Thursday, June 19, 2014


The lease holders of the Dunes have proposed a project at PCH and the BackBay on a plot of land they own. They did an extensive PR outreach to the public. I saw it three times and originally supported the project, because it seemed like a moderate use of the space.

At a DS BOD meeting, a member asked how the project would appear when driving on PCH. We were told that such and image was not available. Before the City Council vote, I was able to get a copy of the EIR and was surprised.
1) “BAIT AND SWITCH” The images in the EIR appear massive. Not a small “landing” rather wall to wall and three stories high. The PCH images in the report are from the far side of the street and across the intersection. When you drive across the PCH bridge it will be more imposing. The upper bay and the green belt will be replaced with stucco.
2) “YOU HAVE TO PASS THE PROJECT TO FIND OUT WHAT IS IN THE PROJECT” We also had difficulties with the artist misconception drawings. They do not reflect the described project. It includes fork lift boat storage and a 65 ft tower. There are no assurances that the project will be as shown.
The STDH Pac filed suit seeking to have the environmental document accurately reflect the project. We also asked that they show the public the size of the project next to the PCH bridge with story poles. The city and developer did not agree. They used a process that would have increased our costs and would have eliminated our reserves. . Up against a unified front of Developer attorneys and City attorneys, we choose to preserve our funds.
Stop The Dunes Hotel (STDH) was founded in 2000 to ensure the lessee of the Dunes would abide to an agreed family inn. The leased Dunes property is on public tidelands designated for family use. They sought to expand the project into a large hotel and convention center. The structure would have 70’ high towers and would be funded with time shares they would build along the bay. Seems that they cannot sell public land but somehow sell timeshares.
STDH is concerned that the expanded Back Bay Landing project with and it’s 65’ tower and 49 new dwelling units with more to transfer is a stepping stone to an expanded project in our peaceful lagoon.
We have the Newport Center and the area around the airport for large structures. I hope that the people of Newport Beach recognize the beauty and value of the harbor before we turn into Huntington Beach and Marina Del Ray.