Council Raises Questions About Proposed Mariners Mile Redevelopment Project

Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery filed a call for review for a proposed project to redevelop a vacant marine sales facility into a boutique auto showroom and 35-unit residential complex.

NEWPORT BEACH— The Newport Beach City Council has flagged several concerns with a redevelopment project on Mariners Mile, including parking requirements and compliance of the project with the city’s general plan.

The proposed project at 2510 and 2530 W. Coast Highway would replace Bayport Yachts with a mixed-use development consisting of a residential complex with 35 units, three of which would be low-income affordable units, and an 11,266-square-foot boutique auto showroom. Bayport Yachts had been in the location since 1960 but the site has been vacant since January, according to a staff report.

City of Newport Beach photo

The project received Planning Commission approval in February but Mayor Brad Avery filed a call for review due to public concerns related to potential impacts from the project, including impaired views.

“This is important because it really is part of what happens next in Mariners Mile,” said Avery at the April 27 City Council meeting.

The City Council reviewed the project at its April 27 meeting and voted 4-1, with councilmembers Noah Blom and Duffy Duffield recusing themselves and Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon voting no, to continue the discussion to the May 25 meeting.

“I’d really like to have a much better understanding of the parking issues, the design element issues from an objective, subjective standard and then density bonus issues as well,” said Councilmember Will O’Neil, who made the motion to continue the discussion.

During more than an hour of public comments, concerns about public views were echoed as well as about traffic, parking, the modern aesthetic, and the project not fitting with the city’s general plan for the Mariners Mile area.

“I believe the community, the feedback that I have received and including myself, is that there is a huge aesthetic problem with this project, it does not represent nautical, it does not represent Mariners Mile,” said one commenter.

The project team contended there would be no impacts to views from John Wayne Park, presenting visual simulations to show what those views would look like, and that the project was in compliance with all city rules.

“All we’ve tried to do as a developer is to follow the rules that are set by city of Newport Beach… we’ve worked with the city for two years,” said Mark Moshayedi, who owns the property.

The Council also wrestled with density bonuses and the Housing Accountability Act, which prevents the city from reducing or rejecting the density of a project if it meets objective general plan and zoning standards unless the city makes written findings showing evidence that the project will have a specific, adverse impact on public health and safety.

For years the city has grappled with the plans for what the small harbor-themed village along a 1.3-mile stretch of Coast Highway known as Mariners Mile will look like in the future. Once filled with marine-related businesses, it has steadily evolved to include more boutique stores, restaurants, luxury car dealerships, and other commercial uses.

“I think the residents who have spoken tonight have hopes and aspirations for a Mariners Mile that sort of meets the dream, if you will, and the dream’s not perfect and the dream’s not going to be perfect, but it is going to get built and I would just like to see, speaking for myself, just a better partnership between the community and the developers of these really iconic properties,” said Avery.

The property is one of several in Mariners Mile planned for redevelopment.

Staff note: This article was update to correct two misspellings of the aesthetic

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