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AERIE plans go back to Coastal Commission

City staff partially OKs luxury condos at Ocean Boulevard and Carnation Avenue.

March 07, 2011|By Amy Senk, Corona del Mar Today

CORONA DEL MAR — After the Coastal Commission denied approval of the AERIE project last spring, developer Richard Julian downsized plans and is going back before the agency on Wednesday, with a staff report recommending partial approval of the luxury condominiums to be built on the corner of Ocean Boulevard and Carnation Avenue.

But the project, some say, is still too big and will cause too much damage to the coastal bluff, according to letters sent to the Coastal Commission. Others say the plans are incomplete and use faulty measurements, and that the construction noise and traffic will bother neighbors and keep families from safely walking to the beach.

The commission's staff report includes copies of the letters, including 16 in support and 18 opposed; one letter in opposition, however, was signed by 24 residents.

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The staff report recommends that the Coastal Commission deny approval for replacing an existing two-slip floating dock structure with a seven-slip floating dock and guest side-tie, stating the docks wouldn't conform with the Coastal Act and would have "significant adverse effects on the environment."

Staff is recommending approval of the buildings, which they describe as "demolition of an existing 13,688 square-foot, four-level, 14-unit apartment while retaining an on-grade stairway on the bluff face, demolition of a 2,810 square foot single-family residence and construction of a new 51,177 square foot, seven-unit, 32-feet tall, five-level condominium structure with 18 parking spaces and common amenities including a fitness facility, meeting room, patio, pool and spa; hardscape and landscaping."

In April, Julian presented an eight-unit proposal with an elevator garage, which would have required a cut of 25,240 cubic yards. The Coastal Commission voted 7 to 5 against the plans, which several commissioners said involved too much excavation.

"The applicant has worked with Commission staff to modify the project for Commission review," the report states.

The new plans reduce grading by 55% to 11,460 cubic yards.

To some, however, that's still too much.

"It proposes to cut into the natural landform of the Corona del Mar coastal bluff, forever altering a natural resource that has been in its place for millions of years," wrote Joann Lombardo of Newport Beach.

Other letter writers mentioned a recent slope failure on Carnation Avenue that severed a city sewer line.

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