City Council supports preliminary plans for Lower Castaways parcel

NEWPORT BEACH – The last remaining waterfront parcel on the bay received support from the City Council to undergo a potential renovation that would transform the site into a hub for biking, hiking and boating activities.

During a May 27 City Council Study Session, councilmembers supported plans for the 4-acre site presented by Harbor Commissioner David Girling who leads the Lower Castaways subcommittee.

A pier, a grand staircase that would connect Upper Castaways to the Lower Castaways, a boat launch, a biking and parking hub, restrooms and an L-shaped dock are proposed for the site.

Girling explained that the parcel would need to be rezoned from a commercial marina to recreational use. The land is also a Marine Protected Area (MPA), which protects against any development or use that would kill wildlife, requiring the project to also be approved by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“I’m very much in favor of moving forward,” said Councilman Mike Henn.

Don Webb, former councilman and resident, shared his support for the project and the connectivity that will be provided by the grand staircase.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to go forward with an extension of the Castaways Park,” he said.

City Council will vote on appropriating funding towards the project at a regularly scheduled meeting. If approved, the subcommittee will pursue several studies such as traffic patterns, parking access and bulkhead studies.

The project requires formal approval from City Council, the California Coastal Commission and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

A Lower Castaways Subcommittee meeting will be scheduled for the week of June 16 to discuss the project’s next steps.

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