Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Possible zoning changes could hurt Newport

NEWPORT BEACH — I attended the Harbor Commission meeting July 14, where commissioners spoke the words "Proposed Zoning Changes" and "Planning Commission."

Now for some reason my mind shuts down like a fourth-grader reading his first word problem when I hear the words zoning and planning at city meetings. Early that next morning at about 4:30, my eyes opened wide and I thought to myself: "There is a layer of doubt hovering over the zoning laws in Newport Beach."

So let me back up a little, because my father always told me, "you cannot fix the problem unless you know what's wrong."

From what I understand, the City Council will sometime soon allow a zoning change from the commercial waterfront zones to allow a mix of new residential and commercial development along Mariner's Mile and Lido Marina Village.

Please do not take me wrong. I have a very hard time with government telling property owners what they can and cannot build on their property. And today the highest and best use is residential development.

The strange thing is: Why am I starting to fell like a Savannah sparrow on the Bolsa Chica wetlands in Huntington Beach? If the City Council approves this zoning change, where am I going to go to maintain my boat because the shipyards will be gone?

How will the people of Newport Beach dredge out their slips if Mark Sites of Intracoastal Dredging Service is forced to leave the area?

Sites said it best at the meeting: "My business cannot leave the waterfront and move inland, and if I lose my space and cannot find anything else to rent, I am out of business."

Where will we go to eat on the water, watch the holiday boat parades, go to boat shows, attend museums or take sailing and boating lessons? The list goes on and on.

The other aspect to consider: Do we really want our harbor to look like Marina del Rey or Huntington Harbour?

Nay, I say! I like our harbor just the way it is. In my mind, the harbor is just like a boat — you have to use it and it requires lots of maintenance.

Please send me your thoughts on this subject by e-mail, and in an election year we just might start feeling larger than a Savannah sparrow.

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