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Groups to keep city up to 'Newport Beach standards'

'Working groups' in various neighborhoods will devise plans with improvement recommendations.

April 08, 2011|By Mike Reicher, mike.reicher@latimes.com

NEWPORT BEACH — What constitutes "Newport Beach standards" may depend on one's perspective.

Consider the residents of the Beach and Bay Mobile Home Park, near the Santa Ana River, and the owners of multi-million dollar oceanfront homes on Seashore Drive.

Soon, they may end up on the same city subcommittee and will have to find ways to solve their neighborhood's problems. The Neighborhood Revitalization Committee met for the first time this week, and officials are devising a list of under-performing areas and taking applications for citizen participants.

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"We'd like our entire city to function at that very high level of quality of life," said Mayor Mike Henn, who chairs the committee. "We unfortunately have some portions of this city that perhaps do not."

Some areas under consideration include:

•The current City Hall site on Newport Boulevard and Lido Marina Village

•Balboa Village, the area near the Balboa Pier and the Fun Zone

•Mariner's Mile

•The gateway to Corona del Mar at MacArthur Boulevard

•Bristol Road South in Santa Ana Heights

•West Newport, such as Balboa Boulevard from the Newport Pier to Coast Highway, and West

Coast Highway near the Santa Ana River.

The committee is comprised of three councilmen — Henn, Rush Hill and Ed Selich — and will soon have groups representing each of the areas. At the next meeting, the committee is expected to decide on which areas to study.

Each "working group" will be asked to devise a plan for its neighborhood. The group could make recommendations like how to best reconfigure streets, improve public parking and landscape medians.

In some instances, such as for Balboa Village, the group could recommend preferred commercial tenants based on economic studies, officials said.

"It's not that you want all high-dollar, but it doesn't seem to be the breadth of businesses possible [in Balboa Village]," said Councilwoman Nancy Gardner.

While Gardner has been involved in the Balboa Performing Arts Theater in Balboa Village, she represents Corona del Mar, which has considered reconfiguring Coast Highway near MacArthur Boulevard. That project might alleviate traffic jams and make the street friendlier for shoppers and diners.

Each subcommittee could have members of the local homeowners associations, business improvement districts, business owners and residents.

Hill said that projects coming out of the committee could be public, private or some sort of partnership between the two.

While the committee's monthly meetings will be announced beforehand, the three councilmen have the ability to meet without notifying the public and could involve local stakeholders in those closed-door meetings.

City officials plan to post citizen participant applications soon on the city website.

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