Breakdown of the approved City Hall plans

Proposed community center is most controversial part, though the council decided to study the "community center needs" in West Newport.

February 01, 2011|By Mike Reicher,
(Courtesy William…)

NEWPORT BEACH — During a five-month planning process, the Newport Beach City Council held public hearings and refined its plans to find a new use for the City Hall site.

The 4-acre parcel at 32nd Street and Newport Boulevard is part of the greater Lido Village area, which has been economically stagnant for years. The City Council approved a tentative master plan for the entire Village at last week's council meeting.

While it's still early in the process, here are some of the major components the council approved for the City Hall land:


Conversation about residential development ranged from "assisted living" for seniors to "workforce housing" for the janitors, restaurant workers and others who might work in Newport but cannot afford to live here.

Many residents who spoke at City Council meetings criticized senior housing on the site, saying its inhabitants wouldn't be lively enough to rejuvenate the Lido Village area.


The City Council voted to include about 85 units of "market-rate" housing. This means In other words, the city will most likely sign a long-term ground lease with an apartment developer to build luxury apartments.

Community Center

This was the most controversial aspect of the plan. On one end of the spectrum is Councilman Steve Rosansky, who said the city should build a spectacular civic center for future generations to use.

On the other end is Councilman Ed Selich, who doubts any such public center is necessary and that the city might be better suited — and more frugal — with expanded housing or retail development.

"Every square foot that you build as a community center you're in essence taking away from the profitability of the site," said Councilman Rush Hill.

The city's architects drew up a two-story building with multipurpose meeting rooms and an art gallery. A rendering shows an eclectic mix of styles, including art deco accents and a portion of the building inspired by Newport's wooden lifeguard towers.

City Manager Dave Kiff said that West Newport could use a gymnasium there. He proposed a building similar to the 15,000-square-foot Newport Coast Community Center, which has an indoor basketball court.

The council decided to study the "community center needs" in West Newport and compare them with community centers that are either open or planned. The proposed Marina Park Development, for example, includes multipurpose rooms and classrooms. It would be about one mile down the Balboa Peninsula from Lido Village.

Fire station

Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles