by: Alex Chan
Daily Pilot Contact Reporter
The Newport Beach Planning Commission heard a presentation Thursday night calling for the entire stretch of West Coast Highway known as Mariners' Mile to be three lanes in each direction.
The commission did not vote on the matter.
Commissioner Kory Kramer abstained from discussing the presentation by Public Works Director Dave Webb because of a perceived conflict of interest involving the Balboa Bay Club, a property in the area acquired by Pacific Hospitality Group, where Kramer is the chief investment officer.
Portions of Mariners' Mile, a 1.3-mile segment of West Coast Highway between Newport Boulevard and Dover Drive, currently have two or three lanes, depending on the direction, with parts of the highway used for turn lanes and street parking on the side.
The Planning Commission held a study session on the Master Plan on April 20 at 6:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, with a minimum quorum of four Commissioners in attendance (PC Chair Kory Kramer appears to be permanently recused from this item due to his management interest in the Balboa Bay Club, Commissioners Zak and Hillgren had excused absences). The consultant made a presentations about the proposed Master Plan and City staff made one about the eventual widening of Coast Highway through Mariners Mile to six lanes. After extensive public input, the Commissioners seemed skeptical about the desirability of widening the highway and uncertain as to whether they would be able to make a positive recommendation on May 18. Staff persisted in asserting that the widening issue was separate from the Master Plan, and the latter needed to be pushed through to completion.
A 163 page draft of the “Mariners’ Mile Revitalization Master Plan” has been posted for public review on the City website, here.