Final election results showed 20,995 Newport Beach voters, or
66.6%, casting ballots against Measure L and a little more than half
that number -- 10,522 voters, or 33.4% -- supporting it.
The City Council will decide the fate of the property, and it will
likely involve either the public at large or one of two existing
committees -- the general plan update committee or a Marinapark ad
hoc committee of council members and staff.
Council members said the next step for Marinapark is to find out
what community members want on the property now that it's clear they
don't want a hotel.
"I think that one of our tasks is to look at what will be allowed
within the existing general-plan limits as far as recreation and open
space and go through a public planning process that will give the
citizens an opportunity to help plan the future of this site," said
Councilman Don Webb, who opposed Measure L.
Options for the property should be included in the general plan
update that's now underway and will probably be finished in 2006,
Councilman Steve Bromberg said. Bromberg supported Measure L, but now
that a hotel is out of the question, he'd like to see a water-related
use for the property, he said.
Protect Our Parks, a citizens' group that fought Measure L, has
suggested public-park uses for the land, but group spokesman Tom
Billings said he's avoided espousing a specific plan.
"Basically, the majority of the community felt very passionate and
strong that it was intrinsically wrong to give away public parkland
for commercial development," he said. "The next logical step, we've
been saying all along, is a community planning process with the
residents to work out the park design and plan.... That will occur as
soon as possible."
It's not clear whether the council would again request development
proposals, the process that led to the choice of hotel designer
Stephen Sutherland to develop a commercial project for Marinapark.
Mayor Tod Ridgeway said that's still a possibility.
"If it was up to me, singularly, I would ask for more commercial
proposals, [but] it's not," he said.
A mobile-home park occupies the property, but Ridgeway said it is
unlikely to remain. Officials have been waiting for direction from
the state on how much of the property is tidelands, which aren't
supposed to be used for private residences.
"I don't think there's any political will via the council or the
voters to let it remain a mobile-home park," Ridgeway said.
Some kind of public park may now be closer to reality, with
Measure L opponents pushing for it and Marinapark residents unlikely
to dig in their heels.
"This is the city's land, and they have the right to do what they
want," said John Rettberg, a former mobile-home park resident who
still owns a home there.
While some residents didn't think the hotel was right for the
property, he said, "We're not against the park or public usage if
that's what they want to do."
* ALICIA ROBINSON covers business, politics and the environment.
She may be reached at (714) 966-4626 or by e-mail at