access to a bayfront beach. It’s also bringing something else to Newport Harbor: a 71-foot-tall “faux lighthouse.”
The 71-foot-tall part is real. It’s the “light” part that’s faux.
The contemporary-design structure was created to provide an iconic nautical-style focal point for the park, although it will not be nautical enough to provide a real navigation beacon. Still, the tall structure will provide some use to boaters as an identifiable landmark, and few objections have been raised about its lack of a light.
Initially, the only major objection was raised by California Coastal Commission member Esther Sanchez, who questioned the public safety of building an unlighted lighthouse, even if the structure is designed to be “translucent.”
“I question the public safety aspect of this … It just seems like more visual clutter than anything else,” Sanchez said of the proposed faux lighthouse structure. “I’ve tried to think of it in a positive way, and I can’t.”
That didn’t stop the Coastal Commission from ultimately approving the project — which is a very good thing for Newport Beach, as the Marina Park project offers many more positive attributes for boaters and other locals alike.