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Newport zoning code revisions approved

A controversial regulation limiting home sizes was kept in accordance with pre-existing code's formula.

October 13, 2010|By Mike Reicher, mike.reicher@latimes.com

NEWPORT BEACH — Settling years of deliberation over rules that govern the city's appearance and land use, the City Council voted Tuesday night to approve a revised zoning code.

One of the most contentious issues the council decided was a regulation that limited the size of homes. The council voted to keep the existing code's formula, which has a uniform citywide calculation of floor-area limits, instead of varying rules for each neighborhood.

Throughout a prolonged public review process, some in the community also protested the diminishing marine businesses in the city. City Council candidate Rush Hill, speaking as a resident, requested that the council add a sentence to the zoning code that would encourage marine uses be built along Mariner's Mile.

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The code already had some language to that effect, but Hill said, "There are some that believe one of the byproducts of the new zoning code is the discouragement of marine activity on Mariner's Mile."

Hill was referring to a new mixed-use designation on Mariner's Mile that would allow for condominiums and apartments to be built on West Coast Highway. Some in the boating community have argued that landowners would be able to get much more money from residential developers and would have less of an economic incentive to build or lease space for marine businesses.

Hill suggested that the council add a line that says, "Design of the nonresidential space to facilitate marine use is encouraged." The council agreed.

Another zoning issue the council settled Tuesday concerned basements. When the city sets the maximum size of a home in the new zoning code, it will not account for the space in full-size basements. For instance, someone would be allowed to build a 4,000-square-foot house according to the size of the lot and other factors, and then build an additional 1,000-square-foot basement.

The council will cast a final vote on the zoning code at its Oct. 26 regular meeting.

In other action:

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