Staff was recommending support of the plans, requesting that some lower decks and a swimming pool be changed and moved in from the water. A dock portion of the AERIE plans was withdrawn; staff had suggested denying that part of the project.
Several commissioners, however, said they remained unconvinced about the scope of the project, despite staff comments praising Julian's efforts to reduce plans from a year ago when commissioners voted 7 to 5 against it. The new plans reduce grading by 55% but still required a cut of 11,460 cubic yards.
"This is, in fact, major bluff alteration," said Commissioner Mark Stone. "They are hollowing out the bluff. I continue to struggle with that … I think this is asking for too much here … I don't know why it needs to be that large."
Commissioner Bruce Reznik, who is new and didn't vote on AERIE last year, agreed.
"There is a lot to like about the project," he said. "I agree there is a project here … It's absurd to think it's not going to be precedent-setting. In the end, I don't think this conforms to the community character."
Holiday House Liquor Store closes
Holiday House Liquor at 2937 E. Coast Hwy. has closed, with a for-lease sign posted nearby and a notice in the window announcing the shop would reopen soon.
"Holiday House will relocate next to Starbucks April 1, 2011, Thanks!" the notice says.
The sign did not indicate which Starbucks would be the liquor store's new neighbor. A leasing agent for a vacant property near the Corona del Mar Starbucks said that no one had signed a lease for that space, including Holiday House.
Cycle Safety Committee discusses signs
Newport Beach could soon see signs advising cyclists to watch their downhill speeds on hills like Spyglass and Ridge Park Road, as well as signs that remind motorists and cyclists to share road space.