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College district seeks solution to neighbors' complaints

Environmentally smart windows apparently cause significant glare into nearby homes.

October 04, 2012|By Britney Barnes

Coastline Community College celebrated the opening of its $48-million Newport Beach campus this week, but some of its neighbors aren't happy.

The Newport Beach Learning Center's windows, which give panoramic ocean views from many of the classrooms, are catching ire in addition to sunlight. Some neighbors say the two-stories' worth of glass set at an angle of 7 degrees reflects the light into their homes.

"These panels happen to face at precisely a point so as to collect the maximum effect of the rays of the sun and then are magnified about three times that and beamed directly into all the homes along Newport Crest's north perimeter, including mine," neighbor Lenard Davis wrote in a Sept. 21 letter to the Daily Pilot.

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But the Coast Community College District, which oversees Coastline, is trying to mitigate the problem, Coastline spokeswoman Michelle Ma said Wednesday.

"It is still a concern, and we want to do what we can to address this issue," she said.

The district has met with neighbors and is working with the architect to find solutions, which could include putting some type of sun blocking substance on the building's exterior or providing shade for impacted homes, district spokeswoman Martha Parham said Thursday.

"We are exploring options," Parham said.

The windows, though, are critical to the college's goal of applying for and receiving LEED gold certification, an environmentally friendly designation.

The angled panels always stay open, allowing the breeze in while keeping the weather out, Ma said, adding that this feature means the atrium doesn't need air conditioning.

"To change the design changes those dynamics," Parham said. "By the same token, we want to be good neighbors."

For Davis, though, those angles mean he can't enjoy dinner on his patio anymore without being blinded by the sun's reflection. The same goes for watching TV in his den, not to mention the increased temperatures inside.

"This building has created a huge and negative impact on my life already — I have lived here in peaceful serenity for 36 years — and classes have not even started yet," Davis wrote.

britney.barnes@latimes.com

Twitter: @britneyjbarnes

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