Neighbors of the park on the Balboa Peninsula, and some members of the California Coastal Commission, have said that the lighthouse would set a bad precedent by exceeding the 35-foot height limit for waterside buildings.
"We feel a 73-foot tower is overkill," said Elliott Bonn, who lives across Balboa Boulevard from the proposed park.
The city narrowly tailored the change to allow the exception only at Marina Park. Officials also agreed to house some sort of communications or emergency equipment in the lighthouse, such as a tsunami warning siren.
Newport Center residences
The council voted unanimously to accept an Irvine Co. plan that would increase the number of residences allowed to be built in Newport Center, the area that includes and surrounds Fashion Island.
Newport's General Plan allows 430 residences in north Newport Center, and the Irvine Co. asked the city to permit an additional 94 units, for a total of 524 apartments or condominiums. Most of the additional development rights were transferred from the nearby Marriott Hotel's site, which had approval for more hotel rooms than were actually built.
All the residences would be built in the area surrounding the Orange County Museum of Art, land that is covered with parking lots and an office park.
In exchange for the added development rights, the Irvine Co. agreed to pay the city $5.9 million in general development fees, and $2.4 million specifically for parks.
Arts commissioner appointed
Also, the council voted to appoint a new member to the City Arts Commission. Caroline Logan has been a docent at both the Orange County Museum of Art and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She studied art in Paris and Los Angeles, and has lived in Newport Beach for more than 50 years.
Logan replaces Robyn Grant, who was appointed to the Library Board of Trustees in June. Grant is Councilman Steve Rosansky's sister.