Newport council scraps RV parking idea

A fundraising memorial ride on Oct. 30 for two cyclists who were recently killed was also announced.

September 26, 2012|By Jill Cowan

While Newport Beach City Council members disagreed Tuesday night about various aspects of the Balboa Village Master Plan — including its name — there was one idea floated in it that they were all willing to let sink: recreational vehicle parking in the Balboa Pier parking lot.

The council voted 5 to 1 to accept the 289-page document with the caveats that the half-page item suggesting an off-season-only RV parking program be scrapped, and that it be called a "master plan," as opposed to an "implementation plan." With that vote, the council also approved the creation of the Balboa Village Advisory Committee.

The plan also includes recommendations for tenant attraction incentives, streetscape improvements and a residential permit parking program.

Councilman Mike Henn praised the report, which he said was about a year in the making.

"This has been one of my highest personal priorities: for there to be revitalization in Balboa Village," he said. "I'm especially thankful that this is a citizen-driven set of recommendations."


But Mayor Nancy Gardner, who voted against accepting the plan, expressed concern that the document's suggestions were vague and relied too much on city funding.

"I don't feel comfortable with this," she said. "I think of a blueprint as something that we'll move forward. There are too many elements that need further study."

Councilwoman Leslie Daigle originally voted against the plan with Gardner, but changed her mind in a second vote.

The council opted not to act on a controversial model lease template for commercial marinas. Another spate of speakers vehemently denounced the proposed changes, which would increase the rents that business owners and mooring holders pay the city to use public tidelands.

"We're wading further into morass with this lease," said Mayor Pro Tem Keith Curry.

Proponents have said the current leases are remnants of simpler times, while critics of the changes claimed implementing the new lease as is would be akin to exercising eminent domain.

The council asked that residents put their concerns in writing for further consideration at the next meeting.


New plans for City Hall site

A hotel and residential development are both still on the table for Newport's current City Hall site, which will be vacated in a couple of months once the Civic Center near Fashion Island is complete.

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