The developers of Banning Ranch won approval from the Newport Beach City Council on Monday night after hours of protests and a surprise announcement of an anonymous donation to the land conservancy.
In a 6-0 vote, the council approved 1,375 homes, a small hotel, commercial space, parks and open space on 400 acres. Councilman Rush Hill abstained because of a potential financial conflict of interest.
“We’re pleased with the decision,” said Mike Mohler, managing director for Newport Banning Ranch LLC, the developer. “It has been a long, long process.”
While the developers would still need approval from the California Coastal Commission and other regulators, adoption from the city is key. Not only is it the first major hurdle, but Newport's approval essentially ensures future homes would get valuable Newport Beach addresses.
The ranch land is mostly unincorporated and would need to be annexed.
"It's a home run for residents of Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and surrounding communities," Councilman Steve Rosansky, who represents the Banning Ranch area, said before the meeting.