Planners discuss changes

Newport Beach could see new 'open space' laws to reduce building volume that would mostly affect new homes citywide.

June 12, 2010|By Sarah Peters

A question-and-answer session with Newport Beach city planners on Thursday addressed proposed zoning changes.

A shift from the old zoning code, which measured dwellings based on the square-footage, will now add "open space" requirements intending to reduce building volume while maintaining a degree of flexibility for homeowners and architects, according to the presentation by the city Planning Department.

The informal meeting was an open invitation for all Newport Beach residents to come out and address their concerns before the public hearing on the subject Tuesday at City Hall.


Old Corona del Mar may see the largest impact of the new zoning code, while Balboa Island and planned communities will not see any changes relating to how floor area is measured, Planning Department Director David Lepo said Friday.

"Residents are very comfortable with current standards," Lepo said of Balboa Island, explaining that homes have "homogeneity in lot size and volume," which residents' associations asked to be protected during the changeover to the new code and were approved by the Planning Commission.

The move away from measuring based on set floor-area dimensions to new volume and "open space" requirements will not be that noticeable to homeowners and only affect new development projects (new dwellings and additions), he added.

At the public meeting, Principal Planner Jim Campbell presented a series of simplified graphs and graphics to an audience of roughly 40 Newport Beach homeowners.

Translating the relatively dense architectural concepts, Campbell explained that while total volume may decrease under the new zoning code, homeowners will actually see increased floor area.

Citywide, homeowners will see procedural changes, such as how roof height is measured. The change is intended to make inspections easier on the architects and the homeowners, Campbell said.

Other changes will include a requirement for a third covered space in a garage for dwellings with more than 4,000 square feet and an increased setback of 10 feet when the home is up against a narrow alley.

The new code will not stop homeowners from building a third floor or basements, Campell said.

However, the potential for increased cars worried Corona del Mar resident Karen Tringali.

"If you accommodate more parking, you'll have more cars, which leads to more traffic," she said.

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