Newport Beach violated its own general plan when it approved a 1,375-home residential and commercial development at the 400-acre Banning Ranch site, an Orange County Superior Court judge has ruled.
The city did not work closely enough with the Coastal Commission before council members voted 6 to 0 to approve the project in July 2012.
Banning Ranch Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit, sued the city two months after that vote, alleging Newport violated its own policies and that the environmental review of the development was flawed.
"In essence, we won the case," said Steve Ray, executive director of the conservancy. "And the city will have to make a decision to how they want to proceed further."
The conservancy has fought to keep the area natural, something voters indicated they wanted when they approved a 2006 amendment to the general plan prioritizing open space at Banning Ranch, Ray said.