NEWPORT BEACH – The construction of a new public dock, restaurant and marine commercial building may begin sometime in 2016 as the Newport Beach Planning Commission approved the Balboa Marina West project’s Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) at the Oct. 2 meeting.
The 7-0 vote puts the Irvine Company’s plans to reconstruct the marina one step closer to being realized.
Located on 151 and 201 East Coast Highway, the project will expand on the existing Balboa Marina and construct a 19,400 square foot marine commercial building for a yacht brokerage office, public restrooms and a restaurant.
While the MND was approved for the waterside portion of the project, plans for land-side development have yet to be determined by the Irvine Company. The commission’s yes vote allows the waterside portion of the project to be processed while the land-side portion is being finalized, according to staff reports.
Presented to the Harbor Commission on Aug. 13, the joint project between the city of Newport Beach and the Irvine Company will transform the area where the Rueben E. Lee once floated. The vessel was removed in 2007.
Since that time, reconstruction of Balboa Marina was completed in 2009 with a total of 105 boat slips including four transient slips.
The most recent project will expand the public and private boat slips in Newport Harbor by providing a new public dock, complete with a gangway and 12 boat slips including eight new slips and four slips that will be relocated from the public dock from the existing private Balboa marina. In the marina, 24 private boat slips and a new gangway are proposed to be built.
A side tie dock will provide docking for two 60-foot boats.
The project will also feature a designated, lit pedestrian walkway that is separated from the marina and set back from residential uses. Dredging is required to accommodate the public and private docks and eelgrass mitigation is proposed on the site as the grass is present in the vicinity.
The amount of sand that needs to be dredged for the project will be determined by the California Coastal Commission, said Michael Lyster, vice president of communication for the Irvine Company.
Lyster explained that the Irvine Company will submit the waterside plan to the Coastal Commission in early 2015. The plan is expected to be completed by 2016.