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Corona del Mar Today: High school senior saves drowning man

October 22, 2011|By Amy Senk

"Officers quickly arrived and detained two females who were attempting to leave the area in a vehicle," she said.

Officers found stolen merchandise from a different store in Fashion Island in the vehicle, and both women were then arrested on suspicion of commercial burglary.

The loss from the Bath and Body Works shop was $553, Lowe said. The women, age 21 and 27, both had bail set at $20,000, according to arrest reports.

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Another commercial burglary was reported at 2:30 p.m. Oct. 14 at Urban Outfitters, according to a police report. That incident resulted in a loss of $239, but the items were recovered, the report states.

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Planning Commission reverses Ocean Boulevard lot merger

In a 6-1 vote Thursday, the Newport Beach Planning Commission overturned a zoning administrator's decision to merge two Ocean Boulevard lots after a 90-minute hearing.

"The impact here is significant," said Commissioner Michael Toerge. "It's not even a close call. It doesn't serve the neighborhood at all."

Commissioner Bradley Hillgren agreed.

"It's completely inconsistent with what was intended there," he said. "I could not support this at all."

The city's zoning administrator last month approved the merger of two lots at 2808 and 2812 Ocean Blvd. But neighbors appealed that decision, saying it would lead to the construction of a home that would violate a 1951 agreement that limits to one story the height of three Ocean Boulevard lots.

Two homeowners who are part of the agreement live on Ocean Lane, and they testified that their views would be obliterated.

"I feel as if I've aged unspeakably in the past six months," said Joan Campbell. "All I ask is to keep my view. I don't have that many years left. I'm almost 85."

"I wake up at night and I can't sleep," said Alberta Silva. "I worry about our lives and possibly our health."

Newport Beach staff has said that the city does not enforce private agreements among homeowners. The agreement in question dates back to 1951 and limits three Ocean Boulevard homes to one story in exchange for an easement from two rear Ocean Lane homes that give garage access.

The owner of the two lots, John Guida, attended the hearing. When the commissioners asked if he wanted to speak, he agreed.

"We're just trying to build to code," he said. "We're trying to work the best we can to resolve it."

Guida's lawyer, real estate agent, architect and builder also spoke on his behalf. They conceded that plans for the merged lots could reach as high as 29 feet, although the existing homes are 8 feet in height.

After the hearing, Guida declined to comment. He has 10 days to appeal the Planning Commission decision.

Cliff Jones, who filed the appeal, said after the hearing that he knew the battle wasn't over, but that he was pleased with the commissioner's decision.

"It's nice to see right is right and it's upheld," he said. "He was trying to push something through, and the commissioners didn't buy it."

Commissioner Kory Kramer was the lone dissenting vote.

amy@coronadelmartoday.com

Twitter: @coronadelmartdy

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